Posted by: Tim | November 30, 2009

That’s a Good Question #9: Was Jesus Really God?

“That’s a Good Question” #9 deals with the question of Jesus’ divinity. I really enjoy this topic as there are some interesting lines of evidence to explore that point convincingly towards Jesus being God.

That’s a Good Question #9

Jesus may have been a great prophet and teacher, but was He really God??

Jesus of Nazareth is perhaps the most well known person in history, and He is still very popular today. Many people today think highly of Jesus, even if they do not think highly of Christianity. They often believe that Jesus was a great prophet or a gifted teacher, but doubt that He was God.

Jesus lived on this earth for a little more than thirty years. He only devoted a few short years to His actual public ministry. Yet in this brief moment in time, Jesus changed the history of the world.  It should be noted that while some question whether or not He existed, there is really no reason to seriously doubt that He lived, as we have strong evidence from Christian and non-Christian sources, including one early creed that his often dated to within five years of His crucifixion.

Jesus certainly was a great prophet, having made several significant predictive prophecies that came true, including the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70, and the restoration of the city of Jerusalem to Jewish control, which occurred in 1967.

He was also a powerful teacher. His famous Sermon on the Mount is still considered by many to set the standard for human ethics. His parables like the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son are well known and appreciated even by those who do not consider themselves to be Christians.

So Jesus was indeed a great prophet and a gifted teacher, but do we have good reasons to believe that He was truly God?

First, we should consider Jesus’ personal claims to be God. When He was on trial before the high priest, He was asked directly about His identity, and admitted that He was God.  At other times, He claimed to forgive sin, which is something that only God can do, and He claimed to have personal authority over God’s laws.  He called Himself the “Son of Man”, a title that refers back to the prophecy of Daniel, who saw a vision of a Son of Man who had dominion over the nations. On several occasions, those who heard Him responded with outrage, accusing Him of blasphemy – an indication they clearly understood that He was claiming to be God. In fact, His opponents wanted Him to be killed for making these claims.

Now it is one thing to claim to be God, and entirely another to back it up. But Jesus provided strong evidence to support His claims. We have already mentioned Jesus’ prophecies and teachings, and we could spend time recalling his miracles, but there is other evidence as well.

First of all, He uniquely fulfilled hundreds of ancient prophecies, which were made hundreds of years before He was born. We have ancient manuscripts today that are dated before Jesus’ birth, which show beyond a doubt that these predictive prophecies were not written after the fact. His birthplace, His death, details surrounding His death, His resurrection, and His family lineage were all prophesied before He was born. These are specific prophecies that are hard to fake!

Secondly, God raised Him from the dead. In a past article, we looked at historical reasons to believe in the resurrection, such as the empty tomb and the multiple independent eyewitnesses, most of whom suffered and died for their belief in Jesus.

Jesus backed up His claims to be God, and this has serious implications for all of us. For if Jesus is God, then His message is true, and every person needs to carefully consider their response to Him. So what do you think? How do you respond to Jesus?

Tim Strickland is Senior Pastor of the Prairie Tabernacle. Questions and comments are welcome and can be sent to questions4tim@prairietab.com

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Responses

  1. You are making inferences into the scriptures. There’s way more evidence that Jesus is not God. Using your inferences propose huge conundrums. For example, Jesus died, therefore God died. Or before Jesus was handed over to the Romans, he prayed. Who did he pray to? My list can go on.

    Basically, the Bible never taught Jesus is God, and therefore this idea has become a doctrine taught by man, not scripture. The scriptures don’t need to be deciphered to teach something that some think is cryptic.

  2. Hi Jake

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    You’ll have to be more specific about the inferences you say I am making.

    Also your statement that “the Bible never taught Jesus is God” requires explaining away a lot of passages in the Bible. That would mean that you would need to decipher a lot of passages for people to prove your point.

    But that would refute what you said next: “The scriptures don’t need to be deciphered to teach something that some think is cryptic.”

    Blessings,
    Tim

  3. […] #9 Was Jesus Really God? […]


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