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Did Jesus claim to be God? : Part 2

27 Apr 2011 at 09:45hrs | Views
Son of God

First read Part 1 of the story.

Jesus also claimed to be the, "Son of God." This title does not mean Jesus is God's biological Son. Neither does the term "Son" imply inferiority anymore than a human son is inferior in essence to his father. A son shares his father's DNA, and although he is different, they are both men. Scholars say that the term "Son of God" in the original languages refers to likeness, or "of the same order." Jesus meant by it that he has divine essence, or in 21st century terms, the "DNA of God". Professor Peter Kreeft explains.

    "What did Jesus mean when he called himself the 'Son of God'? The son of a man is a man. (Both 'son' and 'man,' in the traditional language, mean males and females equally.) The son of an ape is an ape. The son of a dog is a dog. The son of a shark is a shark. And so the Son of God is God. 'Son of God' is a divine title."11

In John 17, Jesus speaks about the glory he and his Father shared before the world began. But by calling himself the "Son of God" is Jesus claiming equality with God? Packer answers:

    When, therefore, the Bible proclaims Jesus as the Son of God, the statement is meant as an assertion of his distinct personal deity."12

Thus, the names Jesus used for himself point to the fact that he was claiming equality with God. But did Jesus speak and act with the authority of God?

Forgiving Sin

In the Jewish religion, forgiveness of sin was reserved for God alone. Forgiveness is always personal; someone else cannot do the forgiving for the person offended, especially if the Person offended is God. But on several occasions Jesus acted as if he was God by forgiving sinners. The simmering religious leaders finally erupted at Jesus when he forgave the sins of a man with palsy right in front of them.

    "The scribes who heard him said blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins" (Mark 2:7)!

Lewis imagines the stunned reactions of all those who heard Jesus:

    'Then comes the real shock,' wrote Lewis: 'Among these Jews there sud√Ǭ≠denly 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√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.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.'13

Claiming Oneness with God

Those who listened to Jesus, observed his moral perfection, and saw him perform miracles, wondered if he was the long-promised Messiah. Finally his opponents surrounded him at the Temple, asking:

    "How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "The proof is what I do in the name of my Father." He compared his followers with sheep saying, "I give them eternal life, and they will never perish." He then revealed to them that "the Father is greater than all," and that his deeds were "at the Father's direction." Jesus' humility must have been disarming. But then Jesus dropped a bombshell, telling them, (John 10:25-30)

     "The Father and I are one."

If Jesus had meant that he was merely in agreement with God, there would have been no strong reaction. But, the Jews again picked up stones to kill him. Jesus then asked them, "At my Father's direction I have done many things to help the people. For which one of these good deeds are you killing me?"

    They replied, "Not for any good work; but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, have made yourself God" (John 10:33).

As Jesus was preparing his disciples for his upcoming death on the cross and departure, Thomas wanted to know where he was going and the way there. Jesus answered 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)

They were confused. Philip then speaks up, asking Jesus to "show us the Father." Jesus' answers Philip with these shocking words:

    "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 effect Jesus was saying, "Philip if you want to see the Father, look at me!"
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 did not share God's very glory and essence.

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, 'I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth'"
    (Matthew 28:18, NLT).

In these remarkable words, Jesus is claiming to be the supreme author­ity, not just on earth, but in heaven also. John Piper observes,

    "This is why Jesus' friends and enemies were staggered again and again by what he said and did. He would be walking down the road, seemingly like any other man, then turn and say something like, 'Before Abraham was, I am.' Or, 'If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.' Or, very calmly, after being accused of blasphemy, he would say, 'The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.' To the dead he might simply say, 'Come forth,' or, 'Rise up.' And they would obey. To the storms on the sea he would say, 'Be still.' And to a loaf of bread he would say, 'Become a thousand meals.' And it was done immediately."14

Some might argue that since the authority came from his Father, it has nothing to do with Jesus being God. But God never gives His authority to a created being in order that they are to be worshipped. To do so would be to violate His Command.

Accepting 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,

     "Do not worship any other gods besides me" (Exodus 20:3 NLT).

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.

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."

Jesus accepted worship on nine recorded occasions. 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

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:

    "Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him---even those who pierced him....'I am the Alpha and the Omega---the beginning and the end,' says the Lord God. 'I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One.'"

So who is this Person who is called "the Alpha and Omega," "the Lord God," "the Almighty One"? 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.

John, who was closer to Jesus than any other disciple, sees the image of the Person speaking to him. He writes:

    "And standing in the middle of the lampstands was the Son of Man√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were bright like flames of fire√¢‚Ǩ¬¶.And his face was as bright as the sun in all its brilliance (Rev. 1:13, 14, 16b).

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.

    "But he laid his right hand on me and said, 'Don't be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever'" (Rev. 1:17)!

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 "the living one who died." Thus, we know this could not be God the Father because the Father never suffered death as a man.

    "And I saw a great white throne, and I saw the one who was sitting on it. . . . And the one sitting on the throne said . . . 'I am the Alpha and the Omega---the Beginning and the End.'" (Revelation 20:11; 21:6)

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.


So did Jesus claim to be God, or was he simply misunderstood. Let's take another look at Jesus' claims and ask: would Jesus have made such radical claims if he was not God?

  •     Jesus used God's Name for himself
  •     Jesus called himself "Son of Man"
  •     Jesus called himself "Son of God"
  •     Jesus  claimed to forgive sin
  •     Jesus claimed oneness with God
  •     Jesus claimed all authority
  •     Jesus accepted worship
  •     Jesus called himself the "The Alpha and Omega"

Some might say, "how can we believe Jesus' claims? What proof did he leave?"
Three days after his crucifixion, his disciples claimed they saw him alive. If their story was a hoax, it would have died out as the Romans submitted them to the most horrendous torture known to man. But their conviction and sincerity overpowered Rome and changed our world (See "Did Jesus rise from the dead?"). Lewis explains the reason for their conviction:

             "What is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, descended into His own universe, and rose again."16

This brilliant scholar had originally thought of Jesus as a myth, much like the man-made gods of Ancient Greece and Rome. But as he began to look at the evidence for Jesus Christ, he realized that the New Testament accounts of Jesus Christ are based upon solid, historical facts. This former skeptic concludes his investigation of the evidence for Jesus Christ with these thoughts:

     "You must make your choice: Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.... But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."17

Lewis discovered that a personal relationship with Jesus gave his life meaning, purpose, and joy that surpassed all his dreams. He never regretted his choice and became a leading spokesman for Jesus Christ. What about you? Have you made your choice?


Source - y-jesus
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