Jesus never claimed to be God. The belief He is God comes from His followers. We never see Him make that statement.
Let’s just look at a few illustrations to show this is completely false. First, Jesus claimed to be equal to the Father.
I and my Father are one. (John 10:30 KJV)
If this was an ambiguous statement, why did the Pharisees react so violently?
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I showed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (John 10:31-33 KJV)
They knew exactly what Jesus was claiming - He claimed to be God. This leaves little room for doubt, at least for the Pharisees. But if we study the Gospel accounts more closely, we see more evidence for Jesus’ claims to be God. This was not an isolated case, it happened several other times as well.
In one of Jesus’ many debates with the Pharisees, the subject of the Pharisees being Abraham’s children arises, and Jesus responds with a comment of His own.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. (John 8:56 KJV)
This is quite a statement. How could Abraham see Jesus? Jesus came thousands of years after Abraham. This caused problems for the Pharisees as well, as they respond:
Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? (John 8:57 KJV)
Jesus gives the answer to this problem.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I AM. (John 8:58)
This is a grammatical error we’ll come back to in a minute (it should be I was, not I AM), but first let’s look at the Pharisees response to this statement.
Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:59 KJV)
Again, the Pharisees want to stone Jesus. Why would this statement cause them to want to kill Jesus? The answer is given back in the Old Testament, in Exodus.
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:13-14 KJV)
God told Moses to tell Israel His name was “I AM”. By Jesus using the same phrase, He places himself as the voice from the burning bush that talked to Moses thousands of years ago. Jesus is claiming to be God; the Pharisees understood what Jesus is saying, that’s why they wanted to kill him.
But looking at one more story should suffice. On what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus made his entrance into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.
And they brought him [the colt - editor] to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. (Luke 19:35-38 KJV)
This happened a week before Easter. This appears to be a rather benign event, but again, the Pharisees are angry.
And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. (Luke 19:39 KJV)
Why would they want Jesus to rebuke His disciples? What’s the problem here? Notice what the crowd is saying “Blessed be the King that comes in the name of the Lord”. That’s a title for the Messiah, who is God. The crowd is claiming Jesus is God, and the Pharisees want Jesus to stop them, for surely He knows He isn’t God, and wouldn’t want the multitude to blaspheme. But Jesus doesn’t stop them, He makes a curious remark.
And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:40 KJV)
So again, the Pharisees know Jesus is claiming to be God, and they are angry. If He wasn’t claiming to be God, they had no reason to want to kill Him.