John 8:57-59 : The Jews therefore said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Most certainly, I tell you, before Abraham came into existence, I AM.” Therefore they took up stones to throw at him, but Jesus was hidden, and went out of the temple, having gone through their midst, and so passed by.
This is one of the most obvious places where Jesus claimed to be God. “I AM” is how God referred to Himself in the Old Testament when He was talking to Moses from the burning bush.
Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:13,14)
One thing I like about this passage of scripture is that God doesn’t have to say who He is to any man. He is who He is. Jesus also didn’t feel the need to prove to people that He was God. He just was God. This name also shows us that He is the one who always was and always will be. As if that isn’t enough proof that Jesus was claiming to be God, we also have the reaction of the listeners.
Those who heard this validated the claim to deity by starting to pick up stones to stone Him. The fact that they started stoning Him also proves that they didn’t believe. The thought that He was committing a blasphemous act. Here’s what it says in Jewish law:
You shall speak to the children of Israel, saying, “Whoever curses his God shall bear his sin. He who blasphemes the name of Yahweh, he shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him: the foreigner as well as the native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:15,16)
Again we see that there is no Biblical ground to the idea that Jesus did not claim to be God. It is also clear that Christianity depends on this fact. So far in our study of John, we have read several things that have indicated the deity of Jesus. Here’s small list:
- John 1:1
- John 3:13,31
- John 5:18
There are many more references to the deity of Jesus in the Bible.
One more interesting thing to note is that Jesus was standing in the temple declaring Himself to be God and was rejected. Prophesy tells us that in the last days, another man will come into the temple and claim the he is god. He will be lying but he will be believed until He is destroyed by Jesus. You can read more about this in the books of Daniel and Revelation.