Jesus Is God
People often misunderstand the Bible when it says Jesus is the Son of God. Not only is Jesus God, He clearly claimed to be God, and was called God (Theos) throughout the New Testament, even using the sacred Jewish/Hebrew divine title for God ("I AM"). There is so mauch material to this article that I decided to make expanding sections for organization. Simply click on the arrow or the heading to expand it and click it again to retract.
Jesus Is Called "God" In The Old And New TestamentOLD TESTAMENT
The New Testament affirms the deity of Jesus in calling him Yahweh. Old Testament prophecies concerning Yahweh are quoted in the New Testament as being references to Jesus (e.g. compare Malachi 3:1 and Luke 1:76; Joel 2:32 and Romans 10:13; Isaiah 45:23 and Romans 14:10; Psalm 45:6 and Hebrews 1:8,9). You can see my article on Messianic Prophecy which contains a list of 365 prophecies from the Old Testament which are fulfilled by Jesus in the New Testament. We will later talk about other divine titles such as "I AM," "Son of Man," "Son of God" and Immanuel/Emmanuel (literally means "God with us").NEW TESTAMENT
In eight Scriptural passages in the New Testament, Jesus is described by the Greek word Theos (God): John 1:1-3; 1:18; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13-14a; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20. For example, Titus 2:13-14a says, "looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us." 2 Peter 1:1 says similarly, "our God and Savior Jesus Christ." Romans 9:5 declares, "Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God." It couldn't be more clear.
Jesus Being God Is Central To Christianity
At the core of Christianity is the belief that God came to earth in the Person of the Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:14). The term Incarnation is used to describe this and it is a fundamental teaching of Christianity. No Christian Church rejects this as this would be considered heresy. For example, Ebiontism which taught that Jesus was just a human being and not divine. This was quickly rejected. A similar heresy was Arianism, which was started by Arius, a priest in Alexandra, Egypt who died in AD 336, was a teaching that Jesus was not eternal, that he was a created being, and thus wasn't God. This was declared a heresy by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD. Opposite to Arianism, Docetism taught that Jesus was totally divine and only appeared to be human. He only appeared to suffer and die. A similar heresy is Apollinarianism. A modern heresy is Oneness Pentecostalism which rejects the Trinity and teaches that God is only one person, and that the Father came into the Son (Jesus) who didn't exist before the Incarnation.
It is clear from the Bible that all of these teachings are heresies and false teachings. There are some cults which have adopted some of these teachings or similar ones but orthodox Christianity, or traditional Christianity, has always rejected teachings like this and have clearly stood by a clear Biblical theology. As theologian J. I. Packer writes, “The Gospel tells us that our Creator has become our Redeemer.”
Jesus is the object of saving faith and proclaimed "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). Philip says to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us" (John 14:8). Jesus replies, "'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?'" (John 14:9-10). That is the same question Jesus asks of you.FOOTNOTES:
1. J. I. Packer, Knowing God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1993), 189.
Jesus Created Everything
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the very Creator of the universe (John 1:3, 10; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2, 10, 2:10, 3:3, 4).
THe Book of John opens with the following description of Jesus,"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:1-5). John then says, "He was in the world, and the world was made through Him..." clearly stating that Jesus made the world (which is the Greek word κόσμος (kosmos), from where we get our word cosmos and means "the world, universe" (Strongs #2889).
Jesus Used The Sacred Jewish/Hebrew Title Of God, "I AM"
When God spoke to Moses at the burning bush 1500 years before Christ, He reaffirmed that He is the only God. God told Moses His name is Yahweh, (I AM). Most of us are more familiar with the English translation, Jehovah or LORD. Since that time, the foundational Scripture (Shema) for Judaism has been:
"Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD." (Deuteronomy 6:4)
When Jesus began his ministry, the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, & Scribes) began to see Jesus as a threat. Suddenly they began looking for ways to trap him. In John 8, Jesus is in the temple teaching and the scribes and Pharasees bring Him a woman caught in the act of adultery. They try to trap Him but Jesus writes something on the ground and says whoever has no sin should cast the first stone (John 8:7). They leave but Jesus later tells them he is “the light of the world" (John 8:12).” Believing that Yahweh is the light of the world, they replied indignantly:
“ You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.” (John 8:13).
The Bible then says “no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come. (John 8:20)”
Then Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me… (John 8:42)… He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God."” They are furious with Him and accuse Jesus of being a Samaritan (a group they hated) and having a demon.
