Scriptures

The Deity Of The Christ

Introduction

Some questions are so vital that we dare not ignore them. The answers which we give to them will determine the whole course of our lives. No question is more important to us than that which Jesus asked the Pharisees.

‘What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?’ Matthew 22:42

If we grant that he is the Son of God, then we must also accept the testimony relating to his virgin birth, his miracles, and his bodily resurrection. We will obey his commands, live the life that he dictates, and expect the eternal home that he has promised.

On the other hand, if we deny his deity we must consider him the grossest imposter of all time. We must likewise renounce his way of life and his promises of life after death.

Proof that Jesus lived

That a man named Jesus did live about the time ascribed to him in the Bible is too well established to be seriously disputed even by an atheist. We do not need the Bible for this evidence. The Jewish historian Josephus says of Christ,

‘Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold, and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.’ (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3).

It is only fair to state that the authenticity of this remarkable testimony by one who was not a Christian and who was a contemporary of the apostles has been questioned by some since the historian makes so many surprising admissions regarding Jesus.

However, whether or not we have the exact form of the statement of Josephus, it does seem likely that Josephus testified that Jesus lived.

The Roman historian Tacitus, who was born only twenty-five years after the crucifixion, tells us that there was a person named Jesus who was executed by Pilate as a malefactor, and that the people known as Christians derived their name from him. Other non-Christians who confirmed the existence of Christ were Pliny, a contemporary of Tacitus and governor of Pontus and Bithynia, and the Roman historian Suetonius who was born about 70 A.D.

The claims made about Jesus

Our problem is to determine who this man Jesus was. Let us consider the claims which he made personally and those which were made by his friends concerning him. Jesus affirmed that he was both the Messiah promised to the Jews by the Old Testament prophets and the Son of God. In John 4:25-26 we have an account of part of a conversation which he had with a woman at Jacob’s well in Samaria.

‘The woman said, ‘I know that Messiah’ (called Christ) ‘is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I, the one speaking to you—I am he.’

When Jesus stood on trial at the court of the Jews the high priest said,

‘The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’ ‘You have said so,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Matthew 26:63-64

Furthermore, when Peter acknowledged the deity of Christ by saying,

‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Matthew 16:16

Jesus placed his stamp of approval on his testimony by saying,

‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.’ Matthew 16:17

The writers of the four biographies of Jesus clearly considered him to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Of his gospel John says,

‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ John 20:30-31

The disciples of Jesus, the men who best knew him, taught that he was the Son of God. Peter declares,

‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Peter 1:3

John asserts,

‘Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.’ 1 John 1:3

Again, he says,

‘Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.’ 2 John 3

The basis of these claims, upon what do the claims for the deity of Jesus rest?

‘You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. ‘I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.’ John 5:33-39

In John 5 Jesus himself bases them upon four things. They are,

1. the testimony of John the Baptist;

2. the testimony of the works Jesus performed;

3. the testimony of the heavenly Father;

4. the testimony of the scriptures.

The testimony of John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Saviour, is to the point. He says,

‘I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.’ John 1:34

To those who knew John and had heard him preach, this testimony was of great importance.

The works that Jesus performed were his next source of evidence. To the modern-day man this is one of the strongest proofs of the deity of Jesus. On one occasion the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus to ask him who he was. Jesus in that hour performed many miracles and then said to them,

‘Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.’ Luke 7:22

Certainly, no ordinary human being could do these things. If Jesus performed these miracles including the raising of the dead, it is evidence that his claim to deity is true. Four biographers of Jesus have unequivocally declared that Jesus did perform these miracles. Is their testimony credible?

Space forbids more than a bare mention of the reasons for accepting their affirmations.

First, being contemporaries of Jesus and in some cases his apostles they had the means of knowing.

Next, their credibility is established by the large number of witnesses. Not only the writers of the four gospels, but also the other four New Testament authors bear either direct or indirect testimony to the claims made for Jesus. The number of witnesses is so great as to preclude collusion.

