As I perused the Internet I found an interesting comment made by a man who said, “Jesus never claimed to be God.” I realized then that I have heard this argument before. Several times actually. You see not all people accept the fact that Jesus was not only the Son of God and Son of Man, but also God in the flesh. Other religions believe Jesus was a man of history, but not a deity. Not God. Muslims believe him to be a prophet, Jews believe he was a false messiah, Jehovahs Witness believe he was “Son of God,” but not “God,” and Mormons also deny Christ as God. Are you beginning to see why it is very important to understand what you believe as far as who Jesus was? 1 Peter 3: 15 says, “15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” So this is what I will try to do on this blog. My goal is to give an answer with gentleness and respect. I plan to break up my blog posts on this subject to make them more understandable/readable. Not too much information at one time. I hope that it helps fellow believers understand who Christ, and the Bible, say he was. Keep in mind that each of the verses I use in his blog have had entire dissertations on them, but I am going to try and simplify as much as I possibly can for understanding. So, here we go…
I wondered where to start in this blog and then it came to me, in the beginning. Genesis 1:26, ” And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” It is easy to read over the word “our” here because in our Christian minds we all know that there is but one God (Isaiah 45:5, ” am the LORD, and there is no other, there is no God beside Me”), but it is a word that shouldn’t for a second be ignored. There are several explanations, but I believe a very clear picture can be found in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Now, how can the Word be “with” God and also BE God? John 1 goes on to say in vs 14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So in this verse we get another hint. The Word, the one who was with God and WAS God, became flesh and dwelt among us. In John 1:2 it says that this Word made everything and that without him nothing was made. So, this is a pretty important piece of the puzzle. This “Word” created the world! He then became flesh and dwelt among us. Wow, that’s powerful. So here we have tied in Old and New Testament and see a clear picture as to who the “our” is in Genesis 1:26. The only one that John would be speaking of who put on flesh and dwelt with men would be Jesus. So, the Word must be Jesus. This would mean that Jesus was there in the beginning. So, we can now substitute “the word” for Jesus in John 1 and we see Jesus was with God and he WAS God. It is difficult to understand but Jesus did give us a few answers, thus the reason the Jews executed Him, and we will get into that next.
The argument is that Jesus never claimed to be God. So, did he or didn’t he? The answer is overwhelmingly yes, he did, but YOU need to know the verses that point to this truth. If you are speaking to a Mormon, a Jehovahs witness, a Muslim, etc. they will try to convince you that Jesus really wasn’t making that point. The obvious question would then be, “well why did the Jews execute him for blasphemy then?” but we will get into that. When proposing a few questions to a friend I was asked, “so there is a difference between Jesus being the son of God and saying he was God?” Yes and no. Both point to being God/full deity, but when speaking to people of other religions they will tell you that son of God does NOT point to full deity/being God. Anyway, here are the facts:
Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Some obviously argue that Jesus was NOT this man. Jesus said he WAS this man. What do you believe? Let’s consider a few points:
***In Mark 14:61-64 the high priest asked Jesus, “…..Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”“I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”They all condemned him as worthy of death.”
In the above verse we see a few things. Jesus CLEARLY admitted with the words, “I am” to the claim that he was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of Man. He was then executed for blasphemy (calling himself God) as instructed by the Law of the Jews in Leviticus 24:16. The high priest actually ripped his garments at this admission by Jesus. So, it was abundantly clear to the Jews at this point that Jesus was claiming deity. The Jewish law stated that when a high priest was acting as judge the high priest was to rip his garment if he heard any blasphemy (McDowell, Evidence For Christianity, 354). The “Son of Man” statement was also a very clear message to the Jews that Jesus would have power over the world and would sit at the right hand side of God. This was according to the prophecy in Daniel 7:13-14, “13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a]coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” Interesting that Jesus was saying he would be worshipped and have dominion over nations! No wonder this made the Jews so angry! Jesus was saying these Jews, who had him on trial for blasphemy mind you, would one day bow down and worship him. That would make me angry as well if I thought this man was nothing but a blasphemer and a liar. He certainly wasn’t someone to be worshipped in their eyes. The point, however, is Jesus’ admission. Also note the “I Am” in which holds the title for my blog. Jesus calls himself “I Am” several times in the New Testament. So why is this important?
In Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, “I Am that I Am” when Moses asked what to call Him. Jesus then claims to be “I Am” in the New Testament. John 8:58 is one such example, ““Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” When the Jews heard this they picked up stones to kill him. Again Lev 24:16 was the law that they followed, they saw this claim as blasphemy, and at this point they were going to take the law into their own hands and kill him. Jesus was not only saying that he was “I Am” as God did in Exodus, but he was also telling them that he existed before Abraham! In the previous verses Jesus explained, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57The Jews therefore said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” This would only make since if John 1 were correct, that Jesus (the Word) existed from the beginning. Otherwise there would be no way someone of Jesus’ age would know Abraham. We have now come full circle so I will end here for now.
The next post will include Jesus making himself equal with God, asking for worship as God, accepting worship as God, forgiving sins as only God can do, and more clarification to the titles given to him (Son of God, Son of Man).