In the article, "Just a Good Human Teacher And Nothing More?" we advanced the idea that it was not possible for Jesus to be just a good, human teacher. When someone claims to be the Son of God, we really only have three options - he thought he was but wasn't (he is a lunatic), he knew he wasn't but said it anyway (he is a liar) or he was telling the truth (he is not just a man). If he is liar or a lunatic, then he is not "good" in the sense that we should follow any his teachings.
C.S. Lewis presented this idea in his book Mere Christianity (though the idea is almost certainly much older) and after his book was published, some people wrote to him and objected that there were more than three possiblities. One of the options people suggested was that Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God but rather it was attributed to Him after His death by His disciples. So, did He ever say it?
Did Jesus Ever Say "I Am the Son Of God"
If you're looking for the passage where Jesus says "I am the son of God", you're going to be dissapointed. He never said those exact words (or at least, they are not recorded for us.) I don't find this very surprising. At the company where I work, I have never heard the president of the company say, "I am the president of this company." Yet, everyone knows it. We know it because he acts and behaves as though he is. This morning we all got an email from him explaining our first quarter results and describing his vision for the rest of the year. Everyone talks about him being the president. I have heard him talk about how he started this company 20 years ago. Yet, never once have I heard him say, "I am the president of this company."
It's the same with Jesus. He taught with such wisdom and authority that people were amazed. He performed many miracles, healed the sick and even raised the dead. Jesus forgave sins, which is something only God has the authority to do. God the Father raised Jesus from the dead three days after His crucifixion. His disciples heard the voice of God exclaim from Heaven, "This is My Son with whom I am well pleased." All of this secondary evidence is more than enough to prove who He was, whether He said it or not.
Yes, But Did He Say It?
Jesus gave ample evidence that He had a very special relationship with the Father. It is clear from the context that when Jesus calls God "Father", he's referring to a relationship which is very different from that which we have with God. Jesus claims to know the Father personally and intimately so that when he calls God "Father", we can understand that in that same way, Jesus is His Son in a special way.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father'?" (John 14:6-9)
"All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:37-40)
The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:24-30)
In this passage, Jesus makes it clear that he is not merely a mortal man:
"Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:56-58)
Finally, though we do not have a record of Jesus saying, "I Am The Son of God", in those exact words, he did say plainly that He was the Messiah. On several occasions when asked if He was the Son of God, he either affirmed that He was, or did not deny it. Here are the most revealing passages:
The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." (John 4:25-26)
"But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven." (Matthew 16:15-17)
The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26:63-64)
They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am." (Luke 22:70)
Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, 'I am God's Son'? Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does. But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. (John 10:36-38)
Once we take in the full force of all these passages, there can be no doubting that Jesus was clear. He was the Messiah, the Christ and the Son Of God. Though we may not like Lewis' three choices, it seems we cannot escape their reality. Jesus really did make these claims, and so we owe it Jesus to either worship Him as God or dismiss Him completely. We hope the other articles on this site will help you make that choice for Christ.
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