By Billy Graham
Some say Jesus Christ was just a man, or maybe a great teacher. But He was and is much more than that. The Bible says Jesus is unique in both His person and His purpose. He wasn’t just some spiritual individual during His time on earth; He was both God’s Son (John 3:16) and God Himself—God in human flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). Yes, He was fully man, but He was also fully God (Colossians 2:9).
Jesus claimed to be God. It might be hard to understand how this could be true, but it’s important to remember that God is much bigger and more powerful than we can comprehend. We do know that Jesus said He existed before Abraham (John 8:58). He claimed that He and His Father are one (John 10:30), and that He is equal with the Father (John 5:17-18).
Not only did He claim to be God, but He also claimed to have the power of God. He said He has the authority to judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46). He claims the authority to raise people from the dead (John 5:25-29) and to forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7)—things only God can do (1 Samuel 2:6; Isaiah 43:25).
Further, Jesus says He has the power to answer prayers (John 14:13-14), and that He will be with His followers always (Matthew 28:20). The New Testament equates Jesus to the creator of the universe (John 1:3), and in John 16:15, He says, “All that belongs to the Father is mine.”
But where’s the proof?
Claiming to be something, as Jesus claimed to be God, doesn’t make it true. Where’s the evidence that He is God?
Jesus’ identity isn’t based solely on what He says, but on what He does. And He has left a lot of evidence that He is God. That evidence includes fulfilled prophecy and recorded miracles in which Jesus reversed the laws of nature. He also lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), something no one else has done.
The ultimate proof of His divinity, however, was His resurrection from the dead after His death on the cross. No one else has ever risen from the dead on his own.
Did Jesus ever say, ‘I am God’?
If someone said to you, “I am God,” would you believe him? Many people who believe in one God would think the person is blaspheming. Even if Jesus said the exact words, “I am God,” many people would not have believed Him or even heard what He had to say. Yet, He did give us reasons to believe such a claim without using these words.
In Luke 4:8, Jesus says, “It is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.’” He said and showed many times that He is the Lord. Jesus says, for example, that He is “the first and the last” (Revelation 1:17, 22:13), which God the Father says in Isaiah 44:6.
But maybe you’re looking for a place in the Bible where Jesus says, “I am God; worship me” in those exact words. If we suggest that Jesus could only claim to be God by saying that one sentence, we might also ask where He says, “I am a great teacher, but not God,” or, “I am just a prophet; don’t worship me.” The Bible doesn’t say that, either.
The good news is that Jesus told us He is God in many different ways! He has made it clear that He and God the Father are one (John 10:30), and says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” Who else could claim these things except God?
Does that mean there are multiple gods?
Believing Jesus is God doesn’t mean there are multiple gods. Followers of Jesus believe in one God in three persons.
As Billy Graham once explained, “God has shown Himself to us in three ways—as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each has a separate function—and yet they are all united as one God.
“Let me illustrate it this way. Have you ever thought of some of the things we see around us that are both three—and yet also one? Centuries ago, St. Patrick used a clover leaf to teach the Irish about this—it has three leaves, and yet is still only one leaf. Or think of water. A quart of water can be ice, water, or steam—but it’s still the same quart of water.”
How can Jesus be God if He is God’s Son?
If Jesus is God’s Son, does that mean God had a wife?
God has never had a wife. Calling Jesus God’s Son is an expression of His role in relation to God the Father. Unlike us, Jesus was not conceived by two earthly parents; He was born of a virgin through a miraculous work of God. He was born holy, without sin.
Being born of a virgin might seem impossible—even Jesus’ mother, Mary, asked, “How will this be? (Luke 1:34)—yet God is all-powerful and made a way for the holy Jesus to be born a human. In Matthew 1:20, an angel tells Mary’s fiancé, Joseph, that what is conceived in Mary “is from the Holy Spirit.” Jesus was not born out of a sexual relationship between God and Mary, but instead out of a miracle by God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus was both fully God and fully human.
It is also significant that the most thorough Gospel account of the virgin birth was written by Luke, a medical doctor. If anyone knew the impossibility of a virgin birth, it was Luke—yet, after careful research, he concluded that it was a fact. The God who was powerful enough to create the universe was also powerful enough to bring Jesus into the world without a human father. His miraculous birth is just one more testament to His deity.
Why should we care who Jesus is?
There is one way to heaven, one way to be free from your sin and to have a relationship with God. That’s through Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” To have eternal life in heaven, you must put your trust in Jesus. Here’s why:
We all sin, meaning we all fall short of God’s perfect standard. The consequence of sin is death (Romans 6:23). That means eternal separation from God. But because Jesus lived a sinless life, His death on the cross provided the perfect sacrifice for our sins. Because He defeated death by rising again, we can have eternal life in the presence of God when we put our trust in Him.