Did He Ever Say, “I am God. Worship Me”?
“Is there any unequivocal statement in the Bible were Jesus says, 'I am God' or 'Worship me'?” This is a good question, a question many Muslims commonly ask of their Christian friends. Let me begin this response by asking you to picture the following scenario.
Suppose you are out in a public space and a respectable-looking, well-dressed man comes up to you and says, “I am God,” or “Worship me.” Pretend you've even seen this person before, interacted with him on previous occasions, and known him to be a reliable and reputable man. How would you respond when you heard him say, “I am God. Worship me.”?
Chances are, you'd immediately conclude he was an imposter, a fake, a fraud. You'd wonder if he was out of his mind and had gone insane. And if you are a monotheist—as Christians, Jews and Muslims are—then you'd probably go one step further and declare him to be guilty of a sin of the highest degree: blasphemy.
It seems safe to suspect that Jesus knew people would naturally respond to Him in this way if He came straight-out and said, “I am God” or “Worship me.” It would be foolish to try and demonstrate His deity in such a way. Furthermore, would it not be easy to accuse Jesus of being proud and pompous, arrogant and self-centred, if He revealed His deity in such a way? Most importantly we must ask: Would uttering such statements assist Jesus in accomplishing the primary purpose for His presence on earth? No, it would not. Jesus did not come to draw all kinds of attention to Himself and receive the praise and worship of men. The Holy Bible tells us He came “not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He came not to be sought out by men; rather, He “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As the Apostle Paul says of Jesus in Philippians 2:6-8, “Though He was in the form of God, (He) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
I mention all this to show that we should not expect Jesus to state in an outright way that He is God and that He must be worshipped.
All this being said, though, the Holy Bible certainly does teach that Jesus, though fully human, was also fully divine, fully God. In what follows, I will highlight a few of the many ways that the Bible teaches that Jesus was indeed God and that He is indeed worthy of our worship.
Jesus was conceived not by the normal means of a sexual union between a man and a woman, Mary and Joseph. Rather, He was conceived in the Virgin Mary's womb by a miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:21). His conception by the Holy Spirit is one of the first things about His life that indicates He was no ordinary human being. Being uniquely conceived without the involvement of a human father is a clear indicator that this child has a special nature, a divine nature. This is verified though the message given by an angel to Mary: “The Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
Jesus' Eternal Existence
The Bible also teaches that Jesus was eternally existent. Although Jesus entered the world in human time and in human history as a baby boy, and although He grew to be a full-grown man, Jesus' earthly life was not the beginning of His existence. Jesus has no beginning. As God, He has always existed, even before the world was created. The prophet Micah speaks of this when he describes Jesus as one “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). The Bible also speaks about the eternal nature of Jesus in John 1:1-2, which refers to Jesus as “the Word.” The apostle John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He [Jesus] was with God in the beginning.” Only someone as great as God can exist before the world was created, and if Jesus was eternally existent with God in the beginning, clearly, Jesus is God.
Jesus' Authority to Forgives Sins
Jesus also possessed the ability and authority to forgive sins, something we learn of on at least two occasions. After healing a paralyzed man, and after seeing the faith of a woman who lived a sinful life, Jesus declared to these individuals, “Your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5; Luke 7:48). Only God can declare sins forgiven, and since Jesus forgave peoples' sins, He must have been God.
Jesus Receives Worship
Jesus also allowed his followers to worship Him. The Gospels tell us that Jesus was worshipped shortly after His birth (Matthew 2:11), during His ministry (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38), after His resurrection (Matthew 28:17), and after His ascension into heaven (Luke 24:52). To worship anyone or anything other than God is idolatry; however, because Jesus truly was God, He allowed His followers to worship Him.
Jesus declared that He was equal to God when He said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
Jesus' Followers' Confession
Finally, we know that Jesus was God because of what His closest followers said of Him after He rose from the dead. One of His disciples, Thomas, made the following confession after realizing Jesus really did rise and really was standing before Him: “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed (John 20:28).
In conclusion, we have seen that while Jesus never states explicitly that He is God, the Bible nevertheless clearly teaches that Jesus is indeed not only fully human but also fully divine—fully God. Being both fully man and fully God, Jesus is qualified to be the promised Saviour. If you believe on Him, and you will be saved from your sin and inherit eternal life in heaven! (John 3:16-18).