Over the last number of weeks, I have sought to answer this question. This is THE most important doctrine because the answer affects everything else we believe and understand about the Bible.
Is Jesus God? Yes! Did He see Himself to be God? Of course! We know He did because 1) He taught with His own divine authority, 2) He had a unique, divine relationship with God the Father, and 3) He emphasized His own identity in His teaching. We also know Jesus viewed Himself to be God because HE RECEIVED WORSHIP.
Perhaps the most radical demonstration of Jesus’ belief that He was God is the fact that when He was worshiped, as He sometimes was, He accepted that worship. “And when they saw him they worshiped him . . .” (Matt 28:17; cf. 14:33; 28:9; John 9:38; 20:28). If Jesus did not believe He was God, He should have vehemently rejected being worshiped, just as Paul and Barnabas did in Lystra (Acts 14:14-15)! Why?! That a monotheistic Jew like Jesus accepted worship from other monotheistic Jews shows that Jesus realized He possessed a divine identity, specifically that of God the Son.
“Nobody can call himself a Christian who does not worship Jesus. To worship Him, if He is not God, is idolatry; to withhold worship from Him if He is, is apostasy” (Robert Bowman and Ed Komoszewski). Who is Jesus? He is God, and He knew it! And that changes everything!
John 8:24, “unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins” (NLT). Next week, we will finish our study of Jesus as God by looking at how He equated Himself with the Father. To do so is an unequivocal claim to be God. Make no mistake about it!