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Did Jesus Claim to be the Son of God?

By Michael Lane, Executive Director, Delve Christian Ministries

Article Summary
There is a great deal of secondary evidence that Jesus was the Son of God, such as his teaching, his miracles and the resurrection. Jesus did claim to have a very special relationship with God and claimed to have been alive before Abraham. Most importantly, on several occasions people asked if He was the Son of God or said that He was and Jesus either affirmed it or did not deny it.
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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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I have always wondered whether Jesus believed that he was the Son of God in any sense other than we are all the sons and daughters of God. In the few passages that I had previously heard from the Bible regarding this issue, Jesus seemed to dance around answering the question by referring to what other people believed about him. While your boss may have never said that he was the boss, he also has probably never asked you if you believed that he was the boss (unless you did something really stupid). When asked if he was or believed he was the Son of God, Jesus did respond by asking if the questioner believed that he, Jesus, was the Son of God. That, along with many examples where Jesus showed his believe in the power of faith, is why many question whether Jesus said or believed he was the Son of God.

After reading the passages that you listed above, I have to agree that Jesus either believed that he was the Son of God or he was lying. Thank you for setting those of us who thought there was another possibility straight. Unfortunately, this leads me to wonder whether Jesus would lie about being the Son of God if he felt it was in the person's best interest. Lying to someone when one believes it was in that person's best interest is something that some of my religious acquaintances not only believe is okay but believe is good practice. What does the Bible have to say about lying to someone if you believe it is in that person's best interest?





6/20/2009 7:56:33 PM - anonymous


I have a question.

When Jesus calls God, "Father", does it literally means father like father and son with blood relations?or "Father" means that someone that loves u dearly?what does the Son of God means?does it really literally means "Son of God"?but the bible even stated that we are all God's children(sorry,i could not remember which verse) even when Christians pray..God is called as "Father"..means(if we take it literally) we are all God's sons and daughters..why when it comes to Jesus, we take it literally but when it comes to us..our understanding of "God's children" are different and have a deeper meaning?
What if when Jesus say "Father" it has a deeper meaning than father and son relationship?

One more thing, the president of your company did say and claims that he is the president of the company when he took the job the first time..there is no need for him to repeat himself from time to time..but if i ask him who he is in the company, i am certain he would answer "i am the president of this company"..therefore,when the Jews asked Jesus who he was..did he claims that he was the Son of God, or even God?No he did not.Am I right?

One more thing, did Jesus himself taught about the concept of Holy Trinity?Where in the bible Jesus clearly taught us about the Holy Trinity? There are a few verses that maybe shows about the Holy Trinity but if it was analyzed from a different perspective, there is a deeper meaning to it.
For example, I and the Father are one." (John 10:24-30). What if "one" means that Jesus word and every action is the word and action of the Father?Jesus never said that one means one in person.What if Jesus is a prophet of God?it fits Jesus perfectly.

I am sorry if these questions hurts your feeling. I am asking merely to clear any doubts i have. Thank you.
5/18/2011 1:23:46 AM - mr_wwn, Member of Delve into Jesus since 5/18/2011


I found this very useful, thank you for taking the time to write this.

I had never thought of this question until today when a friend who is a Christian, wondered if perhaps Jesus was a prophet and not the Son of God. He asked me and I said, 'of course he is the Son of God, let me show you'. But the bible verses I found where not clear in Jesus saying explicitly "I am the Son of God", and I became quite worried and began to search for answers, which your article has largely provided. Thank-you again!
7/16/2012 12:24:25 PM - jmjm20, Member of Delve into Jesus since 7/16/2012


I have made an attempt to explain where the Bible is trying to teach us that a trinity is revealed in the KJV scripture. I will post the link below.

I have also recently being speaking to brothers in America, who have explained to me that a "claim" is a means to demand something due to injury, as in a court claim. One important thing I have learnt is Jesus did not make such a claim (there was no Inury or demand), rather He "For-gave" the truth.

I would also like to point at a mistake in the above article relating to this idea. It was said above:

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," (Matthew 26:63-64)

I believe this is a mistake. The scripture does not say that Jesus said "Yes". The KJV writes "Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said". In other words, "You say that I am". I believe Jesus wanted to express the very same idea, He never claimed by saying YES. Rather He simply responded in honour without self incrimination of a claim or a debt.
9/12/2012 12:56:09 AM - GeorgeP, Member of Delve into Jesus since 9/12/2012


John 10:36-37 "36why do you call it blasphemy when I say, ‘I am the Son of God’? After all, the Father set me apart and sent me into the world. 37Don’t believe me unless I carry out my Father’s work."
10/25/2012 4:22:11 AM - Anella50, Member of Delve into Jesus since 10/25/2012


Thank you, Anella50. That's the final verse listed in the article above, and I think it's certainly the most clear and obvious example we can find in the Bible that Jesus absolutely beleived and proclaimed that He is the Son of God. Thanks for posting it here.
10/25/2012 12:44:23 PM - Michael Lane


God the Father testifies to God the Son,Jesus's Baptism and Transfiguration.The Archangel Gabriel informs the Virgin Mary that he will be called the Son of the Most High.Demons and Evil Spirits claimed that he was the Son of God but Jesus rebuked them and would not allow them to speak.Although Jesus never said ' I am the Son of God ' He proved that he was through his Ministry,Crucifixion,Resurrection and Ascension,talk is cheap, the evidence can prove only one thing, He is the Son of God.The question is how is it possible for Jesus to be the 'Son of God',you would have to be God to answer the question.Only God could explain who God is!!!
1/22/2013 9:21:30 PM - theo888, Member of Delve into Jesus since 1/22/2013


I think it is important to remember that Jesus was both God and man. Therefore, you must consider who is speaking at that moment. I think everyone thinks of Jesus the man when He speaks even though they think of Him as God, but I think that it could be God speaking through Jesus when 3rd person is used. Just something interesting to consider.
3/20/2013 11:57:11 PM - jeffh, Member of Delve into Jesus since 3/20/2013


We do not change the word of God do we? not possible, but we can correct human error. there is a simple solution to the problem, simply ask Jesus who is the true God.
there is one scripture that explains Jesus answer @ God Almighty. It says the same thing in all the bibles I've read. so read it at John :17:3. And I quote Life eternal(everlasting life) means taking in knowledge of you -THE ONLY TRUE GOD- and of the one you sent Jesus Christ.
If a person cannot get this scripture as the truth, there is no hope of trying to explain any further a subject about who God is. You see the bible is not about who man says is God, but rather who God and Jesus says who God is. Isaiah 43:10- 13. In the book of 1st Corinthians the apostle warns "do not go beyond the things written: if in doubt go further till verse 15.
8/15/2013 5:19:44 PM - mshea7781@yahoo, Member of Delve into Jesus since 8/15/2013


He is the son of YAHWEH,the living God,creator of all
9/8/2013 9:26:15 PM - Kelvin, Member of Delve into Jesus since 9/8/2013




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