The vast majority of the world's people recognize Jesus of Nazareth as a great moral teacher, perhaps even a prophet, but only a small percentage, as yet, accept Him as the Messiah, the "deliverer," Savior, and Lord. Those whom the Bible calls Christians acknowledge Jesus as "the Word," the revelation of God. Are you willing to put the Word to the test, to examine and consider the evidences that support the claims made about Him and those that He made for Himself?
Jesus does make fantastic claims for Himself, claims far surpassing those of any other man. In fact, these claims are so stupendous and the details of His life so open to scrutiny that Jesus must be either a megalomaniac or exactly what He said, the Son of God, God in the flesh. There is no other alternative! Those who were present to hear Jesus teach clearly recognized this fact (see John 10:19-21). Given these two possibilities, any life's greatest folly would be to fail to investigate this matter of Jesus’ identity. The following statements (taken from the Phillips translation of the New Testament) are some of the claims that Jesus makes for Himself:
Every man who publicly acknowledges Me I shall acknowledge in the presence of My Father in Heaven, but the man who disowns Me before men I shall disown before My Father in Heaven. (Matt. 10:32-33)
Never think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. No, I have not come to bring peace but a sword! For I have come to set a man against his own father a daughter against her own mother and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be those who live in his own house. Anyone who puts his love for father or mother above his love for Me does not deserve to be Mine, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, and neither is the man who refuses to take up his cross and follow My way. The man who has found his own life will lose it, but the man who has lost it for my sake will find it. Whoever welcomes you, welcomes Me, and whoever welcomes Me is welcoming Him who sent Me. Whoever welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet's reward. And whoever welcomes a good man because he is a good man will get a good man's reward. Believe Me, anyone who gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones, just because he is My disciple, will by no means lose his reward (Matt. 10:34-42).
Everything has been put into My hands by My Father and nobody knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son—and the man to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Matt. 11:27)
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on My yoke and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest of your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt. 11:28-29).
For the Son of Man is master even of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:8). You have more than the wisdom of Solomon with you now (Matt. 12:32).
Whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is brother and sister and mother to Me (Matt. 12:50).
Believe me, a great many prophets and good men have longed to see what you are seeing and they never saw it. Yes, and they longed to hear what you are hearing and they never heard it (Matt. 13:17).
The Son of Man will send out His angels and they will uproot from the kingdom everything that is spoiling it, and all those who live in defiance of its laws, and will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be tears and bitter regret (Matt. 13:41-42).
For the Son of Man will come into the glory of His Father and in the company of His angels and then He will repay every man for what he has done (Matt. 16:27).
The Son of Man is going to be handed over to the power of men, and they will kill Him. And on the third day He will be raised to life again (Matt. 1 7.~22-23).
Whenever two or three people have come together in My name, I am there, right among them! (Matt. 18:20).
In the new world, when the Son of Man shall take His seat on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also be seated on twelve thrones as judges of the twelve tribes of Israel. Every man who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or land for My sake will get them back many times over and will inherit eternal life (Matt. 19:28-29).
Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You murder the prophets and stone the messengers that are sent to you. How often have I longed to gather your children around me like a bird gathering her brood together under her wings—and you would never have it. Now all you have left is your house—desolate. I tell you that you will never see Me again till the day when you cry, "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Matt. 23:37-39).
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will wring their hands as they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky in power and great splendor. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet-call and they will gather together His chosen from the four winds—from one end of the heavens to the other (Matt. 24:30-31).
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away (Matt. 24:35).
Do you imagine that I could not appeal to my Father and He would at once send more than twelve legions of angels to defend Me? (Matt. 26:35).
Yes, and I tell you that in the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of Heaven (Matt 26:64).
All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me (Matt. 28:18).
I am with you always, even to the end of the world (Matt. 28:20).
The man who wants to save his life will lose it, but the man who loses his life for My sake will save it. For what is the use of a man gaining the whole world if he loses or forfeits his own soul? If anyone is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels (Luke 9:24-26).
Whoever listens to you is listening to Me, and the man who rejects you rejects Me too. And the man who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me! (Luke 10:16).
Everything that has been written by the prophets about the Son of Man will come true. For He will be handed over to the heathen, and He is going to be jeered at and insulted and spat upon, and then they will flog Him and kill Him. But He will rise again on the third day (Luke 18:31-33).
From now on the Son of Man will take His seat at the right hand of almighty God (Luke 22:69).
I tell you truly, this very day you will be with Me in paradise (Luke 23:43).
I tell you all that you will see Heaven wide open and God's angels ascending and descending upon the Son of Man! (John 1:51).
Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days! (John 2:19).
No one has ever been up to Heaven except the Son of Man who came down from Heaven. The Son of Man must be lifted above the heads of men—as Moses lifted up that serpent in the desert—so that any man who believes in Him may have eternal life (John 3:13-15).
If you knew who it is that said to you, "Give me a drink," you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water (John 4:10).
Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty again. For My gift will become a spring in the man himself welling up into eternal life (John 4:14).
