The question of whether Jesus is God is one of the most fundamental and important questions in Christianity. Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, one with God the Father and yet distinct in personhood. The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is divine, but it also portrays Jesus as subordinate to and sent by the Father. Resolving this tension has been a major topic of discussion and debate throughout church history.
In exploring whether Jesus is God, we will look at a variety of biblical evidence. We will examine key titles used for Jesus, specific claims Jesus made about himself, affirmations by others that Jesus is God, divine attributes and actions ascribed to Jesus, worship given to Jesus, and biblical teaching about the relationship between Jesus and God the Father. Looking at these categories provides a thorough biblical perspective on the deity of Christ.
Jesus Is Called God
The New Testament authors explicitly refer to Jesus as “God” several times. John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The verse clearly affirms the full deity of Jesus by stating that the Word (Jesus) is God. John 1:18 further reiterates this in referring to Jesus as “the only God.” In John 20:28, Thomas calls the resurrected Jesus “My Lord and my God!” Romans 9:5 refers to Christ as “God over all.” Titus 2:13 states we are “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 1:8 quotes the Father declaring of the Son, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.” These passages unambiguously and directly call Jesus “God” or “Lord and God.”
Jesus is also given other titles equating Him with God. He is called “Immanuel” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). He is called “the true God” (1 John 5:20). He is referred to as “our great God and Savior” in Titus 2:13. He is called “Lord” and declared to be the Lord of Creation in passages like John 1 and Colossians 1:15-20. The title “Lord” indicates Jesus is Yahweh, the name of God. Jesus shares titles with God the Father like “Alpha and Omega” and “the First and the Last” in Revelation 22:13. The accumulation of titles for Jesus that equate Him with God provides strong evidence that He is fully divine.
Jesus Claimed to Be God
In addition to being called God, Jesus claimed divinity for Himself in a variety of ways. Most notably, Jesus explicitly took for Himself the divine name “I AM” from Exodus 3:14. In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews then took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy, recognizing He was claiming the divine name as His own. Jesus claimed He had glory with the Father before the world began (John 17:5) and to share the Father’s throne in heaven (Revelation 3:21). He also claimed authority to forgive sins, a uniquely divine prerogative (Mark 2:5-10). Additionally, Jesus accepted worship on numerous occasions (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38) even though Scripture commands worship to be for God alone (Matthew 4:10). Through His divine claims, Jesus made clear He believed He was God.
During His trial before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish high council directly asked Jesus if He was the Son of God, a loaded question implying divinity. Jesus responded affirmatively, saying, “You have said so” (Matthew 26:64). When asked if He was the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus said, “I am” (Mark 14:62), again affirming His divinity, especially through the divine name. Jesus was then condemned to death for blasphemy. There was no doubt from the Sanhedrin’s perspective that Jesus had made divine claims about Himself.
Some claim Jesus never explicitly said, “I am God.” But the above statements clearly communicate His divine identity, even if He did not utter those exact words. Through His divine titles, divine attributes, divine authority over all creation, and direct divine claims, Jesus claimed He was God.
Others in Scripture Affirm Jesus as God
In addition to Jesus’ own words, various people in Scripture affirm that Jesus is God. As noted above, John calls Jesus “God” in John 1:1. Thomas calls Jesus “my God” in John 20:28. The author of Hebrews says the Son is called “God” by the Father in Hebrews 1:8. Paul states that “in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” in Colossians 2:9, indicating Jesus is fully God. Paul says Jesus existed in the “form of God” prior to His incarnation in Philippians 2:5-8. The cumulative testimony confirms the deity of Christ.
During Jesus’ ministry, His disciples and followers realized He was God. After Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples said, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33). When Jesus asked “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:15-16). Peter’s confession affirms Jesus as the divine Messiah. The disciples recognized the deity of Jesus.
Even Jesus’ enemies understood His claim to be God. In John 10:33, a group of Jews said to Jesus, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” The Jews clearly understood Jesus was making Himself out to be God. This is further seen at Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin. The high priest demanded of Jesus, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mark 14:61). They condemned Him to death for claiming equality with God. Both friends and enemies in Scripture affirm the divine identity of Jesus.
Jesus Possesses Divine Attributes
Scripture also establishes the deity of Jesus Christ by attributing divine attributes to Him. For example, Jesus is given the title “Word” in John 1, and it is said all things were created through Him. Genesis 1 says God created all things by His word, indicating Jesus shares in the divine work of creation. Colossians 1:16-17 further elaborates that all things were created by, through, and for Jesus. As the agent of creation, Jesus must be God.
Jesus also prays that He would be glorified in God’s presence with the glory He had before the world existed (John 17:5). He claims to have preexisted eternally with the Father. As the divine Son, Jesus shared glory with the Father before the incarnation. His existence from eternity past is reinforced in places like Micah 5:2 which prophecies the Messiah would be from eternity.
Jesus also displays the attribute of omniscience, having all knowledge. In John 2, Jesus knew the thoughts and hearts of all people. In John 4, He knew the entire history of the Samaritan woman without being told. He predicts future events like Peter’s denial and Judas’ betrayal, demonstrating supernatural knowledge of the future. Jesus also knows “all things” according to John 21:17. His omniscience indicates His divine nature.
Similarly, Jesus exhibits authority over nature, raising the dead, walking on water, and quieting storms, displaying power only God can wield over creation. He healed incurable diseases like leprosy with only a word or touch. He miraculously fed thousands of people from a few loaves and fish. Each miracle provides further evidence that Jesus is God in human flesh.
