During his lifetime, Jesus did not refer to himself as God, did not believe himself to be God, and none of his followers had any indication that he was God. In the Gospel of John, or the final Gospel, Jesus does refer to himself as God. But this statement is not found in any other Gospel, it was added by a later writer who wanted to show that Jesus was even more important than God.
Jesus said many things we would not expect a human being to say. He told us to love one another, for example, and also told his followers to kill others. It is not that Jesus was inconsistent -- he just spoke in terms of our experience. He was perfect in every way except sin, and so when asked if he was God, he simply replied "Yes."
The idea that Jesus was God comes from two sources: One is the Bible, especially from the Gospel of John. The other is church tradition. As we will see, both of these sources have problems.
In the Bible, Jesus says several times that he and God are one: "I am God's son.... Therefore they shall be one in faith and practice.... Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:57, 58, 62).
In the Gospel of John, or the final Gospel, you will find Jesus referring to himself as God. He does this most often in conversations with the Jews who were his critics and accusers throughout his ministry. They tried to kill him many times, but he always managed to escape their clutches.
Jesus referred to himself as God not only when talking with the Jews, but also when confronting the devil during his battles.
The Jews accused Jesus of claiming to be God (see John 10:33). But Jesus always pointed out that he was doing a greater work than they could imagine. For example, the Jews said that the prophets didn't predict him, but the truth is that the prophets did predict him!
Jesus also told his disciples that he was going to die on the cross and rise again. The Jews knew this story too, but they thought that Jesus was trying to fool them by pretending to go to the cross when in fact he would come back to life after three days.
So here we have two groups of people who know Jesus well: His enemies and those who follow him. His enemies try to murder him, throw him off a cliff, and put him to death while he is hanging on the cross.
However, Jesus used the phrase "I am" to refer to himself. In reality, Jesus refers to himself as Yahweh and proclaims, "I AM" in multiple instances (ego eimi in Greek). As you can see, the Bible plainly records Jesus referring to himself as ego eimi, which is the Greek version of Yahweh. As a result, our answer is YES! Jesus referred to himself as God. 25th of August, 2015 by Jesus Loves You.
Player Embedded In How Jesus Became God, Bart Ehrman investigates how a Jewish preacher from Galilee became a divinity. "Jesus himself did not proclaim himself God or consider himself to be God," Ehrman writes. How Did Jesus Become God If He Never Called Himself God?
His followers took on this role after his death. They invented stories about how Jesus turned the stones into people - including Peter! - and granted him divine powers. These tales developed over time and added up over many years. By the time they were being written down by historians like Tacitus and Josephus, they had become mythological stories that included many elements not found in Jesus' life.
For example, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One was beaten with rods and killed, while the other fled. Which is why some scholars believe Jesus' story ends here. Others say he survived and returned to Galilee where he lived out his life in peace because Rome didn't execute people then.
Does this mean Jesus wasn't executed? No. He may have been beaten to death or perhaps he escaped. But whether we look at the evidence for his death directly or infer it based on other things that are known about Roman punishment, we can't say for sure what happened to Jesus under the rule of Pontius Pilate.