Jesus again affirms his identify as God in the Book of Revelation when He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:13).
"Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" John 8:58
In this day and age it is becoming increasingly popular to view Jesus as just a very wise moral teacher among the many wise moral teachers that humanity has learned from over the millennia. While this view may be beneficial for introducing non-believers to the Gospel and helping them get acquainted with Jesus' words, it has unfortunately begun popping up within Christianity as well.
Uncomfortable with the idea that the person of Christ could have been fully human and fully God, an idea that seems out of place in the modern world, some Christians have started to think of Jesus as just a very special person. But is it possible to call yourself a Christian and not believe that Jesus is God?
The one tenant which unites Christians worldwide is the belief that Jesus died for our salvation, an act that could only have been possible if He truly was God. Without this belief Christianity no longer offers any hope of salvation, or much reason to consider Jesus' words as more worthy of basing our lives on than the words of any of the world's other great teachers.
Jesus makes it clear in scripture that He is God, and that if we are to follow Him we need to accept that fact. He did try to teach us to love God and to love each other, but His main purpose in living among us was to carry out the plan for our salvation. Jesus' divinity is made clear in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke through a combination of His words and actions. Nevertheless, one could argue that in these gospels His identity as God is hinted at rather than directly stated.
In the Gospel of John, however, we are given many verses and spiritually encouraging quotes directly from the mouth of Jesus which are intended to reveal to us that He is, in fact, God incarnate. The following three statements in particular can leave us with no doubt that Jesus knew He was God and wanted His disciples to know it as well:
- "Very truly I tell you," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:58)
- I and the Father are one. (John 10:30)
- Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (John 14:9)
Jesus again affirms his identify as God in the Book of Revelation when He says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." (Revelation 22:13). This statement makes it unequivocally clear that Jesus did not see Himself as just a prophet or a very wise teacher, but fully and completely as God.
There can be no doubt that Jesus intended for His followers to believe that He was God. While following His moral teachings can help make you a more loving and kind person, it does not make you a Christian. Jesus said what He said and did what He did not so that His words and miracles would be taken on their own, but so that through them we could come to recognize Him for who He truly is.
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. “I have revealed youto those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”