I am Christ speaking to you now (John 4:26).
I solemnly assure you that the Son can do nothing of His own accord, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does the Son does the same. For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything that He does himself. Yes, and He will show Him even greater things than these to fill you with wonder. For just as the Father raises the dead and makes them live, so does the Son give lift to any man He chooses. The Father is no man's judge: He has put judgment entirely into the Son's hands so that all men may honor the Son equally with the Father. The man who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. I solemnly assure you that the man who hears what I have to say and believes in the One who has sent Me has eternal life. He does not have to face judgment: He has already passed from death into life. Yes, I assure you that a time is coming, in fact has already come, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who have heard it will live! For just as the Father has life in Himself so by the Father's gift, the Son also has life in himself. And He has given Him authority to judge because He is Son of Man. No, do not be surprised—the time is coming when all those who are dead and buried will hear His voice and out they will come—those who have done right will rise again to life, but those who have done wrong will rise to face judgment!
By myself I can do nothing. As I hear from God, I judge, and My judgment is true because I do not live to please Myself but to do the will of the Father who sent Me. You may say that I am bearing witness about Myself that therefore what I say about Myself has no value but I would remind you that there is one who witnesses about Me and I know that His witness about Me is absolutely true. You sent to John, and he testified to the truth. Not that it is a man’s testimony that I need—I only tell you this to help you to be saved. John certainly was a lamp that burned and shone, and for a time you were willing to enjoy the light that he gave. But I have a higher testimony than John's. The work that the Father gave Me to complete, yes, these very actions which I do, are My witness that the Father has sent Me. This is how the Father who has sent Me has given His own personal testimony to Me.
Now you have never at an time heard what He says or seen what He is like. Nor do you really allow His word to find a home in your hearts for you refuse to believe the man whom He has sent. You pour over the Scriptures for you imagine that you will find eternal life in them. All the time they give their testimony to Me, but you are not willing to come to Me to have real life. I do not need the praise of men, but I can tell that you have none of the love of God in your hearts. I have come in the name of My Father and you will not accept Me. Yet if another man comes simply in his own name, you will accept him. How on earth can you believe while you arc forever looking for each others' approval and not for the glory that comes from the one God? There is no need for you to think that I have come to accuse you before the Father. You already have an accuser—Moses; in whom you put all your confidence! For if you really believe Moses, you would be bound to believe me, for it was about me that he wrote (John 5:19-46).
I myself am the bread of life. The man who comes to Me will never be hungry and the man who believes in Me will never be thirsty. Yet I have told you that you have seen Me and do not believe. Everything that My Father gives Me will come to Me and I will never refuse anyone who comes to Me. For I have come down from Heaven, not to do what I want, but to do the will of Him who sent Me. The will of Him who sent Me is that I should not lose anything of what He has given Me but should raise it up when the last day comes. And this is the will of the One who sent Me that everyone who sees the Son and trusts Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up when the last day comes (John 6:35-40).
Everybody who has heard the Father’s voice and learned from Him will come to me. Not that anyone has ever seen the Father except the One who comes from God—He alone has seen the Father. I solemnly assure you that the man who trusts in Him has eternal life already. I Myself am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate manna in the desert, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from Heaven, so that a man may eat it and never die. I Myself am the living bread which came down from Heaven, and if anyone eats this bread he will life forever. The bread which I will give is My own body and I shall give it for the life of the world (John 6:45-51).
Unless you do eat the body of the Son of Man and drink His blood, I assure you that you are not really living at all. The man who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life and I will raise him up when the last day comes. For My body is real food and My blood is real drink. The man who eats My body and drinks My blood shares My life and I share his. Just as the living Father sent Me and I am alive because of the Father so the man who lives on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from Heaven. It is not like the manna which your forefathers used to eat, and died. The man who eats this bread will live forever (John 6:53-58).
I have not come of My own accord; I am sent by One who is true and you do not know Him! I do know Him, because I come from Him and He has sent Me here (John 7:28-29).
I shall be with you only a little while longer and then I am going to Him who sent Me. You will look for Me then but you will never find Me. You cannot come where I shall be (John 7:33-34)
If any man is thirsty, he may come to Me and drink! The man who believes in Me as the scripture said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his inmost heart (John 7:37-38)
I am the light of the world. The man who follows Me will never walk in the dark but will live his life in the light (John 8:12)
The difference between us is that you come from below and I am from above. You belong to this world but I do not. That is why I told you you will die in your sins. For unless you believe that I am who I am, you will die in your sins (John 8:23-24)
The one who sent Me is with Me now: the Father has never left me alone for I always do what pleases Him (John 8:29)
For I came from God and I am here. I did not come of My own accord—He sent Me, and I Am He (John 8:42)
Which of you can prove Me guilty of sin? (John 8:46)
I am not concerned with My own glory: there is One whose concern it is, and He is the true Judge. Believe Me when I assure you that if anybody accepts My words, he will never see death at all (John 8:50-51).
As for your father Abraham, his great joy was that he would see My coming. Now he has seen it and he is overjoyed (John 8:56).
