Jesus is God in the Gospels Header

Some are challenged to find verses in the Old Testament that teach Jesus is God. They are there, though. It’s easier to find them in the New Testament. The question that keeps coming up is who is Jesus? This website has published a question and answer entitled “Who is Jesus?” People are wondering who He is and if He is really God. This question is not new. It was being asked even when Jesus first walked among us. You can read in John 7:25-41 that the people were asking, “Who is this man? Who is Jesus?!” It is obvious that they are trying to figure out who He is. The religious leaders heard and understood who Jesus was, but they didn’t like the answer. We will see in this study that they could not believe that He was God.

1st Proof Jesus Is God

The question as to who is Jesus has been asked for generations. It continues to be asked today. The cults want to tell us that Jesus was not God in the Old Testament. The cults do not believe that He is the God who created the universe. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is actually an angel. The Mormons believe that Jesus was a man who became a god, and that you can become a god too, if you just live the right kind of life. So they have a completely different perspective on who Jesus is. We have seen in our study that the Old Testament taught that Jesus was God from eternity past. Both the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who do not believe that Jesus was God in the Old Testament and eternity past, have a major problem if they rely on the Old Testament for their doctrine. The Old Testament teaches that Jesus has been God from eternity past. In fact, the Jehovah’s Witnesses apparently did not carefully read Hebrews 1, because the message there is that Jesus is not an angel. In fact, the chapter is devoted to that very truth and its purpose is to prove that Jesus is not an angel.

Some years ago, Larry King had a group of religious leaders on his program. He asked them, “Who is Christ? Who is Jesus?” Deepak Chopra made the statement that Jesus never said that he was God. That is absolutely not true and this study will demonstrate that. Our purpose is to show that the New Testament teaches that Jesus is God. Let us begin with John 1:1, a verse that the Jehovah’s Witnesses use often. Then we will look at John 1:14. We will tie these verses together. John 1:1 says,

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 (NASB)

This verse states that the Word was God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses want to say that the verse says the Word was a god. They take the letter “a” and they stick it right in between “was” and “God.” So they want us to believe that the Word was a god. But that is not accurate, and what I want to do is show you the right translation of this verse.

In the beginning was the Word . . .

The word “was” is in the imperfect tense. Every verb has a tense: present, past, future. The word “was” is in the imperfect tense. That means it is an ongoing effect in the past, so it is something that repeated and repeated in the past. The idea is that the Word was existing in the past and wherever and whenever the beginning was, the Word was there. He was existing in the past. In other words, He didn’t have a beginning. He was existing and was eternal in the past. However far back one could go, He was there. That means the Word is eternal. Now let’s look at the next part of this verse.

. . . and the Word was with God . . .

We are told that the Word was way back in eternity past. Now we are told that the Word was with God. All of a sudden it sounds like two Gods, does it not? We saw in Isaiah 43:10, in Isaiah 44:6, and then in chapter after chapter that God says in effect, “I am the only God, and there is no other.” He kept making the point again and again. He repeated it in chapter 45, in chapter 46, skipped chapter 47, went to 48 and made the point that He is God; there is no other. All of a sudden in chapter 48:16, He makes a comment. God or Jehovah has been speaking the whole time when suddenly He says,

. . . the Lord God has sent Me. Isaiah 48:16 (NASB)

Who was the “Me”? The “Me” was the one who was speaking the whole time! The “Me” was the one who kept saying, “I am it, there is no other God. I am God; there is no other,” All of a sudden He says, “And the Lord God sent Me.”

The only way you can make sense out of that is to recognize the existence of the Trinity as God. God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—three persons in the Godhead. We made the point that if you are going to have someone who is so incredible that He can create the universe, why do we think we can understand Him? All He is doing is telling us who He is. We can have only one conclusion: our one God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and we refer to Him as the Trinity. We can not explain it, we just understand that is what scripture teaches. What we have learned is that the Word was with God. That were and are together in the Trinity.

Let us move to the last phrase. This is what the Jehovah’s Witnesses use. Interestingly enough, they do not dispute the first part of this verse. What they focus on is the last part of the verse, “The Word was God.” Our English Bibles reorder the translation of the Greek words so that the verse makes sense to us in English. The Greek text places the Greek word “God” first, the Greek word for “was” is next, and then “The Word” is last. If you look at your Bible, it reads “the Word was God.” That is not the order of the Greek text. This is important because the Greek for God which is theos is actually a predicate nominative; it is an adjective. What this means is that theos describes logos. It is an adjective of logos. What is logos? “The Word!” We are being told that the Word is being described as God. The Word is God. This is a powerful statement. English readers miss this very important point.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses say there is no definite article; the is not the word “the.” They say there is no “the.” There is no definite article before theos. Therefore, they claim the verse is saying the Word is “a god.” The only problem is that there is no “a” or “an” in the Greek language. Theos describes logos. It is telling us that the logos or the Word is God. Verse 1 is a powerful statement. It says the Word was eternal and the Word was with God. Then we are told that the Word is God. There is absolutely no doubt about it.

