Jesus is God – Does the Bible Say This?
Is Jesus God?
Almost everyone wants to say something good about Jesus. Muslims honor Him as a prophet, Jews will call Him a good teacher, many Eastern religions believe Him to have been a kind and wise man. Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Him to be a creature of unparalleled power and authority, the average person on the street will affirm Jesus’ teaching about loving each other, and almost no one argues with the fact that He helped and served those around Him.
Jesus is appreciated by many.
But is He our Lord and God? Is He co-eternal and co-divine, of one essence with the Father and Spirit and so deserving of equal worship? Simply put, is Jesus Christ God?
Truly, to answer that question demands a study into the nature of our God as Trinity. He is the One in Many and Many in One, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, tri-personal and yet uni-essential, the Beauty of beauty, the Mystery of mysteries, and the spring and resolution of all paradox….however, I’m not going to attempt that in a blog post.
Instead, I want to supply a few (and I do mean a few, anyone who has studied this topic will realize the list below is woefully inadequate) bullet-pointed verses that have helped me (and I hope will help you) in coming to grips with what exactly the Bible says about Jesus as God.
Jesus Does What Only God Does
- Luke 5:20, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” /// Luke 7:48, “And he said to her, ‘your sins are forgiven.'”
- Only God can forgive someone’s sin (Luke 5:21) because ultimately, all sins are committed primarily against God Himself (Psalm 51:4). However, Jesus forgives sins
Baptizes with the Holy Spirit
- John 1:33, “…this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”
- The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God Himself, and yet Jesus baptizes people in/with/by the Spirit. What being except for God can baptize someone else with God? What angel or prophet has the right to baptize another with God’s own Spirit? Only God can baptize with God.
Creates the Universe
- John 1:3, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” /// Hebrews 1:10, “You, Lord, laid the foundations of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the works of your hands.”
- Jesus was the agent by and through whom all things were created, and so integral was His role in creation that the Father says of Him, “You, Lord, laid the foundations of the earth…” Only God creates all things, and Jesus created all things.
- Also, notice the wording of the John passage quoted above: “without Him (Christ) was not any thing made that was made.” In other words, everything that has a beginning, everything that is created, everything that is not eternal God was made through Christ. Therefore Christ Himself cannot be part of what has been created, since if anything is created, it came through Him.
Delivers Authoritative Law
- Matthew 5:21, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘you shall not murder…’ But I sa to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment.”
- This is staggering. All throughout the “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus takes commands that God has given in the Old Covenant and re-works them, re-casting them in deeper and more potent ways.
- Who except God Himself can give authoritative new commands to the people of God? Or again, who except God Himself can say, “in the past God said this to you, but now I am telling you this.”
Jesus Receives What Only God Receives
- Matthew 28:17, “And when they saw Him they worshiped Him…” /// Luke 24:52, “And they worshiped Him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy.” Hebrews 1:6, “Let all God’s angels worship Him.” /// Revelation 5:13, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and mighty forever and ever!”
- God swears that He will not share His glory with any other being (Isaiah 48:11), and yet in these and many other passages, we see Jesus receiving worship. In fact, in the passage quoted above from Hebrews, God the Father commands His angels to worship Jesus Christ, and in Revelation all of creation offers worship to the One on the throne (the Father) and to the Lamb. If Jesus is not God, then not only are these offerings of worship blasphemous, but God Himself has gone back on His word (Is.48:11).
- John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”
- If Jesus were not God, then His words quoted above would be sickeningly arrogant and damnably blasphemous….He is saying that, just as the disciples believe in God, so too ought they to believe in Him, making Himself equal with God (as he does elsewhere, John 5:18).
- All throughout scripture, the trust and hope and faith of the human soul is to rest in God alone. Even when old testament saints trusted in the words of a prophet, it was only because they trusted in God through the prophet. However, in the new testament, our faith and trust in God becomes faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Without believing Jesus, we do not believe God, without trusting Jesus, we do not trust God.