Then Jesus told them that, 2,000 years earlier, Abraham had foreseen him. Their response was incredulous:
“ You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham? ” (John 8:58)
Then Jesus shocks them by saying:
“'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.'” (John 8:58)
They took up stones to throw at Jesus because He had used the I AM title (ego eimi), the sacred Name of God for Himself! These religious experts lived and breathed the Old Testament Scriptures declaring Yahweh alone as God. They knew the Scripture spoken through Isaiah:
“ "You are My witnesses," says the Lord, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior.” Isaiah 43:10, 11)
They knew the second part Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, And besides Me there is no savior” but they missed the first part, “You are My witnesses," says the Lord, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. ”
Since the penalty for blasphemy was death by stoning, the Jewish leaders angrily picked up stones to kill Jesus. They thought Jesus was calling himself, “God.” At that point Jesus could have said, “Wait! You misunderstood me---I am not Yahweh.” But Jesus didn’t alter his statement, even at the risk of being killed.
C.S. Lewis explains their anger:
“He says…’I am begotten of the One God, before Abraham was, I am,’ and remember what the words ‘I am’ were in Hebrew. They were the name of God, which must not be spoken by any human being, the name which it was death to utter.”1
Some may try to argue that this was an isolated instance but Jesus also used the “I AM” title for himself on several other occasions:
- “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)
- “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
- “I am the only way to the Father” (John 14:6)
- “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25)
- “I am the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11)
- “I am the door” (John 10:9)
- “I am the living bread” (John 6:51)
- “I am the true vine” (John 15:1)
- “I am the First and the Last” (Revelation 22:13)
- “I am the Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:7,8)
1. Lewis, C. S. God in the Dock (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2,000), pg. 157.
Jesus Himself Claimed To Be God
Not only is Jesus God, He clearly claimed to be God. However, Jesus was careful how He taught this because of the strong monotheistic (belief in one God) Jewish culture. Saying there was another God was blasphemy and punishable by death. Yet Jesus said in the temple, in the portico of Solomon to all the Jews that gathered around Him, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). They went to stone Him for blasphemy (as the Law commanded them to do in Leviticus 24:15) and Jesus says, "Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?" The Jews answered "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God." Jesus later says, "that the Father is in Me, and I in Him" (John 10:38) and they try to seize him but Jesus escapes. But because Jesus clearly and in many ways claimed to be God, this ultimately led to Jesus being crucified.
C. S. Lewis, the former skeptic turned apologist notes, "Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God… But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.FOOTNOTES:
1. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (San Francisco: Harper, 2001), pg. 51.
Jesus Told The Jewish Leaders He Was God (Mark 14:53-65; John 10:22-39; John 18:1-14)
In John 10:22-39 Jesus is in the temple. The Jews surround Him and ask Jesus if He is the Christ. Jesus answers, "'I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me... I and My Father are one.'" The Jews take up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "'Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?'" The Jews answered Him, saying, "'For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God'" (John 10:32-33).
In John 18, we read that Jesus is in Gethsemane with his disciples, as He often was. Judas betrays Jesus and with "a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus knows why they are there but asks, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He" and when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground." They bound Him and bring Him to Annas a high priest, then to Caiaphas the high priest that year, chief priests, the elders, and the scribes (Mark 14:53). Mark 14:61-64 states "But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" Jesus said, "I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?" And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death."
The is absolutely no other way to understand all these Scriptures except that Jesus claimed to be God and that is a central reason why he was crucified.
Jesus Told Philip He Was God
In John 14, Jesus tells Thomas:
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. If you had known who I am, then you would have known who my Father is. From now on you know Him and have seen Him.” (John 14:5-9)
The disciples are confused and Philip asks Jesus to “show us the Father.” Jesus’ answers Philip:
“Philip, don’t you even yet know who I am, even after all the time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!”
In John 17 Jesus reveals that this oneness with His Father had existed in eternity past, “before the world began.” According to Jesus, there has never been a time when He wasn't one with the Father.
Other Titles Jesus Used (“Son of Man” and “Son of God”)
Two other divine titles Jesus sometimes used were “Son of Man” and “Son of God.” The reason for this is simple but commonly misunderstood.SON OF MAN
The title “Son of Man” was used by Jesus because it was the term used in Old Testament prophecy (e.g. Isaiah 53 and Daniel 7:13, 14). It also referred to His humanity, the fact that He was fully human while He was fully God. Jesus even used the term to describe himself prophetically when He will return to earth, “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27). When Jesus was before Caiaphas the high priest, Caiaphas says to Jesus, ""I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" (Matthew 26:63). We then read in the next verse, "Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 26:64).SON OF GOD
“Son of God” in the original Greek refers to likeness, or "of the same order." Whereas “Son of Man” stressed His humanity, “Son of God” stressed His divinity. There is no inferiority in the Greek use of “Son of." and “Son of God” is a divine title and meant that Jesus was divine, the same as God, and was God. As we saw previously, His hearers also clearly took it this way.
