This is a challenge that some people throw at evangelical Christians. It usually takes the form of “show me in red letters where Jesus himself said, (using the exact words) ‘I am God worship me.’”
It is both clever and silly at the same time. It is clever in a deceptive way in that it can confuse Christians who don’t know the Bible or its teachings all that well, but to someone who is a mature Christian who has had good teaching (especially in dealing with the cults), it is trivial. To ask the question is to commit the fallacy of making an argument from silence. And it is made all the worse when you can make the conclusion based on context. In this case, the context is the entire Bible. How much time do you have? I could try to cover every reference that demonstrates where the Bible makes it clear that Jesus is God and that he deserves our full honour and worship. But let’s take them up on their challenge literally. Well at least close enough for someone who is open to the truth.
So first I need to ask, do you have ears to hear? I ask that because …
… people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.1 Corinthians 2:14 New Living Translation
Peter did have ears to hear.
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.Matthew 16:16, 17
Have you already made up your mind that Jesus is not God, or are you open to finding answers that go against that belief?
I will go into other examples later but let’s start with the book Revelation.
The whole book of Revelation should be in red letters because it is …
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.Rev 1:1, ff
The whole book of Revelation is the “testimony of Jesus Christ.”
In his own words, Jesus calls himself the Almighty God. First, he identifies the Alpha and Omega as Almighty God.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”Rev 1:8
He also connects the first and the last with the Alpha and Omega and reveals that the Alpha and Omega is “coming quickly”.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”Rev 22:12,13
John then reveals who is coming quickly.
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.Rev 22:20
But, I suppose you are wondering, “what about the worship me part?”.
Here’s another verse from the Revelation of Jesus (i.e. the testimony of Jesus so it should be in red letters even if printed Bibles have it in black).
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,Rev 5:11 to 14
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.”
And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying,
“To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.”
And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
Just in case you are wondering who the lamb is the read the entire book of Revelation for yourself. (For that matter the sacrificial Lamb is a picture of Christ throughout the entire Bible.) But for those of you who won’t. Here is what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus (as quoted by the same John who wrote the book of Revelation).
These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!John 1:28, 29
Ah but you say, I don’t accept that the book of Revelation is inspired by God, I want to see something from the Gospels. No problem. We can find the truth in other places so let’s start with the worship part. As I said before the argument from silence is a fallacy. It is a con to confuse people who don’t know what the Bible really teaches, and the truth should be clear to anyone with ears to hear. So here is my challenge right back at you. Where did Jesus (red letters please) use the exact words “I’m not God. Don’t worship me”? Okay, I’m committing the same fallacy that I accused the questioner of making, so let me put it this way. Where does any New Testament writer or Jesus himself teach that Jesus is not God and that Jesus should not be worshiped? Where did Jesus refuse worship?
He did not do it when the disciples worshiped him for walking on water.
When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”Mat 14:32, 33
He did not reject worship when Thomas called him God.
Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”John 20:28,29
Jesus might just as well have said I am God when he indicated that he was greater than Abraham. Then said, “before Abraham was born, I AM.” John 8:58 (read the preceding verses as well).
The words Jesus used in Greek for I AM were EGO EIMI (ἐγὼ εἰμί). That is the same Greek words in the Greek version of the Old Testament in Exodus 3:14
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”Exodus 3:14
No wonder the Jews (who didn’t believe that Jesus is God),
“picked up stones to throw at Him, …” John 8:59
By their actions, the Jews were accusing Jesus of blasphemy.
There is another problem with the challenge, Jesus often referred to himself in the third person. He often referred to himself as the Son of Man. And he is the most humble person who ever lived. Again in John 8:54
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’; … “John 8:54
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:5-8
Jesus was so humble that instead of calling down legions of Angels, asked the Father to forgive the people who crucified him. But that doesn’t mean that he is not God or that he will not be worshiped, in fact …
For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:8-11
Compare that with Isaiah 45:23 where Yahweh says …
“I have sworn by Myself,Isaiah 45:23
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
Now if you think it is no big deal that Jesus called himself “The Son of Man”, you might like to consider what Jesus said at his trial.
But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.Mark 14:61-64
The “crime” that Jesus was convicted of was blasphemy. What was it about his words that got them so upset? Well, they would have been very familiar with the book of Daniel.
“I kept looking in the night visions,Daniel 13, 14
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.
Jesus calling himself the Son of Man was no trivial matter.
The Jewish leaders sure understood the implications, in fact, one of the questions that Jesus stumped his accusers with can be seen in Mat 22:41-45
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,Mat 22:41-45
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet”’?
If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.
Do you have ears to hear? I could go on. To understand much of what Jesus was saying requires a reasonable amount of Bible study and an understanding of the Old Testament. I could have written a book on the topic, but others already have, see I, Jesus: An Autobiography
If you’re open-minded and would like me to clarify some things, then contact me via email. See my contact page
All quotes are from the New American Standard Bible unless stated otherwise.