Third, the honesty of these witnesses is established by the great candour of their writings and the extreme sufferings which they endured for what they believed. No man will give up his life as did these early Christians just to perpetuate a fraud. For these reasons, the testimony of the New Testament writers must be accepted.

Furthermore, the Jewish Talmud’s, a compilation of traditions begun in the second century, admit that Jesus did perform many and great miracles. They claim that he derived his power from having learned the right pronunciation of the name of God, or from magic arts learned in Egypt.

The important thing is that the Talmud’s, written by bitter enemies of Jesus, do not deny his miracles. Had there been grounds for denial the Talmud’s would certainly have discovered them.

Jesus’ third claim to deity was the testimony of the Father. We have three accounts in the gospels of heavenly acknowledgement of Christ. The first was at his baptism when God declared,

‘You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ Mark 1:11

Then on the Mount of Transfiguration the Father spoke,

‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’ Matthew 17:5

The third instance is found in John 12:28,

‘Father, glorify your name! Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’

Lastly, Jesus called the scriptures to testify on his behalf. This involves his fulfilment of the Old Testament prophecies relating to the coming of the Messiah. We know that the dozens of prophecies which Jesus fulfilled constitute one of the strongest proofs of his deity.

Another great proof of the deity of Jesus is his resurrection from the grave. No fact of ancient history is better confirmed than this. It is mentioned over one hundred times in the New Testament alone.

Were there only one or two alleged appearances of Jesus after his resurrection we might suppose that the witnesses were deceived. But eleven appearances are recorded in the New Testament. Usually Jesus appears to a number of people. This is too much testimony to explain away.

The significance of Jesus’ ‘I AM’ claims

‘Then Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your Fathers has sent me to you’ and they ask me, ‘what is his name?’ ‘What shall I say to them?’ And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’. And he said, ‘Say to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ Exodus 3:13-14

‘I AM EHYEH’ first singular present of TO BE. HAYAH denotes that God is personal, eternal, self-existent i.e. absolute being.

1. Eternal.

Psalm 135:13 ‘Thy name, of YHWH, endures for ever, the renown, o YHWH, throughout all ages’.

2. Self-existent.

Psalm 88:6-7 ‘For who in the skies can be compared to YHWH? who among the heavenly beings is like YHWH, God feared in the council of the holy ones, great and terrible above all that are round about him?’

Then God, having revealed to Moses some essential aspects of His (God’s) personality informs Moses of the name by which He (God) wants to be known. God also said to Moses,

‘Say this to the people of Israel, ‘YHWH the God of your fathers, has sent me to you, this is my name for ever and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.’ Exodus 3:75 / Psalm 135:13

Yahweh plural form Genesis 1:26,

‘Then God said, ‘Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness’.

The plural in the name YHWH, us and our, can in my opinion be regarded as an indication of the plurality of God’s nature and character, of which the Son and the Holy Spirit are part; three distinct persons who can act individually though never in disharmony and who are united in the godhead as one God. That the Spirit i.e. the force of God was there at creation is clear,

‘and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters’. Genesis 1:2

That through Jesus all came into being is stated in John 1:1-3.

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God with God. All things were made through Hem and without Him was not anything made that was made’. John 1:1-3

And,

‘No one has ever seen God, He who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known’. John 1:18

It was through Jesus, i.e. God Himself Incarnate that redemption would be wrought.

The name YHWH meaning ‘the Becoming One’ is the ‘redemptive’ name of God and refers to the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ who is in the bosom of the ‘Father’ God; Jesus who is part of the Godhead.

When Jesus made Himself equal with God He was merely speaking the truth and had indeed every right to utter the words, ‘I AM’ in such a special way. The Jews understood perfectly well what was alluded to by the term I AM used by Jesus.

‘This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.’ John 5:18 / Leviticus 24:16

Now remember the Bible doesn’t use names for God in the same way as we use names today. God doesn’t have a name as such, but He uses certain words to describe His character or nature. For example, the word El-Shaddai describes His nature as the all sufficient one, the all-powerful One.

