I don’t think there is really any debate that Jesus is the most famous person in all of history. I’ll not even go into any debating about the silliness some promote that the historic reality of Jesus is nothing more than a big story or essentially a fairytale. He is even spoken of in some secular records of the time soon after; but again, that is the stuff of another debate.
Our interest today is the matter of the divinity of Jesus Christ. Is he God in human form, or is he merely a great and exemplary figure of history? There are even Christian people in more liberal traditions who are weak on seeing Jesus as fully divine. But again, as in other arguments and presentations in this series, if you accept the Scripture as God’s word to us, it is rather impossible to conclude anything other than that Jesus Christ is God – he is divine.
Today let us add to the truth we wrote about on Monday of the preexistence of Jesus as the divine Son a total of four more categories of Christological understanding that support the divinity of Christ …
A – His Divine Titles – Consider these final verses from John’s gospel: “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. (Jn. 20:30-31)
- Christ – The word “Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name; it’s His title. The word Christos is a Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.” Both “Christ” and “Messiah” mean “King”—the King to be more specific. For Jesus to be the Christ means to be God’s divinely appointed royal representative on earth.
- Son of God – This title is used (or the concept of sonship) a total of 124 times in the New Testament. It is evident from the Synoptic Gospels that Jesus understood himself and his mission according to divine sonship and clearly implied that he was the Son of God. “… and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)
- Son of Man – This may not seem like much of a title. After all, we’re all the son of a man. But it had a ring to it in the ears of Jewish people who were tuned into the Scriptures and recalled a particular passage from Daniel. In 7:13 of that book we have this phrase: “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. (Daniel 7:13)
As Jesus was being questioned during his trial, the High Priest asked Jesus to confirm whether or not he was the Christ, the Son of God. And Jesus replied, “‘You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his robes and said, ‘He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy.’” (Matthew 26:64-65).
Clearly these ‘biblical scholars and experts’ knew exactly what Jesus was saying and it led to the crucifixion. This was therefore clearly a statement of divinity.
B – Divine Works – By this we speak especially of the many miracles recorded throughout the gospels, being witnessed by thousands of people. These displays would authenticate him as the Promised One and authenticate the message he brought.
When John the Baptist was imprisoned and apparently facing some doubts, he sent some of his disciples to see Jesus and ask… “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 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.” (Matt. 11:3-5)
So this was not a direct answer, though it was a clear reference to prophesies of Isaiah that the Messiah would perform such deeds.
C – Divine Statements – The book of Book contains seven “I am” statements that Jesus uttered on various occasions, clearly picturing his personage as divine …
- “I am the bread of life” (6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- “I am the light of the world” (8:12; 9:5)
- “I am the door of the sheep” (10:7, 9)
- “I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14)
- “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25)
- “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (14:6)
- “I am the true vine” (15:1, 5).
These statements are all clear connections of himself with the Divine.
As well, there are other “I AM” statements, particularly in John 8:58,59 – “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
The “I am” recalled the revelation of God speaking to Moses in the Old Testament, referencing God as the self-sufficient one. Jesus made some “I am” sorts of statements prior to this passage, and up until this juncture the Jewish leaders and crowd gave him the benefit of a doubt. But there was no mistaking at this point what he meant. And actually from this time forward in John’s gospel, the Jewish leadership is intent upon getting rid of this Galilean troublemaker.
D – Divine Character – We’ll just mention two items here: sinlessness and omniscience. We know of Christ’s perfections without sin. And multiple times it speaks of how Jesus knew the thoughts of those testing him; he knew what Peter was going to do to deny him; he knew Judas would betray him and was not a true disciple.
Summary – There is simply no doubt about Christ’s divinity – You have to not want to believe it in order to not believe it, the evidence is so strong.
So Jesus is not just a good guy, but is for us all the perfect payment for a debt we have with God that we could never pay on our own. And beyond that, he has shown us what God is like; he daily intercedes for us and helps us; and he promises to come and get us to be with him forever. All of this beats some system of God up there and us down here, wondering how to bridge and connect that gap?? Jesus does it all.