Most profoundly, Jesus demonstrated omnipotence in power over death through His own resurrection. He conquered death and rose again to eternal life. The resurrection definitively proved Jesus’ claims to divinity – He is the Son of God and giver of life. His divine attributes affirm His true identity.
Jesus Receives Worship
Worship is appropriate only for God, and Jesus repeatedly accepted worship while prohibiting its misdirection. When the resurrected Jesus appeared to the disciples, “they worshiped Him” (Matthew 28:17). When Thomas saw the risen Christ, he exclaimed “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Jesus received their worship, affirming His deity.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, many who were healed by Jesus or witnessed His authority and power worshipped Him. A leper worshipped Jesus after being healed in Matthew 8:2. A synagogue leader worshipped Jesus when He healed His daughter in Matthew 9:18. The mother of James and John worshipped Jesus in Matthew 20:20. Though Jesus directed worship to God alone, He made exceptions for Himself because He was God in flesh.
In contrast to accepting worship Himself, Jesus prohibited worship of anyone else. When Satan offered Jesus the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him, Jesus replied, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve'” (Matthew 4:9-10). When Cornelius fell at Peter’s feet in worship, Peter immediately said to stand up, explaining he also was just a man (Acts 10:25-26). Yet Jesus accepted worship freely, indicating He was more than just a man – He was God.
One of the greatest revelations of who Jesus is came from Thomas who, when encountering the risen Lord Jesus, proclaimed “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28). This disciple realized that no one less than Almighty God Himself stood before Him at that moment. The example of Thomas and the other disciples shows that Jesus accepted worship because He was truly God in human flesh.
Jesus Is Distinct from the Father
While Scripture clearly establishes the full divinity of Jesus Christ, it also affirms a distinction between Jesus and God the Father. Jesus refers to the Father as “the only true God” (John 17:3). Jesus says the Father is “greater than I” (John 14:28). In Mark 13:32, Jesus says no one knows the day or hour of His return, “not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” During His incarnation, Jesus had limited knowledge while the Father had unlimited knowledge, indicating a distinction between Father and Son.
Jesus is sent by the Father and seeks to do the Father’s will (John 5:19). Jesus prays to the Father (Matthew 26:39). The Father anointed and appointed Jesus (Isaiah 61:1; Acts 10:38). These differences do not deny the deity of Christ but simply reflect a differentiation of roles between the Father and Son. God exists in Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The distinction allows for personal interaction between the persons of the Trinity.
Importantly, at no point does Jesus deny He is God or teach creaturely worship of Himself. He accepts titles, attributes, and worship belonging to God alone. The biblical portrait shows Jesus as God but with a particular role relating to the Father. There is both shared essence between Father and Son and personal differentiation.
In Colossians 2:9, the apostle Paul states, “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.” Everything that is true of God – His divinity, eternity, power, etc. – dwells bodily in Jesus. Jesus fully shares the divine being or essence with the Father. Yet as the Son, He relates in a particular way to the Father that distinguishes them in role and function, not essence. The deity of Christ and the distinction between the Father and Son are both abundantly clear in Scripture.
Jesus Is One with the Father
Not only does Scripture teach Jesus is God and distinct from the Father, it also holds that Jesus is one with the Father. In describing His unity with the Father, Jesus used the metaphor of the vineyard. He states, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) and “I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:10). They share an inseparable connection and intimacy.
Jesus’ use of the title “Son of God” implies a oneness of being and nature with the Father. A son shares the same nature as his father – they are equally human. So Jesus as the “only begotten Son” (John 3:16) shares divinity and deity with God the Father.
Jesus regularly speaks of the concept of mutual abiding between the Father and Son. In John 14:11, Jesus says, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” He states in John 17:21, “[May] they also may be in us.” An intimacy of relationship exists between the Father and Son that brings them into the closest connection of oneness.
This profound unity between Father and Son finds its ultimate demonstration in the cross. Jesus went to the cross in obedience to and in unity with the Father’s will (Luke 22:42). As Jesus died, the Father poured out His judgment on the Son, forsaking Him as Jesus bore our sins (Matthew 27:46). Yet this forsaking was temporary as the Father gloriously raised Jesus from the dead. Through the cross, we see the inseparable bond of love and self-giving that exists in the triune God.
So Scripture presents Jesus Christ as fully God, personally distinct from the Father, and yet perfectly one with the Father in being, purpose, and act. While aspects of this triune relationship remain mysterious, the testimony about Jesus’ divine identity is clear. As Charles Wesley’s hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” declares, “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see / Hail the incarnate Deity / Pleased as man with men to dwell / Jesus, our Emmanuel!”
In exploring the biblical evidence, we have seen powerful testimony that Jesus is fully God. He is called God and shares titles with God. He claimed divinity for Himself and His claims were understood. The apostles and early disciples affirmed Jesus as God. Jesus possesses divine attributes like omniscience, omnipotence, and eternality. He exercises divine prerogatives in doing miracles, forgiving sins, and raising the dead. Jesus accepted worship due to God alone. He is one with and sent by the Father, relating to Him distinctly as the Son. Scripture overwhelmingly confirms the divine identity of Jesus Christ, the unique God-man.
The deity of Christ is a foundational doctrine for Christianity. If Jesus is not God, then we have no hope of salvation. Only God in human flesh could take our sins upon Himself on the cross to save us. Just a human could not bear the infinite penalty of all humanity’s sins. But Jesus as God-man substitutes Himself in our place, providing atonement and redemption. Our eternal destiny hinges on who Jesus is. The Bible repeatedly and clearly teaches that Jesus is fully God, worthy of our worship and saving faith.