Another Title that was used for Jesus was "Immanuel" or "Emmanuel" which literally means "God with us".
Jesus Forgives Sin
In Judaism, only God can forgive sin. On several occasions Jesus did what only God could do, forgive sinners. The scribes rebuked Jesus when he forgave the sins of a man with palsy right in front of them:
“When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you.’ And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7)
We then read, ““But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins"— He said to the paralytic, "I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!”” (Mark 2:8-12).
C.S. Lewis describes it this way:
‘Then comes the real shock: Among these Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God….But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world, who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.’
1. Lewis, C.S. Mere Christianity (1952; Harper Collins: 2001), pg. 51
Jesus Has God's AttributesJESUS IS MORALLY PERFECT
Because Jesus was truly God, his moral purity was above reproach. Jesus' righteous life was known to all. The writer of Hebrews reveals that Jesus "has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Jesus even challenged his enemies, "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?" No one could—their silence spoke volumes about Jesus' righteous life. If he had ever sinned, Jesus' claim to deity would be exposed as false.JESUS IS OMNISCIENT (ALL-KNOWING)
Matthew 12:25—"Jesus knew their thoughts."JESUS IS OMNIPOTENT (ALL-POWERFUL)
Matthew 27:18—"For [Jesus] knew that for envy they had delivered Him."
Luke 6:8—"He knew their thoughts."
John 2:24-25—"But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man."
John 21:17—"And [Peter] said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee."
Revelation 2:23—"All the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each of you according to your works."
Ephesians 3:20—"Now unto him [Christ] that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."JESUS IS IMMUTABLE (UNCHANGING)
Philippians 3:20-21—"...the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Colossians 2:10—"Ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."
Hebrews 1:3—"[Jesus Christ is] upholding all things by the word of his power."
Revelation 1:8—"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."
Revelation 2:26-27—"He who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—'He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potter's vessels shall be broken to pieces'—as I also have received from My Father."
Hebrews 1:8-12—"But unto the Son he saith...Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail."JESUS IN HIS DIVINE NATURE IS OMNIPRESENT (EVERYWHERE)
Hebrews 13:8—"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (NKJV). This passage disproves the idea that Jesus is a created being. For if Jesus was created, He was not the same yesterday. "Yesterday" (past) is contrasted with "forever" (future), and obviously refers to eternity past.
Matthew 18:20—"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." At any given moment there are literally thousands upon thousands of Bible studies, prayer meetings and church services being conducted around the earth. Jesus Christ says that He is present at each gathering. Only God can be at thousands of different places at the same time.JESUS IS ETERNAL
Romans 8:10—"And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.... [H]e that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you." No created being, no matter how great, can dwell in the millions of Christians throughout the world; it is impossible. But it is not impossible for Jesus Christ who is God.
1 Corinthians 10:4—"And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." Whenever believers partake of the Lord's Supper, Jesus Christ is spiritually present.
Revelation 2:1—"These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks." Jesus Christ is presented in Revelation as being present in the churches and being totally aware of each church's deeds in minute detail.
Revelation 3:20—"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Jesus Christ will personally fellowship with each repentant believer. This would be impossible if He were merely human, for there are millions of Christians spread over the whole globe.
Isaiah 9:6—"For unto us a child is born,...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father...."JESUS IS THE JUDGE OF HUMANITY
John 1:1-3—"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him...." Jesus Christ existed with God prior to creation.
John 8:58—"Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM'" (NKJV). Jesus certainly did not mean He existed as the first created being, because the Jews wanted to stone Him for claiming to be God.
Revelation 1:8—"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (cf. Rev. 22:13).
The Bible teaches that on the last day of this age God will judge all men who ever lived. "Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth" (1 Chr. 16:33). "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened...and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works" (Rev. 20:12). Only God is capable of judging all men. God is all-knowing and therefore knows every act. He is all-powerful, and therefore can carry out His punishments. He is perfectly holy and therefore can judge every sin without injustice. Only God who is moral and just in character has the authority to judge the human race. Yet the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ will judge the world. Christ Himself claimed the total authority and jurisdiction over mankind on the final day that can only belong to God. In fact, the judgment seat of God Almighty and the judgment seat of Jesus Christ are one and the same seat. Jesus said, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord.... And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Mt. 7:22-23). The fate of each and every person rests upon Christ's decision; He has the power and authority to render sentence and to cast men into hell—an authority reserved exclusively to God.  Following are some biblical references which unmistakably establish that Jesus Christ is the Judge of all mankind.
