Is Jesus God?
IS JESUS GOD?
A. Introduction: It is vitally important that we have accurate knowledge of who God is.
1. Today, more than ever, there is an attack on who God is -- especially Jesus.
2. Anything we can learn about God will enrich our lives. II Pet 1:2; II Cor 13:14
3. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us in and through the Bible. One of the most remarkable things God reveals about Himself in the Bible is that He is three persons in one God. He is a triune God, three in one. (Doctrine of the Trinity)
a. As we read the Bible, we see clearly that there is only one God. Yet, we also see clearly three persons who are God -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
b. All three persons possess and demonstrate the qualities, characteristics, and abilities of God -- they all are and do what only God is and can do.
c. God is not one person who acts like three different people, nor is He three separate persons like Peter, James, and John who all work together. There is only one God, but there are three divine persons = one what, three whos.
d. Here is a definition of the Trinity: “Within the One Being that is God, there exists eternally three coequal and coeternal persons, namely, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (James R. White)
4. The Bible does not prove that God is triune, it presumes it. You cannot turn to the one verse that explains and defines the Trinity. What you have to do is read the entire Bible. And, what you see from Genesis to Revelation is One God who is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
5. I Cor 13:12--There are limits to how much understanding of God we can have now.
a. God is infinite (without limits of any kind, neither time nor space). He is eternal (has no beginning or end, and lives in the ever present now). And, we who are created beings are limited by space and by time.
b. But, that doesn't mean we shouldn't study. It means we don't have to understand what we can't understand. We simply accept what God says about Himself.
c. God is incomprehensible -- He cannot be fully understood by the human mind. Yet, God is knowable, and He has chosen to reveal Himself to us. We can know Him. Jer 9:23,24; John 17:3
6. As we study the Trinity, we must deal with the deity of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
a. No one disputes that the Father is God. But, there are those who say Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not God, and therefore, God is not a Trinity.
b. In this lesson, we want to consider the deity of Jesus. Is He God?
7. Christianity is unique. It is not based on the teachings of Jesus, it is based on the person of Jesus -- who He is, what He is, and what He has done. Therefore, it is vital that you have a clear, biblical understanding of Jesus.
a. While He was on earth, Jesus said that one characteristic of the end of this age would be the rise of false Christs. Matt 24:4,5; 23,24
b. Today, many religions preach Jesus, but not Jesus of the Bible. (Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, New Age Theology, etc.)
8. Here are some commonly held ideas about Jesus -- all of which contradict the Bible: He is a created being. He is an angel. He is inferior to the Father. He is a human who achieved true Christ consciousness (discovered God within); He is an ascended master, time traveler, or space being.
9. It is vital that we get our information about Jesus from the Bible, the only completely reliable source of information about Jesus. Our eternal destiny depends on it.
10. If your only source of information was the Bible, you could not come to any other conclusion but that Jesus is God. He is equal with the Father, of the same nature as the Father, and exists eternally with the Father.
B. In John 1:1-18 we find one of the clearest presentations of the deity of Jesus.
1. Throughout these verses, John contrasts two Greek words for the verb was, and in doing so, he makes a critical point about Jesus, the Word.
a. Was = EN = The tense expresses continuous action in the past.
b. Was = EGENETO = The tense denotes a time when something came into existence. EN does not.
c. EN is used for the Word. EGENETO is used for everything else. v3, all created things; v6, John the Baptist.
2. In other words, use of this verb (EN) tells us, in contrast to things that have a definite beginning, there was never a time that the Word (Jesus) did not exist.
a. He is eternal, He has always existed, He is not a creation, He is the Creator.
b. The Word was with God = the Word has eternally been with God.
c. John 1:1--When all things began, the Word already was. (NEB) Gen 1:1
3. Not only has the Word, Jesus, always existed, He has always been with the Father in a loving relationship. With = PROS = has the idea of intimate, unbroken, face-to-face fellowship. I Cor 13:12--Face to (PROS) face. The Word is a person, not a force.
4. Without going into detail, it is important to point out that the way this passage is written in the Greek, John was careful not to make God and the Word interchangeable. The Father is not the Son; the Son is not the Father.
a. They are of the same nature, but they are two distinct persons.
b. John 1:1--What God was, the Word was. (NEB) In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and He was God. (New Living)
c. John 1:1--In the beginning the Word was existing. And the Word was in fellowship with God the Father, and the Word was as to His essence absolute deity. (Wuest)
5. v2--Restates the fact that the Word has eternally existed in a relationship with God.
6. v3--All things were (EGENETO) made by Him. That is another characteristic of deity. Gen 1:1; Jer 10:11,12; Heb 3:4; Heb 1:10-12 (Ps 102:25-27)
a. Heb 1:1,2 makes it clear that God the Creator is Jesus the Lord.
b. Some say Jesus was God's first creation who then created everything else.
c. But, that cannot be because John 1:1 makes it clear Jesus eternally exists with the Father -- He has no beginning.
d. Heb 1:8--God the Father calls God the Son (Jesus) God.
7. John 1:1-13--A clear distinction is made between the eternal Word (Jesus) and that which was made by Him through the use of the verbs EN and EGENETO.
C. Some people struggle with the fact that the Second Person of the Trinity is called the Son. Doesn't that mean He is less than the Father in some way? Doesn't that indicate He had a beginning?
