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Is Jesus God?
by Robert Kiser
2/01/2010 / Christian Apologetics
Is Jesus God? That is a good question. Let's start by looking at what Jesus claimed about himself.
So who did Jesus claim to be? His enemies understood him claim to be God. John 10:30-33 "I and the Father are one." The Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."
Here is Jesus' response in verse 36-39 do you say of Him, whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? "If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father." Therefore they were seeking again to seize Him, and He eluded their grasp.
So Jesus declared that he and the Father are one. The Jews understood this as a claim to be God. Jesus then calls himself the Son of God and then reaffirms his statement of "I and the father are one" So the question is did the Jews correctly understand what he meant. He called himself the Son of God, but did he also claim to be God? I believe the answer is yes he did claim to be God. This comes out clear in John 20:28-29
"Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
Thomas here called Jesus his Lord and God. Jesus being the teacher that he was should have rebuked or at least corrected Thomas. Certainly Jesus would not let this error or using the Lords name in vain, (as some have interpreted it) go by without some correction. Jesus' answer to Thomas shows that Thomas was correct to call him his God and Lord.
Jesus not only claimed to be the Son of God and God one with the Father, but he also claimed to be the expected messiah foretold in the Old Testament.
John 4:25-26 ." The woman said to Him, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He."
Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of man. Matt 17:22-23 And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men; and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day. "And they were deeply grieved.
It is interesting that Jesus would call himself this since he was not a son of man in the way we often think. He was born of the Virgin Mary and by the Holy Spirit. Joseph was not his father. He was the Son of Man in two ways.
(1) As the Messiah being born through the family of David as well as, Jesse, Judah, Jacob, Isaac and Abraham as shown on page 3&4. This genealogy traces him through man. Both Mary and Joseph's bloodline can be traced through these people.(Mt.1:1-16, Lk.3:23-38). This title "Messiah" is also applied to Jesus because the Messiah that was to come in Old Testament prophecy was called the Son of Man Dan.7:13-14
(2) Jesus is also seen as the Son of Man referring to his humanity, when God became a man. Phil 2:5-8 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
John 1:1 & 14 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. & in verse 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
So how important is it to accept Jesus' claims of who he is? According to Jesus it is very important, John 8:24-25, "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He you shall die in your sins. "And so they were saying to Him, "Who are You?" Jesus said to them, "What have I been saying to you from the beginning?"
As we have already seen Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, God one with the Father and the Son of God. So he told them unless they accepted that this is who he was they would die in their sins. So what does it mean to die in your sins? It means to die and be separated from God. The Bible declares that those who are separated from God spend eternity in a place called Hell. Fortunately Eternal Life is a free gift. All you have to do to gain eternal life is accept Jesus and make him Lord of your Life.
(Mt.25:31-41, Jn.3:16-18, Rom.3:23, 1 Jn.1:10, James 2:10, Mt.5:22, Eph.2:8-9, Lk.6:44-49)
Who does the Bible declare Jesus to be?
The church usually answers this question by referring to the Trinity. The Trinity is a title of a doctrine that the Bible teaches.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary defines the Trinity as follows:
"The coexistence of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the unity of the Godhead (divine nature or essence). The doctrine of the trinity means that within the being and activity of the one God there are three distinct persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."
Throughout the Bible we find that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all called God and all 3 posses the attributes of God. We also find that there is only one God. There are not 3 Gods in one. All 3 are also seen separate even though they are one God. Jesus is God the Son the 2nd person in the Trinity. One could write a lot on this subject but for here I only want to focus on Jesus.
The Bible calls Jesus God.
Isa 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Acts 20:28 "Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
According to this verse the church was purchased with whose blood?
Col 2:8-9 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,
I Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.
2 Pet 1:1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ:
Rev 1:7-8 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
Compare this with Rev 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life,
Heb 1:8 But of the Son He says "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.
Titus 2:13 Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;
Does Jesus posses the attributes of God?
We would expect God to be seen as Creator, Judge, Savior being able to forgive sins, omniscient- all knowing, omnipotent - all powerful, omnipresent - the ability to be every where at once, eternal having always existed, and worshipped. As I will show all of these things can be found in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Creator:
Col 1:13-16 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. (See also Jn.1:3, Heb.1:8-10, 1 Cor.8:6, Is.44:24)
Jesus is Judge:
(see also 2 Tim. 4:1, Rom.14:10)
John 5:22 "For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,"
Jesus is Savior he can forgive sins: Mark 2:5
And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."
We can forgive someone for sinning against us, but we cannot forgive someone for sinning against God as Jesus did here.
