Jesus never actually claimed to be God.
The claim that Jesus Christ never declared himself to be God could not be any further from the truth. In fact, it was this very claim that led the Jews at the Sanhedrin trial of Jesus to label Him as a blasphemer. Jesus was claiming to be equal to God, to co-exist side by side with God and to be of the same substance in nature as God. The claim that Jesus was making was understood fully by the Jews who placed Him on trial. Jesus’s lack of denial to these claims also further proved He was making the claim to be God.
Jesus and God are one.
“27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one. 31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?33 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 10:27-33)
Jesus clearly asserts that He and God are one. He even goes a step further and states the He has the power to grant eternal life. This is obviously a claim that a mere man would not be able to deliver on. Only a God could grant ever lasting, eternal life.
Jesus is equal to God in power.
“19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. 20 For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” (John 5:19-21)
As we see here, Jesus is stating that whatever God can do, He can do also.
Jesus is equal to God in honor.
“23 That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.” (John 5:19-21)
Jesus is equal to God in authority.
“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” (John 5:22)
“26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” (John 5:26-27)
Jesus makes it clear He is the judge of the world. This is not a claim He could make if He was only a mere man. The only way that Jesus could make the claim that He was the judge of all mankind is if He was not only fully man, but also fully God. He can judge mankind, the creation, because He is God the creator. (See more on the makeup of God on our defense article Christians Worship Three Gods.)
The Jewish claims of blasphemy
“33 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 10:33)
“17 But Jesus answered them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. 18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5-17)
It is important to understand that in the Jewish culture, equalizing yourself to someone else (for example a son and a father) meant you are claiming to be the same as that person. This is what we see going on in the above verses of scripture. The Jews obviously were understanding the situation as Jesus claiming to be God.
In conclusion Jesus is the only historical religious leader that claimed to be God. Not only that, but He was also able to convince a large portion of the world of this very claim.