Did Jesus claim to be God? The answer is yes.
Sometimes, however, the Lord’s words have gotten lost in translation as we try to understand them in the 21st century. People look for him to say explicitly, “I am God.” These words are not there. However, the following are:
The first major instance of the Lord Jesus claiming to be God is found in the affirmation that he is the Son of God. Today we tend to see this as meaning something other than being God himself. But in the Bible we read the Jews’ understanding of this statement and see that he was in fact claiming to be God himself by claiming to be God’s Son. For example, in John 8:33 the Jews were trying to stone Jesus “for blasphemy, because you, are mere man, claim to be God.” They understood that to claim to be the Son of God was to claim equality with God, and thus claim to be God himself.
Secondly, in John 8:58 Jesus proclaims, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” There are three things to be noticed here. Firstly, he claims to be older than the patriarch Abraham, who lived two thousand years before Christ. Secondly, he claims this in the first person, “I am.” Both of these things show that Jesus is claiming to be eternal. Thirdly, he uses the divine name that God used for himself when speaking to Moses, “I AM.” The Jews again recognized what he was saying, for they tried to stone him then too (v. 59).
We can now see that Jesus did, in fact, claim to be God.