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#54 IS JESUS GOD?

In 2Peter 1:1 Peter refers to ‘the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ’.

This is one of the few places in the New Testament that directly affirm that Jesus Christ is God.

Some people might argue that Jesus himself never said that he was God, and it is true that he never said ‘I am God.’ However, he clearly understood himself to be God. This is evident in multiple statements, for example:

The fact that he called God ‘my Father’ was a clear indication to the Jews that he claiming to be God [John 5:17,18].

Similarly, when Jesus affirmed to the high priest that he was ‘the Christ, the Son of God’ the high priest was exultant, knowing that Jesus had by this confirmed their accusation of blasphemy, because to claim to be the ‘Son of God’ is to claim to have the same nature as God [Matthew 26;63-65].

When Jesus said ‘Before Abraham was born, I am’, the Jews recognized that he was applying to himself the holy name of God, the ‘I AM’, and claiming for himself eternal existence, which is God’s alone [John 8:59,59].

He said ‘I and the Father are one’, and immediately the Jews picked up stones, saying ‘We are ... stoning you ... for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’ [John 10:30-33].

The identity that Jesus claimed for himself – the Light, the Shepherd – are the identity that the Old Testament attributes to God. [John 8:12 – Psalm 27:1; John 10:10 – Psalm 23:1].

The roles and responsibilities that Jesus fills are the roles and responsibilities of God: he has life in himself, just like the Father [John 5:26]; he has the responsibility of all judgement [John 5:22-24]; he is the Saviour [Luke 19:10], but only God is the Saviour [Isaiah 45:15,21].

In addition to the witness of Jesus himself we have the testimony of the apostles:

Matthew, reporting the angel’s message to Joseph: ‘...they will call him Immanuel – which means “God with us”’ [Matthew 1:23].

John, affirming that Jesus is God, the eternal creator of all things: ‘In the beginning was the Word ... and the Word was God ... through him all things were made’ [John 1:1,3].

Thomas, before the resurrected Jesus: ‘My Lord and my God’ [John 20: 28].

Paul, referring to Jesus as ‘God over all, forever praised’ [Romans 9:5].

Paul, referring to Jesus as ‘the Lord of glory’ [1Corinthians 2:8].

Paul, twice teaching that the fullness of God is in Christ [Colossians 1:19; 2:9].

Paul, calling Jesus ‘our great God and Saviour’ [Titus 2:13].

The writer to the Hebrews, affirming the deity of Jesus the Son [Hebrews 1:5-8].

John stating that Jesus is ‘the true God and eternal life’ [1John 5:20].

John, reporting his visions, identifying Jesus in the same terms that he identifies God: beginning and end, Alpha and Omega, the first and the last [Revelation 1:8,17; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13].

The Old Testament also testifies to the fact that Jesus Christ is God:

Isaiah saw his glory [Isaiah 6:1-13; read John 12:40,41].

His names include ‘everlasting Father’ and ‘mighty God’ [Isaiah 9:6].

His coming is the coming of ‘the LORD’ [Isaiah 40:3].

When he comes, people are exhorted to let everyone know ‘Here is your God ... the Sovereign LORD’ [Isaiah 40:9,10].

Is Jesus God? Was Peter right in referring to Jesus as ‘our great God and Saviour’? Yes.

And this is the one confession, the one belief, that is indispensible for salvation [John 8:24; Romans 10:9].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018