wk 1 | Jesus is God.
Why this matters:
It’s what sets Christianity apart from other religions.
Most religions claim positive things about Jesus. They lift Him in high regard. They say He was a great prophet and a good teacher. But where they differ drastically is in what they think of the deity of Jesus. We understand that Islam and Buddhism are different religions, but this is also the point where we are able to differentiate between what claims to be Christian and what really isn’t. In other words, cults. Like Mormons and Jehovah’s witnesses. They do not believe that Jesus is God. They may claim Christianity as their religion, but it is not. This is a dividing factor in regards to religion.
It’s the one question every person must answer.
“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:13-17)
The Bible tells us that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11) It says this a few verses after talking about the humility of Jesus, though He was in the form of God, emptied Himself and took the likeness of man. (2:6-7) The thing is, for some it will be too late. Once they are “under the earth” they will realize that they had the opportunity to answer the question for themselves, but it will be too late (see Luke 16).
Reasons we know Jesus is God:
Jesus and Creation
There are several examples in the Bible that have to do with Jesus and His relation to creation that can only apply to God.
-He is before creation. (Gen. 1:1; John 1:1; John 17:3-5; Col. 1:17)
Philosophy tells us that there has to be a “first cause” or “uncreated Creator.” There had to be an initial start to all things, the first domino that toppled the next, etc. The Bible makes it clear that Jesus existed before all things were created.
-He is Creator, not created. (Col. 1:15-17; John 1:1-3; Heb. 1:2)
Another thing the Bible tells us about Jesus and creation is not just that He existed before creation, but He is Creator. Every religion has an idea of how everything came to be. The religion of atheism believes everything came from nothing. Every theistic and most polytheistic religions believe a deity created everything. Christianity claims that Jesus is deity and is the agent of Creation, one with the Father and Spirit.
People’s Claims (2 Pet. 1:1; Titus 2:13; James 2:1; John 20:27-29)
Another indication that Jesus is God is the claims of those who followed Him or were close to Him. These were Jews whose most beloved doctrine was Deuteronomy 6, “The Lord is one.” They would not claim that Jesus is God lightly. It would be blasphemy. Which is what Jesus was charged with because of His own claims.
Some skeptics say that Jesus never said that He was God. This is just silly. First, we just saw that His followers believed Him to be God, of which He was their rabbi and teacher. They didn’t just get this idea from thin air. Secondly, He clearly states that He is, and you can tell even more so by people’s responses to His claims.
-“I Am” (John 8:58; Mark 14:61-64; Exodus 3:14)
God was known, in the Old Testament, as “I Am.” That’s what He told Moses to say to Pharaoh. So, in John 8:58, Jesus flat out says, “Before Abraham [who was the Father of the Jews] was, I am.” First off, this seems like bad grammar. Unless you are God who has always existed and will always be. We see this talk of “I Am” again. Many people claim that book of John overemphasizes Jesus’ deity and that it’s not true. These same people think Mark is the most accurate gospel from which the other gospels got much of their information.
In Mark 14:61-64, Jesus is standing trial. They ask Him if He is the Son of God, the Christ. He said, “I am.” I believe He left a dramatic pause in there. And then He said you will see Him in power, coming on the clouds of heaven. Their response to Him is the giveaway. They don’t think He’s just claiming to be the Messiah. They cry out “blasphemy!” and say He deserves death for what He just said.
-“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30)
And for those who say Jesus never said He was God. This verse is hard to explain.
Maybe you say, well, He just claimed to be God. What other proof is there? We don’t only know Jesus is God by His words, but we do by His actions.
-Jesus accepted worship. (John 9:35-38; Matt. 2:11; 8:1-2; 14:33; 28:9-10, 16-17)
God alone is worthy of worship. No person should accept worship. Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. He would not accept worship from people if He was not God, yet He did on many occasions without correcting them.
-Jesus worked miracles.
Many people worked miracles. God used the prophets and apostles to do incredible acts to show God’s power. What we can see from Jesus’ miracles, especially of the wind and the waves, is again the response of the people around Him.
–Jesus calmed the storm. (Matt. 8:23-27)
See their response. “What sort of man is this, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” Exactly.
–Jesus forgave sins. (Mark 2:5-12)
Again, see their response to Jesus here. “Only God alone can forgive sins.” Yep.
So, the Bible makes it very clear who Jesus is. He is God.
Now that we see what the Bible has to say about Jesus, what is your answer? Who do you say that He is? Do you trust that He is God in the flesh? Do you trust Him alone to forgive you of your sins? Do you trust that God loves you so much that He personally came to die for you to take the punishment that you deserve? What is your response to Him? Is it the same as those who worshipped Him when they realized who He was? Or is it the same as those who yelled blasphemy when they realized who He claimed to be? You must make a decision, and you must answer this question. Who is Jesus? Who do you say that He is?