The word Adonia describes His character as Lord, Master, the One with all authority.

The word Yahweh describes His nature as the everlasting, self-existing One.

And so, when God speaks to Moses, He is not giving Moses a name as we understand it. But He’s telling Moses to tell His people that Yahweh, ‘I AM THAT I AM’, the self-existing One has sent you. God is basically saying to Moses I don’t need a name, but I will give you one to tell my people.

Now remember the Israelites have been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years and so God goes on to say in Exodus 3:15 just in case my people have forgotten who ‘I AM’, tell them

‘The LORD, (The One with all authority), the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.’

Now let’s fast forward a couple of thousand years. We know that the Gospel according to Matthew focuses a lot on prophecy where Matthew points out time and time again that Jesus is the promised Messiah.

The Gospel according to Mark focuses a lot on Jesus’ miracles and Mark uses the word ‘immediately’ regularly.

The Gospel according to Luke focuses a lot on Jesus’ humanity and shows Jesus as being the Son of man.

And finally, the Gospel according to John focuses a lot on Jesus being the Son of God which shows the Deity of Christ.

But have you ever wondered why all the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are found in John’s Gospel?

John writes in John 20:30-31

‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name’.

Now John never uses the word miracle in his gospel, but he does use the word sign regularly. And there are 16 signs recorded in John’s gospel, 8 are things which Jesus did and 8 were things which Jesus said.

John is basically saying that the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus are signs, selected from many other signs. And he says these signs are selected with a purpose in mind and that purpose is that you believe that Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be.

And so just as `I AM’ is God’s own identification of Himself in Exodus 3:14 to Moses. Remembering that strictly speaking, it is not a name, but a declaration of His Nature.

When we come to the ‘I AM’ claims of Jesus, we need to remember that Jesus was not giving Himself a Name or a title, but was asserting His Deity. In other words, every ‘I AM’ reveals some aspect of His nature and purpose.

‘Before Abraham was, I AM.’ John 8:58

When we read through John 8:31-51 we find Jesus uttering some very condemning words against the Jewish religious leaders. We can clearly see their carnal attitude, their determination to hold their position of power and authority at all costs by using all means at their disposal.

Their reaction is one of slanderous insinuation, sneering, sarcasm, arrogance, abuse, open violence, all of this based upon utter ignorance and blindness towards the truth because of prejudice.

Even if the claims that Jesus made for himself would not have been true, the attitude displayed by the Jewish religious leaders in dealing with the matter does most definitely not demonstrate the presence of a loving, spiritual and pastoral heart.

Moreover, by that time they had seen more than enough about Jesus as to come to the conclusion that the claims Jesus made for himself were quite justified. In view of all this it becomes totally incomprehensible to me how the Jewish religious leaders could have reacted to Jesus and his claims the way they did.

What a great lesson, what a great warning is here presented to us that we should never allow preconceived ideas and conceit to prevent us from seeing the truth, especially when it is so obvious a truth as Christ’s deity.

In John 8:31-59 we also read that, once more, Jesus is getting the better of the Jewish religious leaders. More and more by what Jesus says and does he is becoming a threat to their dictatorship this reaches its culmination in the words recorded in verse 58, their reaction is to kill him on the basis of what we can read in Leviticus 24:16.

Any excuse to kill him was good enough, especially if the ‘reason’ they could come up with to do so would form a cryptically ground to put Jesus to death. Let us therefore have a closer look at the words of Jesus as recorded in John 8:58.

‘Before Abraham was, I AM’. John 8:58

Abraham had lived and died. Abraham was, i.e. in the past, had been.

‘These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, a hundred and seventy-five years. Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.’ Genesis 25:7

‘I AM’ would imply that Jesus said he was far more exalted than Abraham since the ‘I AM’ in contrast with ‘Abraham was’ and speaking and in the past tense Jesus, by saying ‘I AM’ instead of ‘I WAS’ which would be the normal structure of sentence in that particular case, was alluding not merely to his antiquity in relation to Abraham, but also, to his (Jesus’) timeless existence even the more because he said,

‘before Abraham was I AM’.

