Jesus Christ: Was He just another man or was He God in the flesh?
Was He a prophet or a fanatic? Was He merely a nice person that taught good ethics or was He the Messiah sent to save mankind? Different people have different ideas and views about this, but what does the Bible say?
The New Testament is centered around the life and ministry of Jesus. The Gospel of John begins with these words: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." (John 1:1-4) Then verse 14 says: "And the Word was made 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." Here, the Bible provides us with an accurate description of who Jesus is. John refers to Him as "the Word", but we know that He is talking about Christ because John points out that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". Notice that it says "the Word was with God and the Word was God." These verses also tell us that "all things were made by him". We can obviously see that Jesus Christ is not a created being, but He is the Creator Himself. John assures us that Jesus is God and that He took upon the form of a human being in order to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Not only is Jesus called "the Word", but Matthew 1:23 points out that Jesus was to be called "Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." Jesus was not just another man when He was down here on earth, but He was "God with us".
The Bible is clear when it says that God is the Creator: "Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name"(Jeremiah 32:17-18, See also Genesis 1:1). In the New Testament, verses such as John 1:3, Colossians -16, and Hebrews 1:2 all tell us that Jesus is the Creator.
The disciples knew without a doubt that Jesus Christ was in
fact God. even 'doubting' Thomas acknowledged this is
John 20:28, "And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God."
If Jesus was not God, then why didn't He correct Thomas for saying this?
Instead, Jesus simply said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast
believed; blesssed are they that have not seen me,
and yet have believed." The New Testament contains many occasions where
people worshipped Jesus as God and He never rebuked them for doing this: In
Matthew 2:11, the wise men from the east "fell down, and worshipped him".
Matthew 8:2 recalls this incident: "behold, there came a leper and
worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." Then
in Matthew , "behold, there
came a certain ruler, and worshipped him". Matthew provides this account: "Then they that were in
the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth
thou art the Son of God." Matthew
tells us about a woman of
What claims did Jesus make about Himself? Did he say that He was God? In John 10:30, Jesus said these words: "I and my father are one." Then the Bible goes on to say that the Jews wanted to kill Him because of this declaration, but Jesus responded, "Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." (Verses 31-33) Jesus did not deny this claim because He was God.
Mark chapter 2 provides us with another instance where Jesus revealed His true character. A man was brought before Christ that was "sick of the palsy". Jesus said to him, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." (Mark 2:5-12) Everyone knows that God alone has the power to forgive sins, and Jesus had that power!
This is what John 8:58-59 has to say: "Jesus said unto
them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and
went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by."The Jewish leaders knew that Jesus was proclaiming
Himself to be God and they wanted to stone Him to death because they didn't
believe Him. Jesus said that He was "I am". This is what God called
Himself in Exodus "And God
said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt
thou say unto the children of
In John 5:18, the Bible says that the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because Christ claimed "that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
Here is what Jesus said about Himself in the book of
Revelation: "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to
come, the Almighty." (Revelation 1:18) Also, in verse 11, He proclaims, "I
am alpha and Omega, the first and the last". Then again, in verses 17-18,
He says, "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,
Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Now let's compare this to
Isaiah 44:6 "Thus saith the Lord, the King of
On another occasion, Jesus healed a man possessed by demons and said, "Return to thine house, and show what great things God hath done unto thee. And he went on his way and published throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done unto him." (Luke 8:39) This man perceived Jesus and God as one and the same person! Why didn't Jesus correct the man if this wasn't true?
How did the other Bible writers view Jesus? Paul maintained that Jesus was God in the flesh: "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the nations, believed on in the world, received up into glory." (1 Timothy 3:16) In Titus 2:13, Paul clearly linked Jesus to God: "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our savior, Jesus Christ." Notice what Paul also wrote in Colossians 2:8-9 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." In Romans 14:10-12, Paul interchangeably used the words "God" and "Jesus" in reference to Jesus Christ: "But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God."
Paul explains in Philippians 2:5-11 that Jesus is God and that He chose to take the form of a man in order to die on the cross. He also points out that the day will come when everyone who ever lived will bow down and worship Jesus: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." It's interesting that in Isaiah 45:22-23, the Bible also says that every knee will bow to God, which we can see, based on Philippians 2 and Romans 14:10-12, is Jesus Christ.
The writer of the book of Hebrews included this passage about Jesus: "Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom." (Hebrews 1:8) Once again, Jesus, the Son, is referred to as God.
In Isaiah 9:6, The Messiah is called both the son and "the Mighty God".
Micah 5:2 describes Jesus as everlasting being who has always been, which is a quality that belongs only to God: "But thou, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."
The Bible writers often applied the term "Savior" both to God and Jesus Christ: "But after the kindness and love of God, our Savior, toward man appeared." (Titus 3:4). Then just 2 verses later, Paul writes, "Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior" (Titus 3:6).
In conclusion, we can see that the Bible clearly portrays Jesus as God, and yet He is also called the Son of God (Mark 1:1 and 1 John 5:5). How is this possible? The answer to this found in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." There is only one God: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord". (Deuteronomy 6:4). However, according to 1 John 5:7, God reveals Himself in 3 ways: the Father, the Word (which is Jesus, see John 1:1-3), and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.