The Divinity of Jesus
The religion of the Christian is founded upon the Deity of Jesus Christ. If it could be proved that the Lord was not a divine person, then the Christian's religion and all that it stands for would be a fraud -- easily overthrown and destroyed.
To many people, Jesus was only a man -- though a good one. Others refer to Him as having been "one of God's prophets" and/or a good teacher. But all of this falls short of seeing the Lord for whom He really is. For Christ was more than a man: He was also God while he walked the face of our planet. Paul writes, "For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
Believing in Christ's Deity is essential toward obtaining eternal life -- for our life as a Christian is built upon the sure foundation of Jesus. He is the foundation of the church (1 Cor. 3:10,11). Without Him, the Christian would not be able to have a relationship with God. As Jesus states in John 15:5, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing." This means that when it comes to living a godly life, it could not be done without being in Jesus. So the next time you hear the question, "Can the non-Christian pray to God?," think of this verse: "apart from Me you can do nothing." It is faith, repentance, confession of faith, and water baptism that puts one into Christ (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:36-39; Gal. 3:26,27). The need to believe in Christ's divinity is also implied in John 8:24: "...for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins."
Let us consider in this article some of the ways in which the Bible sets forth the Deity of Christ:
Approximately 700 years prior to the incarnation of Jesus, God gave Isaiah the following prophecy: "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel." This was to be no ordinary birth; but, rather, it would be a great sign! The term "sign" in the Bible is often referring to some type of miracle or an "attesting miracle," used to confirm the word of the Lord. Though there are other births in the Bible that were made possible by God, since the women had previously been without the ability to conceive, Christ's conception was -- and is -- the only one without the aid of a human male begetter. Rather, it was a conception made possible by the power of the Holy Spirit, as God's word reveals in Luke 1:30-35.
Notice, too, the name: "Immanuel." Matthew gives us a meaning of this name, when referring back to Isaiah's prophecy: "'...they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, `God with us."' "Immanuel," therefore, is a descriptive term. Similarly, we read in Isaiah 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." Obviously, these are all descriptive phrases that express some of the great characteristics of Jesus. However, the name in which the angel told Mary to give her Son was "Jesus" (Luke 1:31) -- a name which is the Greek equivalent (a transliteration) of the Hebrew name "Joshua," and both signifying "...'Jehovah is salvation,' i.e., 'is the Savior'...." (Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words, p. 614).
Never did any live as obediently as the Lord. His life was above reproach: "who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth" (1 Pet. 2:22). Was this perfect obedience because He was never tempted? No, of course not. Consider Hebrews 4:15, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin." Because of the Lord's exemplary life, He was able to say (in John 8:46), "Which of you convicts Me of sin?...." And it was of Jesus that Pilate states, "...I find no guilt in Him" (Jn. 18:38). Judas, too, was well aware of Christ's purity, and states, after having betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, "...I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood" (Matt. 27:4).
Christ's life was backed up by the miracles He performed -- and this, of course, was the main reason for them: to give credibility to His message. What a profound impact these signs made on others! Nicodemus states, "`Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him"' (Jn. 3:2).
The Lord gave eyesight to the blind; made the lame to walk; enabled the deaf to hear; raised the dead; from the few loaves of bread and few fish, He fed the great multitudes; and He also walked on the water, to name some of the miracles He did. Of course, as John tells us, "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (Jn. 20:30,31). Through these miracles, His message was truly confirmed.
During Jesus' life on earth, we have the record of many who testified toward His Deity. In John 1:29, for example, John the baptist declares of the Christ, "...'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"' Also, at the Mount of Transfiguration, where the Lord was transformed before Peter, James, and John, with His face shining like the sun and His garments being as white as light, God the Father bore witness to His Son's Deity, by saying, "This is My Beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him" (Matt. 17:1-9)! Here was Jesus with the great lawgiver Moses, as well as with one of the great prophets of Israel, Elijah -- men whom the Jews had greatly esteemed for years. But now the Father is telling them to focus on His Son, Jesus, to "listen to Him!" Prior to this event, God the Father had also made His voice audible at the Lord's baptism in Matthew 3:17, in which He made a similar statement; but, at that time, did not include this additional phrase, "listen to Him!"