Then John 1:14 says,

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory . . . John 1:14a (NASB)

So the Word is God. He became flesh, dwelt among us, and we saw His glory.

. . . glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14a (NASB)

Now verse 14 makes it clear that God become flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. John 1:1 combined with verse 14, makes the point that Jesus was both God and man. We say hundred percent God and hundred percent man. He was not some kind of sandwich where God was sandwiched along with man. He is fully God and fully man in every way, shape, and form.

2nd Proof Jesus Is God

Some will say, “Wait a minute, it sounds like God was born. Sounds like He was created. It says “the only begotten.” I do not know why our English Bibles do this. The ESV (English Standard Bible), a newer English translation, does not translate this as “only begotten.” The “only begotten” is a holdover from the old King James. The New American Standard continued the holdover, but the ESV and the Holman Christian Standard Bible have changed it. They actually have it as “unique one” or “one and only” or “the only one,” because the Greek word that was mistranslated as “only begotten,” actually means “only” or “only one” or “unique one.” So it should not read “only begotten.” If you can, cross out “only begotten” and write in “only” or “only one” or “unique one.” If you were to pick up a NIV and look at John 3:16, you will find that the NIV translates it correctly. They say “unique one.” Remember John 3:16,

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. . . John 3:16 (NASB)

That is the King James version. It actually should be “unique one.” The King James can lead us to believe that Jesus is created or is a child of God. That is not accurate. The right translation is not “only begotten,” but “unique one.” Hebrews 11:17 will help us unscramble the meaning of this word or phrase “only begotten.” When I say “word,” I mean it comes from a single Greek word. Notice what Hebrews 11:17 says,

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son . . . Hebrews 11:17 (NASB)

We know that Abraham received promises. Check out Genesis 12:1-3. We are told here that Abraham received promises and then offered up his only begotten son. Does that sound like Isaac was the only son that Abraham had? How many sons did Abraham have? Before he had Isaac, he had a son named Ishmael. So we know that Abraham had at least two sons. Then Abraham had six more sons for a total of eight (Genesis 25:2-11). We will read Hebrews 11:17 again. It says,

By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son . . . Hebrews 11:17 (NASB)

It cannot mean that he gave birth to or begot only one son since he had eight sons. So now what do we do? That gives us a clue that the Greek word monogenes should not be translated as “only begotten.” It should be “unique one.” Was Isaac unique? Yes! Why? He inherited the promises—the other sons did not. That is the message of the verse. Therefore, every time you see the phrase, “only begotten” in English Bibles, you should change it in your mind to “unique one,” or “only one,” or “only.” John 3:16 is not telling us that Jesus was somehow the offspring of God or that He was born in eternity past or was created. That would also be contrary to everything else the Bible teaches.

Let us look at another passage, John 1:29-30 says,

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’” John 1:29-30

In this passage we are told that Jesus existed before John. The Greek word for “before” is protos. It means “first in a series.” I have a question: Who was born first, according to Luke 1? Was John the Baptist born before Jesus, or was Jesus born before John the Baptist? Now if Jesus was born before John the Baptist, all that John is saying is that Jesus was born before he (John) was. But Luke 1 tells us John the Baptist was born first. John the Baptist knew that Jesus was God and that He lived in eternity past. Therefore, he said, “For He existed before me.” That is another proof Jesus was and is God.

3rd Proof Jesus Is God

We have now seen at this point two very important proofs that Jesus is God. Our next proof is in Matthew 1:23. This is about the birth of Jesus. Joseph, who many people assumed was Jesus’ father, was told by an angel that the child with which Mary was pregnant was not conceived as a result of Mary being promiscuous or committing adultery. Matthew 1:23 says,

BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” Matthew 1:23 (NASB)

The name Emmanuel translated means “God with us.” It is just a straightforward statement. Jesus is God. That is the message and that is the name given to Christ. This is great! Jesus is God.

4th Proof Jesus Is God

Our next passage is John 5:18. In this verse we find an incredible statement. It will be obvious when we read this verse that the religious leaders understood that Jesus was claiming to be God, because the verse says,

For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. John 5:18 (NASB)

The wanted to kill him because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but He was also saying God was His own Father. He made Himself equal with God. They understood Jesus was claiming to be God.

