The Claims of Jesus
Who was Jesus. No one has made claims for himself like Jesus, and no one has
had others to make claims in his behalf like those made about Jesus by those who
Some have tried to say Jesus was a good moral teacher or maybe even a prophet from God on the same level as Moses, Mohammed and others. Others say He was a "new age" guru of some sort. If we seriously consider the claims Jesus made for himself, we can see that these options are not possible. Either Jesus is God in the flesh, the Creator, Savior and Judge of all mankind for all times or he is the greatest deceiver that ever lived. There is no middle ground.
My Father and I
"But He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' 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 5:17,18). Jesus said "My Father", not "Our Father". For speakers of English in the 21st century, this does not sound unusual, but Jesus was speaking to Jews in the first century so they would understand a deeply significant claim Jesus was making. By saying "My Father", He claimed to have a special relationship with God unique to Him alone. Jesus is the "only begotten from the Father" (John 1:14).
Those who heard Jesus knew exactly what He was saying, and did not like it at all! They understood that Jesus was claiming equality with Go and Jesus does not seek to correct them. Unfortunately, they do not accept His claim to do was work like no other person has ever claimed. (John 5:21).
To Honor Jesus as We Honor God
"...so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life." (John 5:23-24). The Jews were wanting to kill Jesus because He was claiming to be equal to God. They thought Him guilty of blasphemy. Never once did He suggest that they had misunderstood His words. Instead, He claimed that He was to be honored exactly as the Father is honored. This would have outraged those who were already very angry. But note: it is right to give the same honor to Jesus as we give to the Father
The Judge of All
"For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son." (John 5:22). What a claim! To be the judge of all humanity! Is this claim true or not? But wait, there is more! Jesus said, "For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." (John 5:26-29).
If these claims are false, Jesus was the greatest liar or completely crazy. If these claims are true, we must follow every word He said!
The Scriptures Spoke of Him
"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me..." (John 5:39). Jesus claimed that He was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah. What was prophesied of concerning the Messiah? He was (and is) the everlasting and light of the world; the Redeemer and the Servant. What sane man in all of history has ever made claims like this?
To Know Jesus is to Know God
"So they were saying to Him, 'Where is Your Father?' Jesus answered, 'You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.'" (John 8:19; see also John 14:8,9). The ramifications of this statement are similar to the other claims which Jesus made. To know God, we must focus on Jesus. Otherwise, we cannot know God.
"Jesus said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.' Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple." (John 8:58-59)
This was a clear reference to the time when Jehovah appeared to Moses at the burning bush. The Jews would not misunderstand the significance of these words and sought to kill Him for blasphemy in taking Jehovah's self-designation upon Himself. (Exodus 3:13,14)
"And he said, 'Lord, I believe.' And he worshiped Him." (John 9:38). Jesus accepted worship of Himself. He also pointed out such would be wrong if He were not God, and yet He often accepted worship from others and never forbade such. By accepting that which He taught belonged only unto God, He was making yet another claim at equality with God (Matthew 4:10; cf. Matthew 14:33; 28:9). If He were not God, then the righteous thing to do would be to reject worship of Himself and rebuke those who offered it to Him, the way others did (Acts 10:25,26; 14:12-18; Revelation 19:10).
Jesus is Equal With God
"I and the Father are one." The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 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 10:30-33).
The word translated "one" (Greek = hen) means to be of one essence or nature. The Pharisees understood what He meant but they refused to consider if His claims were true. They were going to stone Him to death according to the penalty for blasphemy in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 24:16).
Do you believe Jesus, or not? An honest person would not make the claims He made if they were not true. A liar would not come up with the moral teachings of Jesus, and why would a fraud go to Jerusalem, knowing he would be killed? A crazy person would not be in complete control of Himself in every situation as Jesus was. The Sermon on the Mount is not the words of a crazy man.
Jesus made great claims. We believe that His claims must be true. His empty tomb suggests likewise. "...who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord..." (Romans 1:4).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 10.12 , December 2003