Though some people did have misunderstandings as to whom Jesus was, it appears they at least realized that Christ was a worker for God and one whom they likened to John the baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. But that of course, is not enough. When Jesus asked Simon Peter the question, "...who do you say that I am?" Peter responded, "`Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God"' (Matt. 16:13-16).
Thomas was one who needed empirical proof, tangible evidence: "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of nails, and put my finger in the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And this was said even after Thomas had been told by the rest of the disciples that they had seen the resurrected Lord. Then, after Thomas received this proof, he made a declaration that should be conditionally true of every person in the world today. Thomas declared, "My Lord and my God!"
All of the apostles' lives were dramatically changed by seeing the resurrected Jesus. They changed from those timid men in hiding, after the Lord's crucifixion, to those men who were willing to suffer and die for the cause of Christ, after they had seen Jesus alive from the dead. Incarcerations, scourgings, and numerous other adversities they were willing to endure for the cause of Christ -- and did. All that in itself testifies toward the reality of Christ's resurrection.
Even Christ's enemies were able to recognize His divine nature: At the crucifixion of Jesus, "...the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became frightened and said, `Truly this was the Son of God"' (Matt. 27:54)!
So from this previous verse, we can also note that even the elements were bearing witness to Christ. The earthquake had led some to re-think their wrong conclusion of Jesus and come to a place of belief instead. Not only was there the earthquake, but also "...the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook and the rocks were split" (Matt. 27:51). The significance in this is that the veil separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, and it was in the Most Holy Place that God's presence was said to have been, over the mercy seat. To that place, only the high priest could enter -- and just on one day out of the entire year, the Day of Atonement. But through Christ, we can all now have access to the throne of God's grace and come boldly to Him in our time of need (or any time) -- and this is exactly what God wants us to do (Heb. 4:16; 10:19-22).
Along with the earthquake, there was even a stranger event when, as Matthew records, "...from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour." How horrifyingly strange this darkness must have seemed. Imagine it. What if you were one who just moments before were mocking the Christ as He hung in excruciating torment upon the cross. You were there to watch and cast your insults upon Him. But then this overwhelming darkness, which probably seemed also tangible, was telling you that something was definitely wrong -- for there was no earthly explanation, based on scientific laws, for this uncanny darkness, which was not a mere eclipse that lasts for just a few minutes; but a mysterious darkness that enshrouded the whole land for three hours.
Christ had died. But three days later, He arose from the grave; and that resurrection became another witness. As Paul writes in Romans 1:3,4, "concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord."
It appears that Jesus did not want others preaching about His Deity, prior to His resurrection (Matt. 16:20); but then, after He arose from the dead, that resurrection in itself became another one of the "witnesses" for Christ -- and with undeniable evidence. According to Acts 17:30,31, "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
Jesus is God. He is the "Word" of God who was "In the beginning...with God, and...was God"; and the One from whom "All things came into being...." (Jn. 1:1-3).
He is eternal: "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" (Micah 5:2).
Here's an interesting thought: Does God grow older every year as we do? Some people might wonder about this. Let us suppose that before we add even one day to the "age" of God that we must first go back to God's "beginning"; but, as you know, God has no beginning because He has ALWAYS BEEN. Therefore, not even one second could be added to Him. And also, since God is eternal, how could any more "time" be added to that? I have long thought the statement that Jesus makes about Himself in John 8:58 to be unusually profound: "...before Abraham was, I am." Even though Abraham was on this earth about 2,000 years prior to the Lord's incarnation, Jesus doesn't say "before Abraham was, I was," but, rather, "before Abraham was, I am"!
According to Hebrews 1:1-3, Jesus is "...the radiance of His [God the Father's] glory and the exact representation of His [God the Father's] nature." To know what Jesus is like is to know what God the Father is like. "For in Him [Jesus] all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9).
In becoming a man, Jesus gave up many pleasures, comforts, and blessings He had in heaven; but He didn't give up His Deity! While He walked this planet, He was God incarnate, God in human flesh, being 100% God and 100% man simultaneously! He became flesh in order to make the atonement for our sins (Heb. 2:9, 14,15; Rev. 5:9-14).
Jesus is God! He is the only way back to the Father (Jn. 14:5). Won't you come to Him now?!!!
By Tom Edwards
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