(See also Mk.2:10, Col.2:13)
Acts 5:30-31 "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Jesus is Omniscient (all knowing or all wise):
1 Cor 1:24 to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
Jesus is shown in the New Testament to have knowledge far beyond our human understanding. We do not know the heart of every man but in Jn. 2:24-25 it says Jesus knew all men and what was in man. In Jn.6:64 we are told Jesus knew from the beginning whom they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him. Then in Jn.13:1 we find Jesus knew his hour had come to die and go to the Father. In Jn.16:30 the disciples said "Now we know that You know all things" Again in Jn.18:4 it says Jesus knew all the things that were about to happen to him. While Jesus was on the cross we are told he knew the Old Testament prophecies concerning him and our redemption had been fulfilled. Nobody else knew that at that time, yet, he did Jn.19:28. Peter declared that Jesus knew his heart and all things Jn.21:17. What man has ever had this kind of knowledge? This knowledge is far beyond even any of the prophets in the Bible. They may have foretold future events but none of them knew the heart and thoughts of every man. These are only a few examples that could be shown that Jesus knew such things.
Jesus is Omnipotent
(All powerful, unlimited authority):
Matt 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
In the following references we find that Jesus will return with power. Power flowed through him to heal people who merely touched him. Jesus had power over demons. He was able to give power to his disciples to heal others. Peter declared there was power in Jesus name. Jesus is the power of God. It was through Jesus that Paul received power. Jesus has the power to subject everything unto himself. It is by his power that we will be raised from the dead. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Jesus has the keys i.e.. the power over death and Hades. The time will come when Jesus will abolish all other rule, authority and power. (See also Mk 13:26,5:30, Lk. 4:36, 6:19, 9:1, Acts 4:7-10, Rom.1:4, 1 Cor 1:24, 15:23-25, 2 Cor 12:9, Phil 3:20-21,Heb 1:3, 2 Pet 1:16, Rev 1:17-18)
Jesus is Omnipresent
(Present at all places at all times)
Matt 18:20, 28:20 Jesus said "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst." He also told his disciples "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Paul declared that Jesus dwells in the hearts of believers. Paul further stated if this is not true of an individual they do not belong to him. Rom.8:9. (See also 2 Cor.13:5, Gal.2:20, Eph.3:17, Col.1:27, Rev.3:20)
Jesus is eternal
(He has always existed)
Micah 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (See also Jn.1:1-2, 17:5, 8:58, Rev.1:17,2:8, 22:13)
Jesus is worshipped: (See also Mt.2:2 & 8)
( lamb on throne, Rev.4:10, 7:17, Jn.1:29-36)
Heb 1:6 And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, "And let all the angels of God worship Him."
Matt 14:33 And those who were in the boat worshipped Him, saying, "You are certainly God's Son!"
(Worship belongs to God alone. Mt.4:10)
What did the Christians think in the 1st century after Jesus? Did they believe the same as what Christians teach today about Jesus?
The Christian's in the first century would have a better understanding of what the writers of the New Testament actually meant. I say this because some of what are known as the Ante-Nicene Fathers personally knew the writers of the New Testament. For example Ignatius was a personal disciple of one or more of the original apostles. (This can be found in the book "A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs") Therefore it stands to reason that, if we are interpreting the New Testament correctly our beliefs about who Jesus was should not have changed from what was believed about Jesus in the 1st century.
The following quotes can be found in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to AD 325, Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D., and James Donaldson, LL.D., editors, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company) 1989. These have been copied from the CD ROM available through Logos.
Ignatius was the head of the church of Antioch. (Died A.D.110)
He studied under the original Apostles.
The epistle of Ignatius to the Romans chapter 3."
For our God, Jesus Christ, now that He is with the Father, is all the more revealed in His glory. Christianity is not a thing of silence only, but also of manifest greatness.
Justin Martyr is recognized to be one of the most important Christian writers A.D.110-166.
The first Apology of Justin chapter 63.
"the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God. And of old He appeared in the shape of fire and in the likeness of an angel to Moses and to the other prophets; but now in the times of your reign, having, as we before said, become Man by a virgin, according to the counsel of the Father, for the salvation of those who believe on Him, He endured both to be set at nought and to suffer, that by dying and rising again He might conquer death. And that which was said out of the bush to Moses, "I am that I am, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and the God of your fathers,"
(See Exodus 3:1-6, Mk.12:18-31)
There are many other quotes that could be brought up and things that could be said, but this should be adequate for our purpose.
For a more in depth study looking at the question "Who is Jesus Christ?" as well as a defense of other Christian beliefs go to ReasonableAnswers.org
Robert Kiser is the author of a few free pdf books and the ReasonableAnswers.org website.
His website explains and defends the Christian Faith. It also includes a section on Cults including Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses.
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