Note that Jesus even goes to the length of using the double Aramaic amen, amen. In saying,

‘Verily, Verily’ or ‘truly, truly,’

that denotes the paramount importance of the statement that is to follow Jesus is emphasizing even the more the staggering statement.

Now some people may not recognize or understand Jesus’ claims, but the Jewish leaders certainly did. In John 8 when the Jewish leaders were accusing Jesus of being demon possessed and asked Jesus if He was greater than Abraham.

They go on and say to Jesus in John 8:57-59

‘You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘Very truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him’.

The Jewish leaders had no doubt that Jesus was claiming Deity, that’s why they were going to stone Him. Straight after Jesus has just helped the woman who was supposedly caught in adultery and the leaders wanted to stone her.

The Christ song

‘Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—-even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ Philippians 2:5-11

The Bible says Jesus did 2 things

‘He emptied himself and he humbled himself.’

1. He emptied himself, so that he could serve.

‘He made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.’

Now, just who was Jesus? Was he a God or was he a man, just who was He? Well yes, he was both. He was the God man. When the Bible says, ‘that he emptied himself’, it doesn’t mean He became less than God, when He was on earth, it means He became more than God. He was God, but now He was also a man. He didn’t get rid of deity; He emptied deity into humanity.

He could never stop being God; God’s his nature. But do you know what He did?

He relinquished His glory; He concealed it in human flesh. Every now and then we got a glimpse of it. He was up on a mountain one time, with 3 disciples and He was transfigured and they saw his glory. Paul saw it on the Damascus road, John saw in Revelation 1 in his vision. And some day were going to see the bright brilliant glory of Jesus. But when He was on earth as a man, He concealed that glory.

Do you know why?

So that we can approach him. So that He could come near to us and serve us and meet our needs and heal the sick and wash our feet and tell us about God. And so, He humbled himself, or emptied himself in order to serve us.

That’s not the only reason, He needed flesh. Mark 10:45 says,

‘The Son of man didn’t come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

You see, none incarnate deity has no flesh for a nail. Jesus of Nazareth was born to die. If he had come as a man and had been born in a palace as a king that would be condemnation enough but oh no, He came to eject Himself to the absolute humiliation of a criminal’s death.

Why?

Because it was the only way you and I could be saved.

The Bible says in Philippians 2:8,

‘He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.’

Now just let that verse sink in. It says,

‘God humbled himself’.

How do you humble God? Now I can humble people. I can humble a little child because I’m bigger. I can humble a homeless person because I’m more affluent. Maybe I can humble an uneducated man because I’ve been to school.

But who is big or rich or strong enough or smart enough to humble God? The only way God is ever humbled is if He humbles himself.

The Bible says,

‘He humbled himself and he became obedient to death’.

Now just think about that?

Nobody is going to be obedient to death, we know that. Why? Because death for us is a necessity. We’re going to die whether you want to or not. Jesus didn’t have too. Jesus obeyed when He died, He chose it. Why? Because it was the only way, you and I had a chance.

We were down here covered up in our sins believing a lie that if we just did enough good deeds, we would pay off the debt, work our way up to heaven, not realising that our righteousness is filthy rags to God. And the only chance we had to be saved is as if we can be covered up as if righteousness that was sinless and that’s not you and me.

And so Jesus Christ came and lived a sinless life and then took the penalty that you deserved, willing to transfer His righteousness over to you. So that when God looked at you, He saw sinlessness.

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21,

‘That God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God’.

Do you know what sin is?

Sin is man claiming the place where only God belongs.

Do you know what salvation is?

It’s God taking the place where only He belonged.

2 Corinthians 8:9 ‘For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that through his poverty, you might become rich.’

