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Where did Jesus say “I am God”? by Fr. Anthony Mourad

October 23, 2019

In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; One God, Amen.

Some opponents of the Christian faith will challenge us with an important question, one that is worth investigating. They will say “If you believe that Jesus is God, show us where He himself makes that declaration.” And the truth of the matter is, if we search out scripture for words spoken by Jesus saying “I am God”, you simply won’t find them in the Bible! And yet, Christians have believed that He is God for as long as Christians have existed! And so, we begin by making a bold declaration – we do not need that statement to be spoken by Christ and recorded in Scripture for us to know and believe that He is indeed the Son of the Living God – who is of one Essence with God the Father and the Holy Spirit!

 

Now some may here this and think this is a copout – but it isn’t. You see, Holy Scripture provides so much evidence for the fact that the Lord Christ was indeed Divine. There is also historical evidence that the early Church who was established by the apostles themselves also received the teaching that Jesus Christ is God. And so if we examine these things, we will see that our faith does not hang on to a single sentence for us to know that He is indeed the God who became man. To begin, lets take a look at what Scripture has to say.  

 

 

So what does Holy Scripture reveal to us about the person of Jesus of Nazareth. Let’s begin with what the Lord Jesus Christ says himself. Here are but a few of the many statements that the Lord declares that speak to His Divinity as God:  

 

The Lord Christ declares that God is His Father. Now some may hear this and wonder why this is important. Well you see, it is of great importance because we must consider what this meant at the time of Jesus. Today, many of us, and surely all Christians, do not shy away from calling God our Father. We all call ourselves Children of God. But you see, at the time of Jesus, to even speak God’s name was inexcusable. The proof of this is the reaction that Jews Had when the Lord declared that He was the Son of Godand professed that God was His Father. Let’s read together from John chapter 5. This text is taken up immediately after the Lord heals the man who had an ailment for 38 years. The Lord heals him on the sabbath, and here is what happens next:   

 

For this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.” 

 

18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:16-18) 

 

You see, in this very text, Scripture declares that even the people of that time understood that His claim to being the Son of God was a declaration of His divinity. As St John the evangelist clearly mentions, the jews believed that he was making himself “equal with God”. And so, whoever is equal with God, was declaring himself to be divine!  

Let’s look at another example of what Jesus Says. In John chapter 10 verse 30, the Lord makes an extremely bold statement, He says: “I and my Father are One.” Again, we can understand how powerful this statement is unless we look at the reaction of the crowd around Jesus after He said it. Lets see what scripture tells us happens next:  

 

31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” 

 

33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” (John 10: 31-33) 

 

Yet again my beloved, it is obvious from this text that even the Jesus who heard Him speak did not need him to say the words “I am God”, because clearly they themselves understand that all that he was sating and doing was openly declaring that He is God. 

 

Furthermore, its is clear in the life of Christ, that not only his words, but His actions manifest that He is God. This is seen very clearly in the fact that Jesus demonstrates that He has the attributes that belong to God alone! 

 

Jesus Forgives sin: Matt 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; Luke 7:48, etc.  

Jesus Healed the sick: Matt 4:24; Matt 9:27; Matt 21:14; Mark 3:10; Mark 5:29; Luke 5:15; Luke 22:51; John 5:1; John 9:6 

Jesus has Power of natureMatt 8:26; Mark 6:49-50; Matt 17:27 

He has authority over demons: Matt 8:16; Luke 7:21; Mark 5:13;  

He is Worshiped by men and angelsMatt 2:11; Mark 5:6; Matt 4:11 

Jesus gives life to the deadMatt 9:35; John 11:43 

Jesus Conquers death: Matt 28:6; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:6  

Jesus has the Testimony of the FatherMatt 3:17; Matt 17:5 

 

And so we can clearly see, that both the words and the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ, clearly testify to the fact that he is indeed divine – HE is God.  

  

 

Now while scripture is of great importance in identifying what we believe as Christians, so also we ought to turn to what the Church has been teaching in both oral and written tradition since the birth of the Church in the very first century. And so, lets take a look at what the early Church taught about the divinity of Jesus Christ.  

 

One of the earliest Church Fathers, St Ignatius of Antioch, served as a bishop in the first century. St Ignatius wrote many epistles of which we still have access to today. In his writings, he refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as God. For instance, let us examine how he himself opens with a greeting in a letter to the Ephesians: 

 

Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church which is at Ephesus, in Asia, deservedly most happy, being blessed in the greatness and fullness of God the Father, and predestinated before the ages of time, that it should be always for an enduring and unchangeable glory, being united and elected through the true passion by the will of the Father, and Jesus Christ, our God: Abundant happiness through Jesus Christ, and His undefiled grace.” [The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians] 

 

Notice how he does not shy away from saying that Jesus Christ is “Our God”! And again, this is from an early church Father who lived in the very first century and received his faith from the apostles.  

 

Another Early Church Father and considered to be a Theologian, is St Gregory of Nazianzus. The Coptic Orthodox Church will often celebrate the Divine Liturgy by using the Anaphora that he wrote. Listen to the following excerpt that is taken from the Liturgy of St Gregory:  

 

 “You, the Infinite, being God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Yourself and took the form of a servant, and blessed my nature in Yourself, and fulfilled Your Law on my behalf.” [Liturgy of St Gregory the Theologian]  

 

Again, St Gregory like St Ignatius before him, boldly proclaims that Jesus, who condescended and became man, was indeed God! 

 

I suppose the earliest and greatest witness of what Christians believed after the life of Christ comes from the great apostle Paul. After his conversion, he preached the gospel to many nations, and I believe that one of the most explicit and clearest statements of the divinity of Christ was spoken by him. Let us read together from Paul’s epistle to the Colossians:  

 

6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. 

 

8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” (Colossians 2:6-10)  

 

And there we have it, “In him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”!  

 

My beloved, this is the faith of the Christian – that Jesus Christ, the Word and Son of God incarnate, is indeed Emmanuel – God with us! He proved it through His words, through His actions, and the Church has taught nothing less since the beginning her ministry. Jesus Christ is our Lord, our God, and our Savior; To Him be all Glory, Forever and Ever.  

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