Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

While I understand there are many potential passages in the Bible of Jesus claiming to be a messiah (which I understand to mean "anointed"), a king, or one through whom it is necessary to know God, I'm interested to know if there are any places where He literally claims to be God, God-like, or related to God (i.e. the son of God).

Taking the Bible to be a reliable record of what He said (for the sake of this question), what Biblical passages illustrate Jesus literally saying He was God?

OP Edit: I see that my question has been edited to say "literally" which has caused a bit of turmoil, so I'll just say that for me "literally" is read to mean "literally stated, or inferred without interpretation". So "I intend to put on foot coverings" does not literally mean shoes, as it could mean socks, but "I intend to drive to the capital city of the country England" means you'll end up in London no matter which way you swing it. Interestingly I did try to ask the Biblical Hermenutics group this question and it was suggested I ask here.

share|improve this question
2  
Related: How do we know Jesus was God incarnate? –  Richard Nov 4 '11 at 19:13
1  
John 14:6 New King James Version (NKJV) 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. –  r3s3arch3r777 Nov 4 '11 at 22:59
1  
Does body language count for anything? –  Peter Turner Nov 8 '11 at 20:19
    
One thing to keep in mind is that during the time of Jesus, there were many false messiahs. Part of the reason for the skepticism of the Pharisees and the Sadducees was that they'd seen messiahs before. –  Gilbert Le Blanc Nov 8 '11 at 20:43
2  
Just for the sake of historical record I'd like it to be known that this question has been edited to say "literally", and not by me. This edit, however, is probably an improvement and I'll actually take answers for this (better) question rather than my original one, and re-accept the top voted answer. Thanks to all for your input on this! –  kinofrost Nov 11 '11 at 16:45

6 Answers 6

up vote 29 down vote accepted

There are many occasions on which Jesus states his identity with God.

  1. John 8:51-59 Jesus says

    John 8:58 (NIV) "Before Abraham was, I am"

    This is a clear reference to the name of God. Even if there were any doubt that this is the reference the reaction of the Pharisees clearly indicates that (in their eyes) this is a blasphemous claim.

  2. Matthew 9:1-7 Jesus claims to forgive sins, which the local officials (correctly) believed to be the perogative of God only.
  3. Thomas the apostle calls Jesus "My Lord and My God", which Jesus does not correct or deny.
  4. Also, we see this in John

    John 14:9b, 10a (NIV)
    ... Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father... Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?

  5. Matthew 26:63-64

    The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

(There is a certain amount of dispute over the last item. Many interpreters take Jesus statement as a colloquial affirmative, though some take it as meaning "so you say").

Insisting that statements by Jesus be 'literal' is missing the point. If Jesus made a statement that equated himself with God in a way that was clearly understood as such by his hearers, then that is what he did. The fact that it requires a little interpretation to our twenty-first century minds doesn't make it any less a claim.

share|improve this answer
    
(Since you expressed belief that your answer is still valid, I've undeleted it, although your methodology is quite unconventional.) –  Richard Nov 8 '11 at 20:20
    
I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't use that translation, but I must warn you that it seems to be highly contentious. –  Richard Nov 8 '11 at 20:32
    
Is the quoted text in #5 from a specific version? If so, which? Could you link to it? –  JustinY Nov 8 '11 at 21:08
    
Took it from Richard's link. I'll replace with a more standard version. –  DJClayworth Nov 8 '11 at 21:25
2  
The link was put in by someone else. But there isn't any significant difference between the two wordings - the key is in "I am". –  DJClayworth Dec 8 '12 at 19:17

In Matthew 16:13-17, Jesus says my father, meaning that He is the Son of God:

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

Also, a high priest asks Jesus if He is indeed the "Son of the Blessed", in which He replies "I am" in Mark 14:61-62:

But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

I think a big reason of why Jesus never directly said that He was the Son of God (unless He was asked to say it) was because He wanted the people to exercise faith in Him, rather than seeing miracles and the like to prove to them that He was.

share|improve this answer
    
Jesus certainly said he was the Son of God sent into the world. But he never said he was God Himself. –  Gregory Magarshak May 13 at 15:16

At the onset, I guess it is essential to state that Son of God is same as God nothing more or less. Son of God is “of God.” The claim to be of the same nature as God—to in fact be God. God took a human birth and that’s how the title “Son” came to him though He was Himself is God. God though divine is revealed in human nature to man. Jesus Christ is the image of God to mankind. God - omnipotent, revealed Himself to mankind, in Jesus Christ.

Here is what Bible says on this:

Jesus gets an answer from His disciples that He is Son of God and acknowledges it affirmatively.

Matt. 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16:16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 16:17 And Jesus answered him, “You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in heaven!

