Post Author: Bill Pratt
There are at least six ways that Jesus claimed to be God. The fifth way is that Jesus Claimed to Have Equal Authority with God. Again, I will draw heavily from Norman Geisler’s Volume 2 of his Systematic Theology series.
In the New Testament, Jesus places his words on an equal footing with God’s. Following are several examples:
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago … But I tell you” (Matt. 5:21–22) is repeated over and over again. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:18–19). God had given the Ten Commandments to Moses, but Jesus said, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another” (John 13:34). Jesus promised, “Until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law” (Matt. 5:18), while later Jesus said of His words, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Matt. 24:35). Speaking of those who reject Him, Jesus confirmed, “That very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day” (John 12:48).
Taken as a whole, there is no question that Jesus understood his own words to have authority equal to the words spoken by God in the Old Testament.
Put yourselves in the place of the people who heard Jesus speak these words in first century Palestine. It was shocking and inconceivable for a Jew to say these things. Think of all the times that Jesus’ opponents tried to kill him before they finally succeeded. This mere man, in their mind, continuously equated himself with God, in a way that had no precedent.
You may not believe Jesus is God, but you should be able to understand why his followers and his opponents thought that he was claiming to be.
There is one more line of evidence in this series to consider. Stay tuned…