- In the four New Testament gospels, Jesus never claimed to be God. Twice he was accused of indirectly doing so. Many Trinitarian Christians are wrongly taught that those Jews who so accused Jesus were right in doing so.
John 5.18 relates that Jews thought of Jesus was “making himself equal to God.” But their basis for thinking this was that “he was not only breaking the sabbath” for healing someone on the sabbath, “but was also calling God his Father.” Jesus taught his followers to call God their Father, which Christians have done ever since, and no one thinks Christians who do that are thereby making themselves equal with God.
John 10.33 relates that Jews said to Jesus: “you, though only a human being, are making yourself God.”
Both times, in John 5.19-47 and 10.34-38, Jesus refuted these accusations. In the first episode, he twice said, “I/the Son, can do nothing on my/his own” (John 5.19, 30). He then identified various prerogatives that God the Father gives him, such as judgment and giving eternal life, showing these are derived thus not intrinsic to himself. In John 10.37-38, he explained that his previous statement, “I and the Father are one” (v. 30), meant that he and God the Father indwelled each other, which scholars call the Mutual Indwelling of the Father and the Son.
- At the Sanhedrin’s interrogation of Jesus, when they condemned him as a blasphemer, they never accused him of claiming to be God.
3. The apostles never identified Jesus as God in any of their evangelistic messages in Acts.
In the Apostle Peter’s first sermon–which was on the first Day of Pentecost after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven–Peter preached to the Jews at Jerusalem, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you . . . God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2.22-23, 36). Peter then told them to “repent” in order for God to “forgive(n)” and “save” them (vv. 38-40). There is nothing in this sermon about Jesus being God. Yet Trinitarians claim people must believe Jesus is God and that God is three persons in order to be forgiven and saved. Surely, if that is true, Peter and the other apostles’s sermons mentioned in the book of Acts would say this.