Matthew 25:31-33, 41—"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.... Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
John 12:48—"He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day."
Acts 10:42—"It is He [Jesus Christ] who was ordained of God to be Judge of the living and the dead."
Acts 17:31—"He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Jesus Christ] whom he hath ordained."
Romans 2:16—"In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ...."
Romans 14:10-12—"For we shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: 'As I live, says the LORD [Jehovah], Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then each of us shall give account of himself to God" (NKJV). This passage of Scripture not only presents Christ as Judge, but clearly teaches that on the day of judgment everyone will bow to Christ; that is, everyone will acknowledge that Christ is the LORD God. By introducing his quotation of Isaiah 45:23 with the familiar prophetic formula, "As I live, saith the LORD" (cf. Num. 14:28, Isa. 49:18, Jer. 22:24, Ezek. 5:11, Zeph. 2:9, etc.), and applying it to Christ, the Apostle Paul self-consciously and deliberately calls Christ Jehovah. Note also that at the Judgment Seat of Christ, everyone will give account of himself to God. This passage is a powerful and unmistakable statement of Christ's deity.
2 Corinthians 5:10—"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad."
2 Timothy 4:1, 8—"...the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.... Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
Hebrews 10:30—"For we know Him who said, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord. And again, 'The LORD [Jehovah] will judge His people.'"
Jesus Receives Worship
Nothing is more fundamental to the Hebrew Scriptures than the fact that God alone is to be worshipped. In fact, the first of the Ten Commandments is,
“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3).
Thus, the most terrible sin a Jew could commit was to either worship another creature as God, or to receive worship. So if Jesus is not God, it would be blasphemy to receive worship.
Jesus accepted worship on nine recorded occasions (i.e. Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11; Matthew 8:2; Matthew 9:18; Matthew 14:33, Matthew 28:9, 17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:51-52; John 9:35-38). Hebrews also says that the angels of God worship Him (Hebrews 1:6) and in Revelation 5:8-14 and Revelation 15:3-4 we see Jesus being worshipped in heaven. In context of Jewish belief, Jesus’ acceptance of worship speaks volumes about his claim to divinity. But it wasn’t until after Jesus ascended to heaven that his disciples fully understood. Before Jesus left earth, he told his apostles to “baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19), putting both the Holy Spirit and himself on the same level as the Father.15
After Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples told Thomas they had seen the Lord alive (John 20:24-29). Thomas scoffed, telling them he would only believe if he could put his fingers on the nail wounds of Jesus’ hands and into his pierced side. Eight days later the disciples were all together in a locked room when Jesus suddenly appeared in front of them. Jesus looked at Thomas and told him to “Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side.”
Thomas needed no more proof. He instantly believed, exclaiming to Jesus:
“My Lord and my God!”
Thomas worshipped Jesus as God! If Jesus is not God, he certainly should have reprimanded Thomas right there. But instead of reprimanding Thomas for worshipping him as God, Jesus commended him, saying:
“You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.”
Angels also worship Jesus (Heb. 1:6) while at the same time they refuse to receive worship (Rev. 19:10).
Jesus Claimed To Have All Authority/God's Authority
The Jews always regarded God as the ultimate authority. Authority was a well understood term in Roman-occupied Israel. At that time, Caesar’s edict could instantly launch legions into war, condemn or exonerate criminals, and establish laws and rules of government. In fact, Caesar’s authority was such that he himself claimed divinity.
Prior to leaving earth, Jesus explained the scope of his authority:
“Jesus said, ‘And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.’”(Matthew 28:18).
Jesus Is The Alpha And Omega
While John the apostle was in exile on the Island of Patmos, Jesus revealed to him in a vision the events that will occur in the last days. In the vision, John describes the following incredible scene:
“Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Revelation 1:7-8).
So who is this Person who is called “the Alpha and Omega,” “the Lord,” “the Almighty”? We are told that he was “pierced.” That makes it clear that the Alpha and Omega is Jesus. He is the one who was pierced on the cross. Jesus referred to this in Matthew when He said “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30) and “From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64).
John, who was closer to Jesus than any other disciple, sees the image of the Person speaking to him. He writes:
“and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength” (Revelation 1:13-16).
