So, who did Jesus claim to be? Who does the Bible say He was? First, let’s look at Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “We are not stoning you for any of these, replied the Jews, but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement to be a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example. Jesus proclaimed, “I tell you the truth, Jesus answered, before Abraham was born, I am!” Again, in response, the Jews take up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Jesus announcing His identity as “I am” is a direct application of the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14). Why would the Jews again want to stone Jesus if He hadn’t said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?
John 1:1 says that “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says that “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Thomas the disciple declared to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. The Apostle Paul describes Him as, “…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The Apostle Peter says the same, “…our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). God the Father is witness of Jesus’ full identity as well, “But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.” Old Testament prophecies of Christ announce His deity, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important? Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Only God could pay such an infinite penalty (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ! Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed, “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).