Have you ever had a Muslim friend ask you that question? “Where did Jesus actually say ‘I am God, worship me’?” It’s a common challenge from Muslim apologists. They claim that without Jesus stating plainly, “I am God, worship me,” we can’t say he claimed to be divine.
At first, it seems like they might have a point. Search through the Gospels as you might, you won’t find a statement from Jesus with those precise words. But does the lack of that exact statement mean Jesus didn’t claim divinity? Absolutely not! The evidence clearly shows Jesus made such a claim, just not using that verbatim wording.
Explicit Claims to Be God
While Jesus doesn’t point blank tell people, “I am God,” he does make several direct statements equating himself with God:
“I and the Father are one.” That’s from John 10:30. How much clearer can you get that he’s claiming equality with God? The religious leaders thought it was obvious too – they tried to stone him right after he said it!
Another unambiguous statement came when Jesus took on God’s actual name. Remember how God said to Moses “I AM WHO I AM” back in Exodus?Jesus calls himself the same name in John 8:58 – “Before Abraham was born, I am!” No prophet would ever use God’s personal name for himself.
Beyond direct statements, Jesus also performs actions demonstrating his claim to divinity. Like forgiving people’s sins – something only God can do! When Jesus tells a paralyzed man “Your sins are forgiven” in Mark 2, the religious leaders grumble, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Excellent question! By forgiving sins, Jesus acts as if he is God.
In a similar fashion, Jesus puts himself forth as the exclusive route to God. He says in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Again, making salvation dependent on himself sure sounds like something only God has the authority to do!
Implicit Claims to Divinity
Now those unambiguous statements clearly show Jesus claiming divinity. But he also makes implicit claims throughout his ministry that require a little more discernment to pick up on.
For example, Jesus frequently accepts worship. Remember that commandment about not worshipping any god but Yahweh? Worship is reserved for God alone. So when people worship Jesus like the wise men in Matthew 2, or the blind man in John 9, or Thomas who calls him “My Lord and my God!” in John 20, Jesus accepts it without correction. These displays of worship demonstrate Christ’s divine status.
Jesus also takes divine titles for himself, like calling himself “the First and the Last” in Revelation 1:17. Sound familiar? That title comes straight from the Old Testament where God calls himself “the First and the Last” in Isaiah 44:6. Jesus is subtly showing his equality with God by sharing this divine title.
As God come in the flesh, Jesus continues this pattern by displaying attributes that only belong to deity:
- Omnipresence – Jesus claims the supernatural power to be present wherever believers gather in his name (Matthew 18:20).
- Eternal nature – Jesus says “Before Abraham was born, I am!” showing he existed before time itself (John 8:58).
- Authority over all – Jesus claims power over everything with his declaration, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18).
Amazing stuff, right? As if that wasn’t convincing enough, Jesus also performs supernatural miracles that only God could do:
- Healing every disease and illness (Matthew 4:23, Acts 10:38)
- Controlling nature by rebuking the wind and waves (Luke 8:22-25)
- Commanding demons and they obey him (Mark 1:27, Luke 4:36)
- Raising the dead on three separate recorded occasions! (Mark 5:41-42, Luke 7:14-15, John 11:43-44)
When you combine Jesus’ words, titles, attributes, and actions together – it becomes pretty clear he was making an audacious claim to be far more than a mortal prophet. Just maybe not with the precise four word phrase: “I am God, worship me!”
Does Eastern philosophy address the concept of worship and deity as it relates to Jesus?
Reactions Confirm It
If there were any doubts left in peoples’ minds about Jesus’ claims, we can put those to rest by examining how his listeners responded. In multiple instances, Jesus’ original Jewish audience directly accuses him of claiming equality with God:
“‘Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’” (Mark 2:7)
“The Jews answered him, saying, ‘For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.’” (John 10:33)
Few people pick up stones to execute or condemn a mere prophet. Clearly, from their reactions, Jesus’ words struck them as crossing a line into claiming divinity itself.
The most dramatic response comes at Jesus’ trial, when he tells the high priest:
“‘I am,’ said Jesus. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’The high priest tore his clothes. ‘Why do we need any more witnesses?’ he asked. ‘You have heard the blasphemy.’” (Mark 14:62-64)
Tearing your robes was a loud exclamation of grief and outrage for Jews of that day. By saying he would sit “at the right hand” of God and “coming on clouds” of heaven, Jesus takes two powerful texts about God himself and claims them for himself (Psalm 110:1, Daniel 7:13-14). No wonder the high priest accused him of blasphemy!
From peoples’ stunned reactions to his words and deeds, it’s apparent Jesus’ first century audience picked up on his claims to share God’s divine nature and status.
Applying Consistent Standards
Now if you’re willing to be reasonable, one question remains – why should we demand Jesus state plainly “I am God, worship me” to prove his claim? Do we require such precise wording when God tells us how to become Muslims or join any other religion? Certainly not! Requiring some sort of secret passcode statement would be an absurd double standard.
When you sincerely study Jesus’ words and actions in the Gospels, his indirect claim to divinity still comes through quite clearly. He talks like God. He acts like God. He accepts worship as God. He performs the supernatural works of God. Just like his original Jewish hearers understood, Jesus left zero doubt about his claim to share equality with God. The evidence is abundantly clear with or without the verbatim phrase: “I am God, worship me!”
While Jesus never directly states “I am God, worship me,” the Gospel evidence firmly demonstrates he intended to claim divinity. From his forthright declarations, to his implicit actions, to peoples’ shocked reactions – all of it signals Jesus asserted equality with God the Father during his time on earth.
I hope looking carefully at this evidence convinces you too that Jesus wasn’t merely another prophet or religious leader. No, the historical Jesus clearly intended to present himself as God coming down to save humanity by dying on our behalf. This claim to be divine is what sets Jesus radically apart. And it’s a claim that demands everyone wrestles with and determines whether to accept or reject for ourselves. What do you believe about Jesus’ bold assertion? I’m happy to explore more evidence with you if helpful as you process this life influencing question!