“My Father Glorifies Me”
“Jesus clearly believed Himself to be the Messiah the Old Testament predicted. He had come to establish the kingdom of God foretold by generations of prophets. It is significant that… His first sentence was, ‘The time has been fulfilled; the kingdom of God has drawn near’” (Basic Christianity, John R.W. Stott, 16). Claiming to be everything the prophecies promised, Jesus’ ministry is defined by this sense of fulfillment. He claimed to be the Savior. He claimed to be the promised king. He also claimed to be the “Son of God” (Psalm 2:7).
Jesus claims to be the Son of God in this way even from a very young age. At twelve, having been forgotten by His parents and left in Jerusalem, the boy Jesus is found speaking in the Temple. He states, “Did you not know that I would be in My Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49) Later, He claims that He is one with the Father (John 10:30), and “I am in the Father and the Father in me” (John 14:10-11). What makes these claims so important is their exclusivity. So close is His correlation to God that the following assertions are true:
To know Him is to know God (John 8:19, John 14:7)
To see Him is to see God (John 12:45)
To believe in Him is to believe in God (John 12:44, John 14:1)
To receive Him is to receive God (Mark 9:37)
To hate Him is to hate God (John 15:23)
To honor Him is to honor God (John 5:23)
One of Jesus’ most memorable claims is found in John 8:51-59. “‘Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.’ The Jews said to Him, ‘Now we know that You have a demon Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, “If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.” Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, “He is our God”; and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I will be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.’ So the Jews said to Him, ‘You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.’ Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.” The direct claim here is that Jesus is equal with God and had existed before the creation of the world. He very precisely places His deity on the same level as the Father’s. We have other scriptures that back this up, such as John 1:1 and Philippians 2:6, which both claim that Christ was equal with God. “Before Abraham was born, I AM” is a striking phrase, similar to what is found in Revelation 1:8. This shows that in a strictly temporal sense, all things begin and end in Christ. It was through Him that the world was created, and it will be by Him that it is destroyed. Before the world was, the Father and the Son preexisted together in a way that is wholly incomprehensible to our earthly minds. We cannot conceive of an existence without time, but Christ’s deity transcends time and space.