“Isn’t it true Jesus never claimed to be God?”
It is true that Jesus did not say those words “I am God.” This is because merely saying “I am God.” is inadequate as the word “god” could refer to things other than the Almighty God.
It could refer to pagan gods
“I am the Lord your God (“Elohim”), who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. “You shall have no other gods (“Elohim”) before me. (Exod 20:2-3)
Angels are referred to as “gods”
I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; before the “gods” (Hebrew Elohim) I will sing your praise. (Ps 138:1)
Human judges are referred to as “gods”
“I said, ‘You are “gods” (Hebrew Elohim); you are all sons of the Most High.’ (Ps 82:6)
God’s messenger are referred to as “gods”
Then the LORD said to Moses, “See, I make you as God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. (Ex 7:1)
Because of the wide usage of the word “god”, it would be futile if Jesus were to just say “I am God”. The Jews or even the Muslims today could say that Jesus was just claiming to be a judge, a human messenger of God or even an angel. Jesus had to make claims, not just to being a “god” but to being the Almighty God. How could He do that? By claiming specific attributes that only God Almighty has.