1. Calling Jesus the Son of God does not make Him less than the Father, nor does it indicate He had a beginning. In Bible times the phrase “Son of” did sometimes mean offspring of, but it more often meant “of the order of”.
a. The ancients used the phrase to mean sameness of nature and equality of being.
b. The OT uses the phrase that way. I Kings 20:35; II Kings 2:3,5,7,15; Neh 12:28
2. While on earth, when Jesus said He was the Son of God, He was saying He was God.
a. That is how the Jews to whom He spoke would have understood the phrase.
b. Look at the way the Jews reacted to Jesus. They wanted to stone Him for saying He was the Son of God, equal with God. In their eyes Jesus committed blasphemy by what He said. John 5:18; 10:31-33; 19:7; Lev 24:16
3. Jesus is not the Son of God because He was born in Bethlehem or because He is some how less than God. He is the Son because He is God. Prov 30:4 (present tense)
a. The Son came from heaven and eternity and entered earth and time.
John 3:16,17; 11:27; Micah 5:2
1. From of old = same word is translated from everlasting in Hab 1:12.
2. From everlasting = Lit: days of immeasurable time (eternity).
b. His goings forth refer to Christ's activities before He came to earth -- His eternal fellowship with the Father and the Holy Spirit; His part in creation; His numerous preincarnate appearances. I Cor 10:4
c. Isa 9:6--Jesus is called the Everlasting Father = lit: Father of eternity; an idiom which describes Christ's relationship to time, not to other members of the Trinity.
In Hebrew and Aramaic, to call someone Father of strength means he is strong; father of knowledge = he is intelligent; father of eternity = he is an eternal being.
d. John 1:30--John the Baptist was born six months before Jesus (Luke 1:36). Yet Jesus, the eternal son, preceded Him. Before I was born, he already was. (NEB)
4. Jesus, speaking as the Son of God, said He existed with the Father before He came to earth. John 8:54-59 (Ex 3:14); John 6:38,46,51,62; 8:23; 16:28; 17:5
D. One reason there is controversy over whether or not Jesus is God is because people do not understand what happened when the Second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, came to earth, and, as a result, they misread certain verses.
1. John 1:14--Tells us that the Word was made flesh. The Second Person of the Trinity entered time. He entered human existence.
a. Verb usage changes. Was = EGENATO = happened at a specific point in time.
b. He took on flesh (not just a body, but a full human nature -- spirit, soul, and body). This is the incarnation.
c. In His OT appearances, the Son appeared in the form of man, but He did not take on a human nature. However, at the incarnation He did.
2. When the Son took on flesh, He did not stop being God nor did He turn into a man.
a. He was at the same time fully God and fully man. That is the mystery of the incarnation. Matt 1:23 (Isa 7:14) Emmanuel = the God-man (THEANTHROPOS).
b. When Jesus took on a human nature, He did not cease to be God, He was still God, but He became a man also.
c. That's how He could grow (Luke 2:52) and yet be the unchanging I AM
(John 8:58; 3:13). Acts10:38--That's why He had to be anointed.
d. God the Son humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant, by taking on a human nature. He voluntarily limited Himself as God and lived on earth as a man. Phil 2:5-8
3. Problems arise when people take verses describing the man Jesus and try to use them to prove Jesus is not God. John 14:38
a. John 14:38--Jesus is clearly referring to His position at that point, not His nature.
b. When Jesus made that statement, God the Father was in a position of glory which Jesus remembered, and He, God the Son, was in a position of humility, living on earth as a man with the dirt, pain, and sorrow of this world.
4. John 1:17--John makes it clear he is talking about Jesus in this passage. Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity.
5. John 1:14,18--John identifies God, the One with whom the Word was before He came to earth, as the Father. The Father (God) and Jesus (the Word) are two distinct persons.
6. Problems also occur because of a misunderstanding of the word begotten. v14,18
a. Begotten = MONOGENES = unique; one of a special kind. It is a different word than begat (GENNAO) = to procreate, to father.
b. The word does not refer to begetting but to uniqueness. 1:14--We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father. (NIV)
7. Why is Jesus unique? He is the only man who pre-existed with God as God. He is the only Man whose birth did not mark His beginning. He is the only God-man.
8. v18--The only begotten Son -- a more literal translation is: the only Son who is God.
a. Remember context -- John is not now telling us that Jesus is a created being. Such a statement would deny all that John has said up to this point.
b. v18--No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, the Only-begotten God, Who is in the bosom [that is, in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him -- He has revealed Him, brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him, and He has made Him known. (Amp)
9. The Second Person of the Trinity took on flesh for a very specific purpose -- so He could die for us and pay the price we owed for our sin. Heb 2:9;14,15
a. Jesus had to be a man so He could die. He had to be a man because man sinned and only man can pay the penalty for sin. Payment of the penalty involves suffering of body, soul, and spirit which God can't bear.
b. Jesus had to be God so that His sacrifice would have the value to fully pay the price for our sin, once for all.
c. I Tim 3:16--And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.
E. Conclusion: We have not said all there is to say about the deity of Christ, but consider what this shows us about God, His love for us, and the life to which we've been invited.
1. God the Father gave God the Son so that He could have sons and daughters.
2. God the Son was willing to leave the glory of heaven and endure the humiliation of this life to have us. God the Father was willing to send the Son.
3. God the Son took a human nature so that we can partake of the divine nature.
4. God the Son entered time so that we can enter eternity.