The answer to this often-asked question is “yes.” Of course, many, throughout history, have made the same claim. Stories abound of institutionalized mental patients claiming they were God. Others have said they were God and have convinced people to follow them. Cult leaders often convince others that they are the promised messiah and state that they are an incarnation of God.
So, was Jesus mentally ill? Was he a cult leader? What was the context of his claim to be God?
Let’s begin by examining Jesus’ claims as recorded in the Bible:
“…he who has seen Me has seen the Father…” John 14:9
“…I and The Father are one…” John 10:30
Jesus repeatedly referred to himself as “I am” (John 8:58) which in the Hebrew tradition amounted to a declaration that He was God. It was these repeated pronouncements that infuriated the religious authorities in his day who called for his execution via crucifixion. Death was the prescribed punishment for the sin of heresy, and Jesus’ assertion that he was God would have been considered the ultimate heresy thus the demand for capital punishment.
Besides his direct assertion that he was God, the Bible relates stories where Jesus demonstrated that he was God. On one occasion, Jesus invited three of his disciples, James, Peter and John, to accompany him to Mt. Tabor to witness Him being transfigured to the Majesty he had before coming to earth. There Jesus was joined in midair by Moses and Elijah and the witnesses heard the voice of God saying,
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5
Furthermore, Jesus raised several people from the dead including Lazarus, a man who had been dead three days and was starting to stink of decay. There were many witnesses to these events. Most significantly, Jesus, himself, rose from the dead, one of the most documented events of the ancient world. Following his resurrection, Jesus appeared in bodily form to hundreds of people and during this period he would suddenly appear and disappear thru doors and walls in a locked room.
The evidences are many and clear. His coming to earth, living a perfect life, performing many miracles, suffering a terrible death for us on a cross, and rising from the dead so that we may be forgiven and enjoy fellowship with Him now, here on this earth, is sufficient to confirm that Jesus is indeed God.
All it takes is for you and each of us now is to say YES I BELIEVE and TRUST in HIM. How about you? Have you? If not, why not? If you would like to learn more about Jesus and his power to set you free from sin while offering you an opportunity to enjoy an eternity free from guilt, pain and shame, please read our post, How Can I Become a Christian?.