The question of “who is Jesus Christ?” has been a subject of discussion since not long after the world timetable flipped to A.D. Since, at the time of this writing, we are in the midst of Holy Week, culminating in Easter, it seems like a good time to cover this topic as we prepare to celebrate the historical resurrection of Jesus.
Though the theories on who Jesus is vary, I would like to summarize a compelling treatment I heard in a sermon recently of eight reasons that Jesus is God, from the Bible itself. When I say God, to be clear, I mean capital G. Yahweh/Jehovah. The one true God. The points I will outline below are taken from a sermon by Phil Johnson at Grace Life Pulpit.
Before I begin, however, let me offer this consideration. If you want to know about someone you may not have direct access to, you ask people that know him. Just as a potential employer calls references for a candidate, or a customer reads reviews about a product or service before they buy, to find out about Jesus, the best source of information is that which was written about Him by his closest friends and disciples. Those who traveled with Him, learned from Him and captured His words day in and day out. Incidentally, those are the people God chose to use to write the books of the New Testament. They are the ones with the most direct knowledge. So let’s see what they, as well as various Old Testament (OT) writers, have to say about Jesus Christ.
This is going to be a Scripture-dense post, with some narrative between verses. Some verses I will quote in full, some I will merely drop references for additional study. The sermon from which these points were pulled is linked above if you prefer audio over reading.
Eight reasons Jesus is God
An important note for reading the Bible is the term “LORD.” It often appears, especially in the OT, with a capital “L” and smaller caps “O-R-D.” When you see that, it is an English translation of the Hebrew word for Yahweh (YHWH) or God. For this post, I will denote that as LORD.
1. The Old Testament predicted a Divine Savior
In Psalm 2, a messianic psalm, written centuries before Christ’s incarnation, we see the following verses.
“Worship the LORD (note, “LORD” refers to God, remember that) with reverence and rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that he not become angry, and you perish in the way.” Psalm 2:11-12
In that text, the writer uses parallel phrases, which are meant to be logical equivalents. Thus, the LORD and the Son are equivalents.
A few other messianic prophecies:
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6
It is worth noting that Isaiah gave this child these titles, and assigned capital letters for His pronouns, declaring divinity to Him in doing so.
But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” – Micah 5:2
From this passage we see Christ’s birth in Bethlehem predicted (again, long before it happened), as well as a clear statement that Christ is an eternal being.
2. Jesus is called Yahweh (YHWH)
Psalm 23:1 states, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.”
In John 10:11, 14, Jesus applies that title to Himself:
“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” – v 11
“I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know me.” – v 14
The prophet Joel, writing centuries before Christ, says this of the coming Savior:
“And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered…” – Joel 2:32a
After Christ’s death and resurrection, more than one New Testament author apply that promise to Jesus.
“And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.”
– Acts 2:21
That is a quote from Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, recorded by Luke in Acts.
“for ‘Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved'” – Romans 10:13 (the apostle Paul, also applying it to Christ).
3. Titles reserved for YHWH are given to Christ
The LORD speaks through the prophet Isaiah and on multiple occasions declares who He is. These declarations are freely applied to Christ throughout the New Testament. Just a few examples are below.
“I, even I, am the LORD and there is no savior besides Me.”
– Isaiah 43:11
“…looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” – Titus 2:13
“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God, who does not show partiality nor take a bribe.” – Deuteronomy 10:17
“These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with him are the called and chosen and faithful.” – Revelation 17:14
Examples for further reading:
Isaiah 44:6 –> Revelation 1:8 & Revelation 22:13
Zechariah 12:10 –> John 19:37
4. Jesus possesses all the incommunicable attributes of God
There is A LOT here, so I will just list the attributes and their supporting verses so you can read them on your own if you wish.
- Micah 5:2
- Revelation 22:13
- Matthew 18:20
- Matthew 28:20
- John 16:30
- John 21:17
- Revelation 2:23
- Philippians 3:21
- Hebrews 1:3
- Colossians 2:9 (this is a mic drop verse)
- Hebrews 1:10-12 (quotes the Psalms)
- Hebrews 13:8
5. Jesus does the works of God
- Created all things
John 1:3 – “And all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.”Colossians 1:16-17 – “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things have been created through him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”See also John 17:1-2 and Ephesians 1:22-23
- Forgives sin
See Matthew 9:2-7 and Mark 2:5-10
- Judges the dead
See Acts 10:42, 17:31; 2 Timothy 4:1
6. Jesus receives worship
The Bible makes it clear that only God is to be worshiped (Deuteronomy 6:13, 10:20). Therefore, to worship something other than God is idolatry. For someone other than God to accept worship is blasphemy. So when we see multiple examples in the New Testament of Jesus receiving worship, we have to conclude that either He was God, or that He was an idolater and blasphemer. Here are some citations.
Matthew 14:33 – His disciples
John 9:38 – The blind man He healed
Matthew 28:9 – The Marys
John 20:28 – Doubting Thomas
Hebrews 1:6 – The angels
John 14:1 – Jesus asserts Himself as the object of our faith
7. The Bible says Jesus is God
John 1:1-3: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
Note: some religions, to dilute or undermine Jesus as the one true God, claim that 1:1 says Jesus was a God. It is imperative to note that the article “a” does not appear in the original Greek manuscripts. Per Mr. Johnson, to translate it that way is not only bad Greek but bad grammar. Furthermore, if you insert that incorrect article and try to apply it to the rest of the chapter, that reading comes unraveled as non-sensical.
Hebrews 1:8 – God the Father calls Jesus “God.”
1 John 5:20
8. Jesus claimed to be God
Just as Jesus receiving worship would automatically allow us to discredit Him if He wasn’t God, if He claimed to be God and weren’t, He would be the worst of all blasphemers. We’ll see that He did, emphatically, claim to be God.
John 8:53-58 (verse 58 is the focal point)
John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”
And finally, an unmistakable claim of Deity:
John 8:24 – “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
If you’ve read this far, dear one, thank you. If you’ve honestly engaged with the words here, you will prayerfully come to realize that Jesus is the Christ, Savior, God, the prophesied Messiah. Crucified, resurrected, ascended to the Father, and returning soon to judge the world. What you choose to do with Jesus determines your eternal destiny. I pray you won’t take the decision lightly.
If you have any questions, let me know. I will do my best to answer them.