Lunacy or Lordship-Maniac or Messiah
Before looking into more detail about Jesus' self-identity with the Father, what did the people closest to him believe and voice? Let's back up a moment. What about a historical voice first. The Jewish historian, Josephus, places Jesus as a real man, with a recorded birth and life. Now, tradition and history paint a pretty clear picture of Jesus and His followers.
For close to three years a group of men and women followed Jesus from Nazareth. Some of the men who followed him later on became apostles. After a while some of his followers(disciples), left him. Those who stayed witnessed many events that could only be described as miracles. A very accurate account of the miracles, and other events, were recorded. One such record is from a doctor and historian, known as Luke. Three other men also recorded the events that surrounded the life of Jesus. As each man wrote through his own lenses and experience we have a very rich compilation of his life.
Now, after following Jesus on a daily basis, listening to him, watching him, even when there was no big crowd, his strengths and weaknesses would be evident. Because of this close and convincing life-evidence their belief and trust in him was strong and enduring.
At one time Jesus asked Peter what the crowds thought of him and who he was. Peter told Jesus what the crowds said. Jesus, then asked him, "Who do you say that I am?" To this Peter replied, "You are the Christ of God", to which Jesus again replied, "The truth you speak is not from man or the earth". It should seem evident that these men and women who followed Jesus, even to his death, were absolutely convinced that he was sent from God, the Jewish Messiah. Oh, they disagreed on the implications and goals of his Messiah ship. Their ego and understanding would give them problems until their character transformation took place on Pentecost.
We have the witness of men and women who confessed Jesus as the Christ. Tradition and some historical writings tell of their conviction and trust. The Apostle Peter was crucified by the Romans upside down. Phillip, the half-brother of Jesus, was beaten to death with a club and cast down from a wall. All of the original Apostles, except John, were executed for their faith. Such a fate they could have escaped by renouncing their trust in Jesus Christ. The Apostle John escaped the cauldron, to be banished to the island of Patmos. These, and countless more, faced death because Jesus Christ was, Real God.