I tell you in solemn truth before there was an Abraham, I AM! (John 8:58). I am the world's light as long as I am in it (John 9:5).
My coming into this world is itself a judgment—those who cannot see have their eyes opened and those who think they can see become blind (John 9:39).
I am the door. If a man goes in through Me, he will be safe and sound; he can come in and out and find his food. The thief comes only to steal, to kill and to destroy, but I have come to bring them life in its fullness. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sake of his sheep (John 10:9-11).
This is the reason why the Father loves me—that I lay down my life so that I may take it up again! No one is taking it from Me, but I lay it down of My own free will. I have the power to lay it down and I have the power to take it up again. This is the command that I have received from My Father (John 10:17-18).
I and the Father are One (John 10:30).
If I fail to do what My Father does, then do not believe Me. But if I do, even though you have no faith in Me personally, then believe in the things that I do. Then you may come to know and realize that the Father is in Me and I am in the Father (John 10:37-38).
I myself am the resurrection and the life. The man who believes in Me will live even though he dies, and anyone who is alive and believes in Me will never die at all (John 11:25-26).
My Father will honor every man who enters My service (John 12:26).
Every man who believes in Me, is believing in the One who sent Me rather than in Me, and every man who sees Me is seeing the One who sent Me. I have come into the world as light, so that no one who believes in Me need remain in the dark. Yet, if anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him—for I did not come to judge the world but to save it. Every man who rejects Me and will not accept My sayings has a judge on the last day, the very words that I have spoken will be his judge. For I have not spoken on My own authority: the Father who sent Me has commanded Me what to say and how to speak. And I know that what He commands means eternal life. All that I say I speak only in accordance with what the Father has told Me (John 12:44-50).
I shall tell you about things before they happen, so that when they do happen, you may believe that I am the one I claim to be. I tell you truly that anyone who accepts My messenger will be accepting Me, and anyone who accepts Me will be accepting the One who sent Me (John 13: 19-20).
I am going away to prepare a place for you, but it is just as true that I am coming again to welcome you into My own home (John 14:3).
I myself am the way, the truth and the life. No one approaches the Father except through Me (John l4:6).
I assure you that the man who believes in me will do the same things that I have done, yes, and he will do even greater things than these, for I am going away to the Father. Whatever you ask the Father in My name, I will do—that the Son may bring glory to the Father. And if you ask Me anything in My name. I will grant it (John 14:12-14).
In a very little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me, because I am really alive and you will be alive too (John 14:19).
Every man who really loves Me will himself be loved by My Father and I too will love him and make myself known to him (John 14:21).
When a man loves Me, he follows My teaching. Then My Father will love him, and We will come to that man and make Our home within him (John 14:23).
The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, will be your teacher and will bring to your minds all that I have said to you (John 14:26).
I am the real vine, my Father is the vine-dresser. He removes any of My branches which is not bearing fruit and He prunes every branch that does bear fruit to increase its yield. Now, you have already been pruned by My words. You must go on growing in Me and I will grow in you. For just as the branch cannot bear any fruit unless it shares the life of the vine, so you can produce nothing unless you go on growing in Me. I am the vine itself, you are the branches. It is the man who shares My life and whose life I share who proves fruitful. For apart from Me you can do nothing at all. The man who does not share My life is like a branch that is broken off and withers away. He becomes just like the dry sticks that men collect and use for firewood. But if you live your life in Me, and My words live in your hearts, you can ask for whatever you like and it will come true for you. This is how My Father will be glorified—in your becoming fruitful and being My disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me. You must go on living in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will live in His love. I have told you this so that you can share My joy, and that your joy may be complete. This is My commandment: that you love each other as I have loved you. There is no greater love than this—that a man should lay down his life for his friends (John 15:1-13).
If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. The man who hates Me; hates my Father as well. If I had not done among them things that no other man has done, they would not have been guilty of sin (John 14:22-24).
I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. Yet when that one I have spoken to you about comes—the Spirit of truth—He will guide you into everything that is true. For He will not be speaking of His own accord but exactly as He hears, and He will inform you about what is to come. He will bring glory to Me for He will draw on My truth and reveal it to you. Whatever the Father possesses is also Mine: that is why I tell you that He will draw on My truth and will show it to you. In a little while you will not see Me any longer and again, in a little while you will see me (John 16:12-16).
I assure you that whatever you ask the Father He will give you in My name. Up to now you have asked nothing in My name, ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be overflowing (John 16:23-24).
You will find trouble in the world—but, never lose heart, I have conquered the world! (John 16:33).
Father, honor Me in Your own presence with the glory that I knew with you before the world was made (John 17:5).
These are just some of the claims made by Jesus. Clearly, this was no mere "moral teacher" speaking. Jesus is either God or insane. Read through all the gospels. Study the character of Jesus, His works, His goals, and His ministry. List the qualities, words and actions that pertain to God, and the qualities, words and actions that pertain to insanity. Then turn to John 3:16-18.
Copyright 1975, Reasons To Believe
Edited 06-18-2003, Krista Bontrager