Stan* came over to my house. Earlier he sent me an email stating that he and his wife would not be attending our small group. But I wanted at least a chance to get to know him so I invited him over to chat. During the course of our conversation Stan said he and his wife were having a difficult time finding a church to attend in Colorado Springs because of theological differences. When I asked him what that meant Stan said that they did not believe Jesus was God. Therefore, church leaders were not comfortable putting them in a leadership position. He further elaborated that 95% of Christians mistakenly are taught and believe in Jesus’ deity. No wonder they were having trouble finding a church home!
So how do we know that Jesus is God? This is a pivotal question to answer for Jesus claims to be the truth (John 8:31,32, 14:6) and to set us free. Since I’ve entrusted my fate to Him, here is how I would answer Stan and others based on what I’ve learned.
I. The Old Testament establishes the Messiah’s deity centuries before Jesus was born.
A. The prophet Isaiah wrote: “Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel” (7:14). The word Immanuel literally means “God with us.” Matthew cites this passage in his gospel account of Jesus (Mat. 1:23). If the Messiah is with us it means God is with us.
B. Later in Isa. 9:6 we read: “For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” The word for Mighty God is El Gibbor—and was clearly a title for the Holy One of Israel as seen in Isa. 10:20,21, and Psalm 24:8. Avi’ad (Eternal Father) also ties to other Old Testament passages referring to God.
II. Jesus establishes that He is the Messiah and that He is one with God.
A.Jesus links multiple passages from the Old Testament to establish that He is the Messiah(Isa. 6:9-10, 42:1-4, 61:1-2; Psalm 8:2, 41:9, 110:1, 118:22-23,26, Zechariah 13:7); tells His listeners that Moses wrote about Him (John 5:46); and, directly claims to be the Messiah (John 4:25,26).
B.Jesus claims to be the Messiah (Mark 14:60,61). He equates Himself with God by quoting Deuteronomy 6:16 when tempted by Satan; by placing Himself at the seat of power at God’s right hand (Mark 14:62)—a direct reference to God in Psa. 110:1; by “calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God” (John 5:18); by invoking the name God used for Himself, “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 and claiming to exist before Abraham (John 8:58); and, by claiming to be one with God in nature and essence, not just purpose (John 10:30,38, 14:9,10).
C.Jesus told the Jews, “For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). There is a clear cost to be paid for not believing Jesus.
III. Jesus’ followers establish that He is the Messiah.
A. They directly cite Old Testament passages to confirm His status. Matthew quoted Micah 5:2; Jeremiah 31:15, Isa. 9:1,2, 40:3, 53:4, 62:11, Psa. 22:1, 78:2, 118:25-26, and Zec. 9:9; Luke added Psa. 31:5 and John referenced Isa. 6:10, 53:1, Psa. 22:16,18, 34:20 and Zec.12:10.
B.They verbally and in writing affirm that He is the Messiah without correction by Him (Mat. 14:33, John 13:13, 20:28,29, Revelation 5:13,14). The Apostle Paul attests that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. . .For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him” (Colossians 1:15,19). The word “firstborn” in the Greek is the word protokos and “emphasizes the preexistence and uniqueness of Christ as well as His superiority over creation. The term does not indicate that Christ was a creation or a created being” as cults like to use to assert to disprove Jesus’ divinity. Paul described Jesus to Titus as “the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Tit. 2:13). To the Philippians he wrote that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Greek word kuriospurposefully used by Paul theologically to equate Jesus with Yahweh as referenced in Isaiah 42:8 (2:11). For a great article on this see the footnote below.
C.The Magi bowed before the baby Jesus and worshiped him—a clue that they recognized His divine identity (Mat. 2:11).
IV. Jesus’ enemies recognized His claims to deity and, infuriated, attempted numerous times to stone Him before successfully crucifying Him—Mark 14:63,64; John 5:18, 8:59, 10:31-33. There was no reason to kill Jesus if He simply claimed to be a rabbi or teacher.
V. The Samaritans, sworn enemies of the Jews, upon meeting with Jesus proclaimed Him as the Messiah (John 4:42).
John MacArthur gives a nice summary for us. “That Jesus is Himself God is the heart of the gospel, because apart from His deity He could not save a single soul. No heresy so corrupts the gospel and robs it of its power as the teaching that Jesus is not God. Apart from His deity, there is no gospel and no salvation.” Something to think about . . . in reveration!
The early Christians realized that the scandalous edge of their faith was not that they were attributing deity to a human being, but that they were attributing humanity to a deity.—Bruxy Cavey in The End Of Religion
We will merely reiterate our findings—this “name” for the Messiah is an unambiguous declaration of His Deity (precisely the same term is used in Isaiah 10:21 for Yahweh; the absurd attempt by the Jehovah’s Witnesses to find a distinction between “the mighty God” here and the “Almighty God” elsewhere is an act of desperation to avoid the obvious) Avi’ad (Father of Eternity) refers to God as Avinu Malkenu (Isa. 63:16, 1 Ch. 29:10: Mal. 2:10) https://hebrew4christians.com/Meditations/Yeled/yeled.html
Fritz Rienecker/Cleon Rogers in Linguistic Key to The Greek New Testament, (Regency Reference Library, Grand Rapids, 1980), p.567.
*Not his real name
©2019 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)