It is impossible to grasp John’s emotions as he sees this Person shining like the sun in full strength, with eyes like flames of fire. He immediately fell as a dead man in front of the one he saw. If this was Jesus, why didn’t John know him? Perhaps he thought it was an angel? Let’s listen to John’s words.
“And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death’” (Rev. 1:17-18).
The One talking to John identifies himself as, "the First and the Last," a clear reference to his eternality. And since only God is eternal, this must be God. But in the same sentence he tells John that he is "He who lives, and was dead." Thus, we know this could not be God the Father because the Father never suffered death as a man.
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it... Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.’” (Revelation 20:11; 21:5-7)
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who rules from the great white throne. Jesus had already told his disciples that he would be the final judge of men. He promised that those who put their trust in him would be saved from the judgment of sin, but those who reject him will be judged.
Jesus Claimed to Be David's Lord
Once, referring to himself as the long-promised Messiah, Jesus said he was the "Lord" David had spoken of a thousand years earlier. He asked his audience,
"How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the Son of David? 36 For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:
'The Lord said to my Lord,
"Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."'
Therefore David himself calls Him 'Lord'; how is He then his Son?" (Mark 12:35-37)
His audience was stunned, wondering how Jesus could have been David's Lord and his descendant. They had no answer. Again, in Revelation 22:16, Jesus says he is both "the root and the offspring of David."
This was a startling claim. David had worshiped his Lord as the Creator of everything. Jesus was telling his stunned audience that he is David's Lord! But Jesus told them that he was also David's son, meaning that he entered our world as a human being through the lineage of David.
Only God Could Have Done ItThe most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). A created being, which Jesus would be if He were not God, could not pay the infinite penalty required for sin against an infinite God. Only God could pay such an infinite penalty. Only God could take on the sins of the world (2 Corinthians 5:21), die, and be resurrected (Acts 2:31; 1 Pet. 1:3; 3:21), proving His victory over sin and death.
Lunatic, Liar, Legend or Lord
C.S. Lewis, a former atheist and skeptic turned apologist, popularized an argument referred to as "Lewis's Trilemma." It is sometimes summarized as "Lunatic, Liar, or Lord", or as "Mad, Bad, or God". Several preachers back in the 19th century used this approach. It was used by the American preacher Mark Hopkins in his book Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity (1846), based on lectures delivered in 1844. The Scots preacher "Rabbi" John Duncan (1796–1870), said around 1859–60:
"Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine. There is no getting out of this trilemma. It is inexorable."
Other preachers who used this approach included Reuben Archer Torrey (1856–1928) and W. E. Biederwolf (1867–1939). It is also often quoted today.
Here is how C.S. Lewis presented the argument in his outstanding and extremely popular book Mere Christianity:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."
I believe when we look at all the options presented by this argument, as well as every other option which primarily falls into each of these four options, we are left with an undeniable admission that Jesus must be God. It goes against all logic that Jesus was a lunatic or that He and all of His followers lied. Keep in mind that Jesus was tortured and killed for this belief, followed by every one of the disciples, including Matthias who replaced Judas, with the exception of Judas who committed suicide and John who was tortured but not killed. Read my article "Disciples Martyred" for more on this. The disciples were in a unique position to know if Jesus was God because they spent every day with Him. Essentially they would all have to be either lunatics or liars. It is impossible that Jesus was just a legend as we have so much information, tens of thousands of manuscripts and fragments, accounts from numerous secular and Jewish historians, and the the Bible is supernaturally accurate with only minor typograpical errors in some manuscripts. As you can see, it is clear that Jesus is God and claimed as clearly as He could that He was indeed God.FOOTNOTES:
1. Mark Hopkins, Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity (1846), Lecture VIII: 'either ... those claims were well-founded, or of a hopeless insanity. ... No impostor of common sense could have had the folly to prefer such claims.'
2. William Knight, Colloquia Peripatetica, 1870, page 109: Knight explains that the conversations quoted took place during the summers of 1859 and 1860.
3. Undated sermon by R. A. Torrey, Billy Graham archives; see also Deity of Jesus Christ, by R. A. Torrey, 1918
4. W. E. Biederwolf, "Yes, He Arose", in Great Preaching on the Resurrection: Seventeen Messages, ed. Curtis Hutson, Sword of the Lord Publishers (1984), page 29.
5. Lewis, C.S., Mere Christianity, London: Collins, 1952, p54-56. (In all editions, this is Bk. II, Ch. 3, "The Shocking Alternative.")
© Todd Tyszka
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