Jesus of Nazareth was God in the flesh, so that, that flesh could be nailed to a cross and the penalty your sins deserve He could take and the righteousness that you never could have, He could give. Now that’s what Jesus did.

Now what did God do?

The Bible says God did 2 things in Philippians 2:9,

‘God gave him a place no one can claim; God exalted him to the highest place.’

Paul says. And that word ‘exalt’ is the same word that is used in the gospel of John when it says, ‘Jesus is going to be lifted up and draw all men to himself.’ In other words, men lifted up Jesus on a cross, so that they could be saved and then God lifted Him up out of a grave and gave Him a place above everyone and above everything.

‘God raised Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world, God has put Christ over all rulers, authorities, powers and kings, not only in this world, but also in the next.’ Ephesians 1:20-21

Do you know what that means? That means there is not a person or a thing in this world that has a claim on you that ought to supersede the claim of Jesus Christ.

You see, Jesus Christ is above your boss at work; Jesus Christ is above your addiction. He is above your disease. He is above your marriage. There is not a person or a thing on this earth that has got a claim on you that supersedes the claim of Jesus Christ. He is above it all.

That’s why we come here every Sunday and give Him praise. There is only One who deserves our worship. There’s only One who deserves our praise. There’s only One in the highest place. And it’s the man with the scarred hands.

The Bible says,

‘In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him, yet at the present we do not see everything subject to him.’ Hebrews 2:8

That’s the truth isn’t it? What we see, if a bunch of people not making Jesus highest in their lives. What we see, is a world that still seems very messed up. We see a world that does not want to give Jesus the place that we are saying He deserves.

But, the day is coming when every knee is going to bow. Every tongue is going to confess, what we’re saying here right now.

Because did God not only give Him a place that nobody else could claim. But God gave him a Name. That everybody is going to name. A Name that is above every name.

And what is that Name? What is the Name that every intelligent being ever created is going to name someday? That name is Lord. And that had significance on that little church called Philippi.

You see, Philippi was a Roman colony and back then do you know how they tested loyalty to its emperor? A soldier might walk up to you and get you to say,

‘Caesar is Lord’.

And do you know what those early Christians would do?

They would look right at him and say,

‘We’ll say Caesar is king, we’ll say Caesar is ruler, we’ll pay taxes, we’ll give him our efforts, we’ll be good citizens.’ ‘But we will not say Caesar is Lord, that name has already been given out and Caesar can’t have it.’

And they would die before they would call anybody else ‘Lord.’ The day is coming, when every being in heaven and every demon in hell and everyone in between is going to say what that little persecuted church said every Sunday when they worshiped. ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’. Everybody is going to confess. The only issue is when.

The Word became flesh

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.’ John 1:1-3

Now who is ‘the Word’ mentioned in these verses? It’s Jesus. And we know John is speaking about Jesus because if you read on further down in John 1:14 it says that,

‘And the Word became 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.’

Now remember Jesus didn’t become Jesus until He ‘became flesh’ and that’s important to remember because this tells us that Jesus was ‘the Word’ before He became Jesus, God in the flesh.

And we know that the Word, who is Jesus existed before creation because John says,

‘The Word was in the beginning.’

In other words, the Word was in existence before the world was even created. Jesus wasn’t a created being as some religious groups believe because He existed before anything else was created. The Word didn’t come into being, He already existed and has continually existed.

Jesus Himself claimed His own divine pre-existence in John 8:58 when He said to the Jews, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.’ And notice that John doesn’t leave any room for ‘ifs’ ‘buts’ or ‘maybes’, he says,

‘In the beginning was the Word.’

Which is very similar to what Moses wrote in Genesis 1:1

‘In the beginning God.’

Both Moses and John are writing as a matter of fact, the Bible doesn’t set about trying to convince us that God exists, it’s written as a matter of fact that He does exist.

Now you might ask, well, what did the Word do in the beginning? Before we answer that question, let me ask you this question, what does the word, ‘word’ mean?

Well, just like you can’t make a cup of tea or coffee without water, you can’t communicate with people without words. If I want you to understand what I’m thinking, I need to use words to tell you.