5th Proof Jesus Is God

Now look at John 5:26. This is a terrific verse. There is a term used in theology that refers to God self-existing. The idea is that something sustains itself. We cannot sustain ourselves. I would suspect that you eat something every day, maybe two or three times a day, some of you maybe less. You drink something. You have to consume something in order to continue to live. When we say that God is an aseity, that means God does not need anything to continue living. He self-sustains Himself. He is self-perpetuating. He continues Himself. In this verse Jesus reveals that God the Father is an aseity, but He does not use the word aseity. Here is what he says,

For just as the Father has life in Himself … John 5:26a (NASB)

That is, Christ is self-sustaining. He continues Himself.

… even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself. John 5:26b (NASB)

What did Jesus just say? He just said that He is also an aseity. He just said that He sustains Himself. He does not need anything to eat or drink. When He took on human flesh and walked among us, He ate and had to drink water; but as deity, He did not need anything to sustain himself. That is what Jesus is saying in verse 26. This is an incredible statement that Jesus is making – He is God. If you have been waiting for Jesus to claim that He is God, He just said it without using the word “God.”

6th Proof Jesus Is God

John 6:32 gives us an allusion that Jesus is God. We are going to read verses 32 through 41. I want you to notice every time that Jesus says He came down out of Heaven. I love this passage. We will begin with John 6:32,

Jesus then said to them . . . John 6:32a (NASB)

He is addressing a crowd of people including religious leaders.

Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. John 6:32b (NASB)

Who is the true bread? The answer is Jesus! Notice verse 33 says,

For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world. John 6:33 (NASB)

Who gives life to the world? Jesus! Verse 34:

Then they said to Him, Lord, give us this bread. John 6:34 (NASB)

They just did not understand. Then Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.” We could add, “that comes down out of Heaven.” Verse 35-39 add this,

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will 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. 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. John 6:35-39 (NASB)

Did you notice what Jesus said in verses 39-40? He will raise those who believe in Him on the last day! This means that Jesus has the power to resurrect believers. Now notice how the people responded. They also understood that He claimed to come down from heaven.

Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, “I am the bread that came down out of heaven.” John 6:41 (NASB)

Verse 42 reveals the people are trying to understand what Christ was claiming.

They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, ‘I have come down out of heaven’?” John 6:42a (NASB)

How does He say, I have come down out of Heaven?! They are struggling. He was born here on earth. How does He say He came down out of Heaven?! What Jesus is claiming is that He was in Heaven before He came here. He was and is God.

7th Proof Jesus Is God

Now look at John 8:24. The New American Standard does not translate this verse correctly as you are going to see. The verse says in the New American Standard Bible (NASB),

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” John 8:24 (NASB)

Did you notice in the NASB the word “He” is in italics? If it is not in italics in your Bible, it should be in italics, because it is not in the original Greek. The actual Greek text reads ego eimi. It is an emphatic “I” with the word for “I am.” What Jesus is saying is that He is the “I AM!” He makes an emphatic statement, “I AM!” There should not be a “he” in your Bible.

Where did God previously say “I am”? We will find it in Exodus 3. Moses found a burning bush and started walking towards it. He got close and God said, “This is holy ground, Moses.” Then God and Moses had a conversation. Now notice Exodus 3:14,

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14 (NASB)

What is God saying? He is “I AM.” It is the verb “to be.” What does that mean? He is existing. God is existing! God just keeps existing and existing.

In John 8:24 Jesus claimed to be God when He said, “You have to believe that I AM.” The Jews would have understood He was talking about Exodus 3:14. They would have understood He was claiming to be Jehovah, God of the Old Testament. It is an unbelievable statement!

8th Proof Jesus Is God

Our next verse is 58 and we will find Jesus talking to the religious leader.

Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 (NASB)

Jesus does it again. Only this time He adds the truth that He existed before Abraham. Jesus claims not only that He is the I AM, and if they did not understand before, He says that He existed before Abraham. Now look at the Jewish response in verse 59.

Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. John 8:59 (NASB)

Why did they do that? They did not believe Him. They thought He committed blasphemy. They understood Jesus was claiming to be God. These are just incredible statements about Jesus claiming to be God. When Deepak Chopra said that Jesus never, ever claimed to be God, he must not have read the New Testament. Or if he had read it, he is lying, or does not know what Jesus was saying.

9th Proof Jesus Is God

John 10:30-31 gives us the next proof that Jesus is God. Jesus is speaking,

“I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. John 10:30-31 (NASB)

In other words, the Jewish leaders were trying to kill Him again.

Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” John 10:32-33 (NASB)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons and other cults want us to believe that when Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” all He was saying is that “we are in agreement.” That is not true. When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” the word “one” is heis in the Greek. That refers to a cardinal number. What is a cardinal number? Numbers such as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. It is really simple. So when Jesus says “one,” he is referring to the cardinal number “1.” Jesus is saying that they are one — not 2, not 3, but 1. The Old Testament teaches God is one. The New Testament teaches God is one. Jesus says, “I and the Father are … one. We are one.” Again, it is a reference to the Trinity. He does not include the Holy Spirit in this example. We must to go to Acts 5 to discover that the Holy Spirit is also God. We will do that later.

Jesus is referring to the Trinity. The Jews understood what He was saying. The cults do not understand that. I do not know if they continue reading, but when we get to verse 33, it is very obvious that the Jews understood Jesus was not claiming that He and the Father were in agreement. Jesus was claiming that He is God because they were going to stone Him,

“You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

They understood what Jesus was claiming to be. I want you to notice verse 34 in this passage. It says,

Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law, ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’?” John 10:34 (NASB)

Deepak Chopra has written a book that uses this verse to claim that Jesus somehow transcended experientially and got in touch with God. The Mormons want us to believe that Jesus was teaching that we are gods also, just as Jesus is God. They are missing the point that this verse a quote from Psalms 82:6. In that passage the leaders of Israel were being rebuked because they were acting like gods. Jesus quoted Psalm 82:6 to the Pharisees because they were acting like they were ignoring Jesus, their God. He said,

If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? John 10:35-36 (NASB)

Now at this point it might not be obvious what He is doing, but keep reading. Verse 37,

If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works . . . John 10:37 (NASB)

At this point you are going to say, “What is Jesus doing?” In Psalm 82 the religious leaders were acting as though they were gods. It was as though Jesus was saying, “I am not acting like I am God. I am not just saying I am God; I am God.” He said, “Look at my works and believe. Look at what I have done.”

Verse 36 is a very important verse. Especially notice the last part of the verse. Jesus said,

I am the Son of God.

There are cults and some Christians who struggle with the phrase “Son of God.” What does it mean? It sounds as though Jesus is a child or that He was born. It sounds similar to the same problem we had with “only begotten.” Do you know what Jesus was doing with the phrase “Son of God”? He was telling us what it means. The Jews were saying that He was claiming to be God. Jesus reminded them that they are claiming that He is blaspheming. Go back to verse 33 and recall that they understood He claimed to be God.

The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” John 10:33 (NASB)

Jesus reminded them of their own statement accusing Him of blasphemy. In verse 36, Jesus said they were accusing Him of blasphemy because He said He was the Son of God.

What does that reveal about the meaning of the phrase “Son of God”? It means “God.” What Jesus just did is define the phrase “Son of God” for us. It was a phrase that meant “God.” Now 2000 years later, we may have had a hard time understanding the meaning of the phrase. We could look at other passages of scripture. For example, in Luke 1:35 when Jesus was born, the angel actually referred to Him as being the Son of God. It becomes obvious that the Holy Spirit will come upon Mary, and the holy offspring was called the Son of God. The connection is obvious. The message is, “Mary, you are going to have a child who is going to be God.”

In Matthew 26:63 we are at the trial of Jesus. He is going to be found guilty, then flogged and crucified. Notice the words of the high priest.

But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Matthew 26:63 (NASB)

How clear is that?! We have already seen the phrase means that He is God. They were saying, “Are you saying that is what you are?” Jesus said, “You said it. That is true.” Jesus did not flinch one bit.

10th Proof Jesus Is God

Next read Mark 15:39. Here we are told that Jesus had died on the cross.

When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39 (NASB)

That is an accurate quote of what the man said. Only his statement is not accurate. He should have said, “Truly this is the Son of God,” because Jesus is still existing. The body died, but Jesus did not die — just His body.

Conclusion

All the gospels point to the fact that Jesus is God. Let us look at one more verse, that is, John 20:26.

After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” John 20:26 (NASB)

Now imagine, the doors are closed. People were inside and Jesus appeared. Then He said to Thomas in verse 27,

Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” John 20:27-28 (NASB)

We pray that this study is encouraging. We have seen statements in all the gospels about Jesus from witnesses who recognized He was God. Jesus Himself claimed He is God not once but repeatedly. Can you say with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”

Suggested Links:

Bible Teaches Jesus Is God – Old Testament
Bible Teaches Jesus Is God - Outside of The Gospels
Did Jesus ever claim to be God?
Does the Old Testament present Jesus as God?
Was Jesus God in the Old Testament? – The Trinity
What is the meaning of the eternal sonship of Jesus?
Did Jesus ever say that He was the Son of God?
Is Jesus the first born of creation?