Was Jesus Always Worshiped as God?

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Some critics of Christianity argue that Jesus never claimed to be God and that early Christians did not even hold to the belief. They maintain that Jesus was not worshiped as a deity until several hundred years after His death. Can our faith withstand these attacks? Will the claims crumble in light of Scripture? Let’s find out.  

The Son of God

William Hole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jesus’ assertion that He was the Son of God is what compelled Israel’s religious leaders to plot His execution. Jesus was not claiming to be simply a child of God, like you or I. Rather, by claiming to be the Son of God, He was actually claiming to be God. They knew it and He knew it.

In the second chapter of his gospel, Luke records a well known story of Jesus’ boyhood. At 12 years old Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with his family for Passover. When their group left to head home, Mary and Joseph thought he was somewhere in their caravan. After a day’s journey, they couldn’t find Him and returned, panic-stricken, to Jerusalem. Upon discovering Him in the temple, astonishing everyone with His wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures, they scolded Him as most parents would. This was His response…

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”

Not yet a teenager, Jesus knew His identity as the Son of God. He repeated this claim many times. For example, in Matthew 16:15-17, Jesus affirmed Peter’s proclamation that He was the Son of God and then proceeded to refer to God as His Father. 

He said to them,  “But who do you say that I am?”  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

When Jesus came to Bethany after the death of Lazarus, Martha found Jesus and lamented that her brother would not have died if He would have come sooner. During their conversation, she professed her belief that He was the Son of God.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” (John 11:25-27)

There are many other scriptures throughout the gospels as well as the rest of the New Testament that proclaim Jesus as the Son of God (see Jesus Christ, Son of God) and, as I mentioned previously, it is for this reason His own people sought to crucify Him.

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