The Greek word for ‘Word’ is the word ‘Logos’ and it means a thought expressed, or something said. The Greeks saw ‘logos’ as reason or wisdom and they thought ‘the Logos’ was some kind of a go between, between a spiritual God and the material universe. The Jews would understand what ‘Logos’ meant and their minds would have gone straight back to Genesis because they understood that this was a revelation of the mind of God.

Turn your Bibles to Genesis 1 and notice throughout Genesis 1 we find the words, ‘God said.’

‘God said, ‘Let there be light.’ Genesis 1:3

‘God said, ‘Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.’ Genesis 1:6

And we could go on but the point I’m trying to make is that ‘the Word’ was the One speaking creation into existence.

And just as a side note, each of these days were a command, the words ‘let there,’ are misleading, it should read, ‘be light’, ‘be a vault between the waters.’ The Word of God was the One commanding creation into existence and so the Word, wasn’t just present at creation but actively involved in creation.

That’s what Paul is trying to get us to understand in Colossians 1:16-17,

‘For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.’

That’s what John is trying to get us to understand when he says in John 1:1-3,

‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.’

He’s trying to tell us that ‘The Word’ was there before creation, ‘the Word’ commanded creation into existence and ‘the Word’ was with God even before creation and the Word was God, John 1:1. You see, ‘the Word’ is a person, not an attribute of God or a production of God, He is of the same essence as the Father, in other words, He is Deity.

Hebrews 1:3 says,

‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.’

Notice that phrase, ‘the exact representation of his being’, the literal translation says,

‘Jesus is the carbon copy of God’

Now we hear a lot about the word ‘trinity’ but that word doesn’t exist in your Bibles, but we do have the word ‘Godhead’ used within the KJV. When Paul is speaking on Mars Hill he says,

‘Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.’ Acts 17:29

He also says,

‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so, that they are without excuse.’ Romans 1:20

‘For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’ Colossians 2:9

The N.I.V writes that verse, this way, Colossians 2:9,

‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.’

I remember a few years ago, someone asked me to explain to them, how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the same but yet different. And so, I shared a practical illustration with him.

I got one potato and put it in the middle of the table and then went on and got a plate of mashed potatoes, a plate of boiled potatoes and a baked potato. I went on to explain that although the mashed potato was different in appearance from the boiled and baked potatoes, and vice versa, they are all essentially still potatoes but in different forms.

The Bible talks about God as being Deity, the Bible talks about Jesus as being Deity and the Bible talks about the Holy Spirit as being Deity. Three different personalities but one in the same, as 1 John 5:20 tells us.

You see, whenever you read your Bible and you find Jesus referring to Himself as the ‘Son of man,’ He’s talking about His human nature. But when you find Him referring to Himself as the ‘Son of God’, He’s talking about His divine nature.

And so, although the Son existed ‘in the beginning with God’, it was necessary that ‘the Word’ should ‘become flesh’ and ‘dwell’ or ‘tabernacle’ among us as John 1:14 tells us.

But why did Jesus need to come in bodily form?

Paul told us earlier that Jesus

‘Though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross!’ Philippians 2:6-8

Notice Jesus ‘existed in the form of God’ and Paul says without that human form, it would’ve been impossible for Him to fulfil the unique purpose for which He came.

But why did He need a body?

‘Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.’ John 20:30-31

Now remember John never uses the word ‘miracle’ in his Gospel, he always uses the word, ‘signs’. And here Jesus says, He needed a body in order to present the ‘signs’ which were to be the authentication and endorsement of His Messiahship. He needed a body to set the human race the perfect example of obedience to the will of the Father.

And above all, by means of that perfect life, to demonstrate His worthiness to become the perfect offering for the sin of the world. You see, the Word had to become flesh because this was the divine plan right from start.

Remember what God said to the serpent in Genesis 3:15

‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.’

The Word needed a body, so He could die on the cross and crush Satan once and for all.

