Jesus’ Eight Claims
Day 5 Supplement
In Chapters 5 and 6 of Rediscover Jesus, Matthew lists eight of Jesus’ claims regarding his divinity. Pick the one that you struggle with the most, read what Matthew has to say about it, and talk to Jesus about it.
CLAIM NO. 1: JESUS DEMONSTRATED CONTROL OVER NATURE.
“Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matthew 8:26–27).
When Jesus demonstrated his control over nature, it clearly signified his divinity. But we also see that even during his lifetime people were grappling with the Jesus question when they asked: “What sort of man is this?”
CLAIM NO. 2: JESUS CLAIMED HE WAS ABLE TO FORGIVE SINS.
“He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town. And there people brought him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus brings order to everything. The people were focused on the paralytic’s physical needs, but Jesus essentially said, “You need forgiveness more than you need physical healing.”
At that some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher and go home.” When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe . . .” (Matthew 9:1–7)
Only God can forgive sins. By claiming authority to forgive sins, Jesus was again claiming to be God. In this situation he backed up his claim by making the lame walk.
Notice the reaction of the people. They were awestruck. When is the last time you were awestruck by Jesus? Why is it that we won’t allow ourselves to be awestruck by Jesus anymore? Have our hearts become too hardened? Have we become too cynical? Have we become so familiar with the astounding acts of Jesus’ life that we are no longer impressed?
CLAIM NO. 3: JESUS CLAIMED TO BE THE LORD OF THE SABBATH.
“The Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27–28).
In modern times we may read this and miss most of the meaning, but the Sabbath was at the center of Jewish life and customs. It was sacred. Don’t forget, keeping the Sabbath is the third commandment. Who is the author of the Ten Commandments? God. God is lord of the Sabbath. So by claiming authority over what was and was not permitted on the Sabbath, Jesus was claiming to be God.
CLAIM NO. 4: JESUS DEMONSTRATED HE HAD POWER OVER DEATH.
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. . . . When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him. . . . Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” Then Jesus approached the tomb and said, “Lazarus, come out!” and the dead man came out of the tomb. (John 11:1-44)
Notice that Martha believed that Jesus had the power to prevent the death of her brother.
When was the last time you were at a funeral? Imagine the scene if someone had walked in, opened the coffin, and said to the dead person, “Come out!” and that dead person had gotten up and walked out. Imagine. There would be complete pandemonium.
Jesus wants your funeral to be a resurrection too.
Power over death belongs to God. By demonstrating that he had power over death, Jesus was displaying his divinity. This was powerfully demonstrated when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Raising Lazarus was also a dramatic foreshadowing of the central event upon which all of Christianity hinges: the Resurrection.
CLAIM NO. 5: JESUS CLAIMED TO BE ABLE TO GIVE ETERNAL LIFE.
“My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:27–28).
Jesus showed people how to have a richer, deeper, more meaningful life here on earth. But he also reminded them that there is more to the human experience than this life. He pointed them to the eternal. Many people have done this throughout history. Many wise leaders and teachers have helped people to have a deeper experience of life and pointed them toward the eternal. But Jesus went a step further. He claimed to be able to give people everlasting life.
CLAIM NO. 6: JESUS CLAIMED TO BE THE MESSIAH.
“Again the high priest asked him and said to him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?’ Then Jesus answered, ‘I am’” (Mark 14:61–62).
Who did Jesus say he was? When we explore this question there is no confusion. Over and over again throughout his public life, Jesus made it clear that he was the long-awaited Messiah spoken of throughout the Old Testament. He made it clear that he was God.
CLAIM NO. 7: JESUS CLAIMED HE COULD SEE INTO THE FUTURE.
“Then he took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and everything written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles and he will be mocked and insulted and spat upon; and after they have scourged him they will kill him, but on the third day he will rise’” (Luke 18:31–33).
A great mind can study all of history’s yesterdays, but only God can see into the future and foretell every tomorrow. Jesus often told his disciples about future events. His knowledge of the future was a display of his divinity.
CLAIM NO. 8: JESUS CLAIMED TO PREEXIST THE WORLD.
“Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began” (John 17:5).
Who created the world? God did. So, when Jesus claimed to have existed before the world began, he was again claiming to be God. Once we really begin to consider the claims of Jesus, the Gospel becomes a litany of stories that announce, “Jesus is God!”
But for anyone who was unclear about what he was claiming, Jesus removed all doubt when he said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30) and “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).