Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?”. . . Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:53, 58 ESV)
After Jesus made this statement the religious leaders of his day took up stones to kill him. Why did this claim of Jesus make them so indignant? Who did Jesus claim to be?
The bush burned but was not consumed, so Moses went in for a closer look. God called to Moses from the bush and commanded him to go into Egypt and lead Israel out of bondage. Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” (Exodus 3:13-14 ESV)
It appears that Jesus claimed to be the I AM who spoke with Moses from the burning bush. The religious leaders must have thought so. In another confrontation, Jesus declared that he and the Father were one. The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus asked them for what work were they going to stone him. The Jews answered him, “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.” (John 10:33 ESV)
In answering an inquiry from Thomas: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:6-9 ESV)
I do not believe that Jesus left any doubt as to who he was. It is true that he called God his Father and he claimed to be the only begotten son of God. Yet, he also claimed to be God. He was 100% man and 100% God. Not possible? All things are possible with God (Matthew 19:26).
The Apostle John gives us convincing revelation of the identity of Jesus. He wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-2; 14 ESV)
Had God come to earth in his heavenly state man would not have survived the brightness of his glory. So, God clothed his glory in the form of a man. Paul wrote that the glory of God was seen in Jesus. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV)
Paul also wrote of Jesus, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 ESV) Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Paul seemed to understand that Jesus was the same God who created all things.
The writer of Hebrews concurred with Paul,. He wrote, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
Throughout Jesus’ ministry people worshiped him. To have worshiped anyone but God would have been idolatry. Jesus knew the greatest commandment, yet not once did Jesus rebuke those who worshiped him. He knew that to worship him was to worship the Father.
That’s why we praise him!