While in conversation with Jesus, the Jews asked Him, “Who are You?” (John 8:25), and again, “Whom do You make Yourself out to be?” (John 8:53). In the context, He identified Himself as “the Son of Man” (John 8:28; cf. Daniel 7:13), the “Son” of God (John 8:36, 54) and the “I AM” (John 8:24, 28, 58). He was as clear as could be about His identity; He claimed to be deity—God. And, His questioners understood Him, for “…they took up stones to throw at Him…” (John 8:59). On a subsequent occasion, He asked them why they sought to stone Him (John 10:31-32). Their response, “…because You, being a Man, make Yourself God” (John 10:33).
The rejection of the deity of Christ is not exclusive to the Jews in the first century. Jews and Muslims today also reject the notion that Jesus is God. But, it may surprise some, there are religious groups who claim to believe the New Testament but reject what Jesus said and the Bible writers wrote about His identity. The best known are the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but they are not alone. Christadelphians, along with adherents of Christian Science and traditional Armstrongism, and perhaps other lesser known groups reject the deity of Christ.
Before we look at a selection of verses about the deity of Christ, notice the importance Jesus placed on us believing that He is God:
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)
Believing in Jesus is essential for salvation. What must we believe about Him? To grasp His claim in John 8:24, we must ignore the word He. You read that right—I am telling you to ignore a word. Why?
When you see a word in italics in your Bible, that means it’s added by translators. In most cases, these additions help to clarify the text, but not in John 8:24. Jesus identified Himself as I AM. He is not a lesser god, an angel or a mere man; He is Jehovah, the One who appeared to Moses in the burning bush! If we do not believe that He is Jehovah, we remain dead in our sins.
There are many texts in the Bible that speak to the deity of Christ. Consider:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
The Word is identified as a person involved in the creation (John 1:2-4). He became flesh and dwelt among us, and received witness from John the baptist (John 1:14-15). Jesus is the Word who became flesh, identified in John 1:1 as God.
And Thomas answered and said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God.’ (John 20:28)
Thomas declared the Lord to be God. If He was mistaken, surely Jesus would have corrected him. He did not. He commended his faith, and more so, the faith of those who have not seen, and yet believe (John 20:29).
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
Let’s dissect the text, noting what each part of it means:
In Him [in Jesus]
dwells [is present]
all the fullness [the whole completeness]
of the Godhead [of the state of being God]
bodily [in fleshly form].
It could not be more plainly stated—Jesus is God.
But to the Son He says, ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever… (Hebrews 1:8)
This is from Psalm 45, a messianic psalm. The speaker, God the Father, identifies His Son (Jesus) as God.
…without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
As we’ve noted in a few texts already, the Lord Jesus came in the flesh. It is not that God revealed something through the person of Jesus Christ, but Paul plainly states “God was manifested in the flesh.” That is, He who was divine in His nature took on the form of humanity (see Philippians 2:6-7).
There are other texts that speak about the deity of Christ, but for the honest seeker of God’s word, these will suffice.