John 1:49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel!” 1:50 Jesus said to him, “Because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”

Jesus is worshiped by people in His lifetime

In Revelation, an angel instructed the apostle John to only worship God (Revelation 19:10). Several times in Scripture Jesus receives worship (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38). He never rebukes people for worshiping Him. If Jesus were not God, He would have told people to not worship Him, just as the angel in Revelation did.

In these verses Jesus Himself declares it:

John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, before Abraham came into existence, I am!”

Jews who heard this statement responded by taking up stones to kill Him for blasphemy, as the Mosaic Law commanded (Leviticus 24:16).

John 10:35 If those people to whom the word of God came were called ‘gods’ (and the scripture cannot be broken), 10:36 do you say about the one whom the Father set apart and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?

Then take for example Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” We need only to look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement to know He was claiming to be God. They tried to stone Him for this very reason: “You, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood exactly what Jesus was claiming—deity. When Jesus declared, “I and the Father are one,” He was saying that He and the Father are of one nature and essence.

Here Jesus accept this salutation from Thomas for otherwise He would have rebuked Thomas.

John 20:28 Thomas replied to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus affirm that He is Son of God:

Matt. 8:29 They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?”

Mark 3:11 And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” 3:12 But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.

And in this verse, John clearly states that Jesus is true God.

1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us insight to know him who is true, and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This one is the true God and eternal life.

share|improve this answer

This varies from gospel to gospel. As has been said, the fourth gospel has Jesus state 'I am", which in Greek meant that he was God. The first gospel to be written was Mark, which takes a different approach more applicable to an earlier period in Christianity.

Jesus takes pains not to refer to himself as the Son of God. Instead, he uses terms such as "Son of man." Even the disciples are never allowed to call Jesus the Son of God, as if a direct statement of this claim would have been dangerous around 70 CE, when this gospel was written. However, outsiders such as demons and the high priest could be used to make this claim. On two occasions, God himself announces that Jesus is his beloved son, in whom he is well pleased. In this gospel, Peter says that Jesus is the Messiah, but later, in Matthew's Gospel, he can say that Jesus is the Messiah, son of the living God.

share|improve this answer

John chapter 5 has some of the strongest statements of Jesus' deity recorded in the Gospels. It's a very good chapter to open to when talking with cultists.

5:22 - "For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son" Jesus is saying that He will be our judge in God's place. 5:27 repeats this.

5:23 - "that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him." If we make Jesus less than God, then we dishonor God the Father.

5:25 - Those who hear the voice of the Son will rise again from the dead. If He is not calling Himself God, He is certainly attributing the traits of God to Himself. 5:28 repeats this.

5:28-30 At Jesus' voice people will be raised from the dead, some to life, others to condemnation. So our eternal fates are in the hands of Jesus.

share|improve this answer

Jesus explicitly calls himself the Son of God here in Matthew 26:

Matthew 26:63a-64b

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God."

Jesus replied “What you have said is true.”

I don't think it gets much more clear than that.


I have to note that this is a paraphrase version, so the actual wording may be somewhat contentious.

share|improve this answer
    
-1 because this answer plays on the OP's weak definition of literal vs interpreted. I think it's actually impossible for an English translation of whatever it was Jesus said in this passage not to be an interpretation on some level -- I think your rendition of the passage is a valid paraphrase and proper interpretation but somebody should be objecting to the very idea that "literal" makes any sense at all in the context of us discussing this in a different language rather than throwing out an answer that plays off the problematic question. –  Caleb Nov 12 '11 at 11:48
    
@Caleb Let me see if I understand what you're saying... "Literal" has multiple meanings (although all related, obviously). The question does not define "literal". Since this answer applies the primary definition of that word (adhering to the fact/primary custom/ordinary meaning), this answer is not valid? Also, instead of answering, based on one understanding of the word "literal", I should be challenging the OP's definition of the word "literal"? Wouldn't it be better to close the question than vote this answer down? –  Richard Nov 12 '11 at 15:07
    
I commented here in the first place to discuss whether this was even a valid question. I suspect not as proved by this answer. Your answer isn't valid because it hasn't answered the "real" question, only played hot potato and passed off the responsibility. Rather than noting that asking for "literal" doesn't many any sense in a cross-language situation, you do the subjective work of translating/interpreting the passage, then make a case for your completed text being a "literal" statement, by which point there isn't much meaning left to that label. Or am I just crazy? –  Caleb Nov 12 '11 at 16:15
    
@Caleb Regarding the question, I don't think it's constructive, although I do think it's a valid question. It should be asked, but within a doctrinal framework. Regarding the "literal" issue, it seems to follow the idea of biblical literalism (ie interpretation of the explicit, primary sense of the words) and also the definition of the word "literal" (adhearing to the fact/primary custom/ordinary meaning). I'm starting to think I'm confused on the point you're making, though. –  Richard Nov 14 '11 at 18:54

protected by Affable Geek Mar 6 '13 at 20:36

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.