I am not going to go through all of them, but the quotations do not lead to the self-evident
conclusion that Jesus thought he was God.
Originally posted by kingdanwa
Giving himself the same status as God the Father
i. Matthew 10:32-33-- 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
Only attests to Jesus's ability to mediate between God and humankind, which prophets can do.
ii. Matthew 28:18-20-- 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
A later interpolation, no doubt (redactively speaking), but nonetheless, does not make the equation
that Jesus = God, only that God has given Him authority (which, again, was given on smaller
scale to prophets, such as St Peter, who could lose or bind sins on earth/heaven).
iii. John 5:17-18-- 17 Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Making himself equal with God implies that He is not God, but trying to be like God, not unlike
Adam and Eve during the Fall.
iv. John 5:23-24-- He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him. 24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
One could say this about the prophets -- one who does not honor Moses or Elijah, say, does not
v. John 6:40-- 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
vi. John 10:30-33-- 30 “I and the Father are one.” 31 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” 33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
When did Jesus make this claim? Is this one of the falsehoods, perhaps, that the Jews were
spreading about Jesus, mentioned in the various scourging accounts? Notice that Jesus never
makes this claim later in the passage but iterates it (as He always did) as follows:
St John 10:36 [Jesus said to the Jews]...can you say that the one whom the Father has
sanctified and sent into the world is blaspheming because I said, 'I am God's Son?'
This is an important point: Jesus does not affirm their claims that He said He was God, but
instead restates what He always stated, that He was the Son of God.
vii. John 12:44-46-- 44 Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. 45 When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.
viii. John 13:20-- 20 I tell you the truth, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.”
These two have the same treatment as above in IV.
ix. John 14:6-11-- 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
This is the introduction to the so-called Last Supper discourses, where a multitude of metaphors
and images are used. The Father is the vine grower, Jesus is the vine; I am the light who leads to
the Father; and so on. Invariably, Jesus is a vessel by which one comes to the Father. This does
not testify to equality, but inequality. Just as St John the Baptist pointed the way to Jesus, Jesus,
too, points the way to the Father.
x. John 17:10-11-- 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 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.
Does this suggest that we become Sons and Daughters of God like Jesus is Son of God? This is
what Mormons believe. Of course, the notion that the Father gave something to Jesus
necessarily suggests that Jesus didn't have it at some point. That is, that Jesus was the adopted
Son of God, or Arianism. That is to say, Jesus (the first-born of all Creation), inherited the
position of Son of God and that Christians, too, will inherit it by faithful belief.
Taking the unsafe assumption that the Gospels report history accurately (which the demonstrably
do not), none of these passages demonstrate that Jesus thought of Himself as God incarnate.
Tellingly 80% of the passages come from St John, the latest of the four canonical Gospels, who
had a very different (and more advanced) theological understanding of what Jesus was (with, say
St Mark). Even still, St John's Jesus never says in any explicit way that Jesus is God. This
interpretation was the climax of 100 years of Christianity and was the subject of debate, as the
various proto-Creeds being formed demonstrate (iterating the basic contents of an 'Orthodox' faith).
You can, of course, debate each one of my objections, and that would be fine. This is precisely
what happened in the first 3 centuries of Christianity. People were debating what Jesus really was.
Had it been self-evident from Scripture, such debate would not have happened. All of the
so-called heretical sects of Christianity had spokesmen who were well-informed Gospel scholars,
who wrote treatises and apologies in support of their non-Trinitarian position. What became the
Orthodox church wrote counter-treatises and the debate waged on.
So, any claim of the Scriptural self-evidence of Jesus's claiming that He was God is spurious indeed.