That’s why we find the writer of the letter to the Hebrews, quoting from Psalm 40:6-8.

‘Therefore, when he comes into the world, he says, ‘Sacrifice and offering you didn’t desire, but you prepared a body for me; You had no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of me) to do your will, O God.’ Hebrews 10:5

Notice that the ‘body’ was prepared for ‘me.’ The Word becoming flesh was all a part of God’s plan. Why did He come in the flesh? He came in order to be able to communicate with mankind in a personal, unmistakable and uncomplicated manner.

I remember being told a story about millions of ants that were walking along a railway line. There was a man there watching them, when he looked up and saw there was a train coming and so he shouted as loud as he could at the ants, telling them there’s a train coming, they need to get off the track.

Well, obviously, the ants didn’t know nothing about the train coming and they certainly wouldn’t be able to understand what this man was telling them. And then he had a thought, I will become an ant and so he became an ant and told them of the upcoming danger and so some of the ants listened to him and got off the tracks whilst others just ignored him to their own peril.

You see, in a way that’s what God did. Over and over again, He told His people He was coming but they simply didn’t understand.

‘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.’ Isaiah 7:14

‘Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the LORD, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the LORD of hosts.’ Malachi 3:1

And so, Jesus had to come in the form of man to explain to us in simple human language exactly what God wants us to hear. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. Do you remember when the Philip wanted to know what God was like?

‘Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?’ John 14:9

Do you want to know what God’s will is? Listen to Jesus.

‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’ John 6:38

Do you want to know how to live a life which pleases God? Follow the example of Jesus.

‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.’ 1 Peter 2:21

The point I’m trying to make is that everything we can know about God is revealed in Jesus Christ. In other words, Jesus isn’t merely a representation of the Word, He is the Word of God.

‘He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.’ Revelation 19:13

What the evidence means

What conclusions are we to draw from the foregoing?

One of three things must be true. Either he was an imposter, or he was the Son of God as he claimed, or he must occupy a position somewhere between the two extremes. We cannot assign him any middle rank because if he could not perform miracles, raise the dead, and forgive sins as he claimed, he must have been a deceiver of the highest order.

Then, was he an imposter? If he was, he was evil instead of good, he was dishonest instead of honest. But this is completely at variance with everything that we know about him. One writer has said of him,

‘The most lasting impression made upon the reader of the Gospels is the superlative goodness and moral purity of Jesus. This moral purity shines upon us from every page like the sun in heaven and is the chief means which gives to the common reader, the child, or the uncultured man, the unwavering belief that Jesus was divine. If the source of this impression is analysed his moral uprightness is still more apparent. The benevolent and pure teachings of Christ could not have flowed from and impure heart and a guilty conscience. If corrupt at heart, some exigency of suffering, of studied affront, or of cold neglect would have revealed, by word or deed, his true character. Whether in public or private, entering Jerusalem in triumph or bending beneath the imprecations of the Jews, he is the same patient, perfect one … It cannot be that that heart was corrupt and dark with guilt.’ (Everest, The Divine Demonstration, p. 99)

While many have attacked the claims of Christ, his character has seldom been questioned. Many who deny his deity are the first to admit his moral goodness.

Some will go so far as to say that he was the best man who ever lived. If so, he could not have been an impostor, and if he was not an impostor, his claims of deity must stand unchallenged.

A word of warning is in order

Many modernists will state that they believe in the divinity of Christ. By his divinity they do not mean his deity, that he was and is God. They mean that divinity is the spark of the divine that is in each of us, and since Jesus had more of it than others, he was more divine, but still just a human being, not God’s Son. But Christ is more than a superman. He is the Son of God sent to this earth to redeem man.

The implications of Christ’s deity are overwhelming. If he is the Son of God, his words are authoritative and must be accepted without question.

The church for which he died is perfectly founded, and although made of human stones is divine. His promises are certain and through him we may attain salvation from sin and life everlasting.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."

1 John 3:16

MENU