- John 14:15, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
- As was mentioned above, Jesus gives His own commandments. Yes, they are commandments given to Him by the Father, but He does not appeal to divine revelation to receive them, and He calls them His
- And He expects His disciples to obey His words, because what He speaks is what God speaks. Jesus demands obedience to His law.
Jesus In Old Testament Quotations
- Luke 3:4, “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord (YHWH).'”
- In all four gospels, this prophecy is applied to John the Baptist’s ministry of preparation for Christ. John fulfilled the prophecy of a way prepared for YHWH by preparing the way for Jesus.
- John 19:37, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”
- In Zechariah 12:10, the one “pierced” is God Himself, here John applies these words to Jesus.
- Philippians 2:10-11, “…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.”
- Paul’s words here draw heavily from Isaiah 46:23-24, “To me (YHWH) every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance. Only in the Lord (YHWH), it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength…” Paul is intentionally placing Christi in the role of YHWH, a theological move that would be blasphemous if Jesus were not God.
- There are many more such quotations, but for the sake of time and space, I will move on.
Jesus’ Testimony about Himself
Jesus and the Father are One
- John 10:30, “I and the Father are One.”
- Pretty clear.
Jesus does all that the Father does
- John 5:19, “…whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
- In this passage, Jesus is explaining that He can do nothing apart from the Father and that He only does what He sees the Father doing, and (as quoted above) that whatever the Father does, He does. That is staggering. Christ is so perfectly the image of God to man that He does only what God does and everything that God does. What created being could claim this level of unity of action with God? If the Father creates, the Son creates, if the Father raises the dead, the Son raises the dead….anything that God does, Jesus will say, “Yes, I do that also.” Stunning.
Jesus is worthy of equal honor as God the Father
- John 5:22-23, “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
- Again, staggering. Jesus says that God (who shares his glory with no one, Isaiah 48:11) intends for the Son to be honored just as He Himself is honored. Jesus must receive equal honor in our hearts as that given to God the Father, to honor Him any less is – according to Christ – to dishonor both the Father and the Son. If Jesus is not God, then this command – given by God Himself – is blasphemous.
- No one honors God who does not honor the Son of God to the exact same degree as they honor the Father. That is an incendiary and implication laden teaching that we don’t have time to delve into at this point.
Jesus is the Eternal “I Am”
- John 8:58, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was, I Am.”
- This is a shocking statement from Christ, and those who heard it recognized that because they immediately tried to kill Him for saying it. He could have used the past tense being verb and still have said something extraordinary about Himself (namely, that He had existed over 2,000 years earlier). However, He uses the present tense, which not only echoes God’s own self-identification as “I Am” from Exodus 3:14, but also affirms His own uncreated, eternally existent state.
- So much could be said about Christ’s words here, but suffice to say, no angel or prophet (no angel or prophet from God, anyway) could possibly make this claim about himself. As C.S. Lewis has famously argued, either Jesus is a liar, a lunatic, a devil, or the Lord and God of reality come in the flesh.
Jesus is the Beginning and the End
- Revelation 1:8 (The words of God the Father), “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God.'”
- Revelation 22:13 (The words of Jesus Christ), “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
- There cannot be two beginnings and two ends, there cannot be two Alphas and two Omegas (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, respectively). In these passages, both God the Father and Jesus Christ proclaim themselves to be the Alpha and the Omega, this seems to be powerful and convincing proof that Jesus Christ is God the eternal Son, of the same essence as the Father, true God of true God.
Now, I am under no delusion that the few verses mentioned above “settle” anything. There are many, many more verses to which we could point to prove Christ’s divinity and – stronger than a single verse or passage – there are deep, thematic arguments woven throughout the whole of scripture that demand the divinity of Jesus. However, I’ve compiled this list as a reference and help for myself and, I hope, for you, as we seek to be faithful witnesses to and growing disciples of Christ.
Also, I should mention that the clearer our recognition of Christ’s glory as the second person of the Trinity, the greater will be our awe at the cross…..may we increase in them both!