Is Jesus Really God?
According to His own purposes, the real God has oftentimes raised men of this world to positions of great power. Some of these ‘pawns’ of the true God have claimed that they themselves are gods. The claim itself proves such men to be nothing more than arrogant fools. A rational man observes the scope and complexity of creation, and very sensibly concludes that he is not the cause of such wonders. The fool has said in his heart that there is no God. The greater fool has said in his heart that he is God. The very idea that a man would claim to be the Creator God represents the height of arrogant insanity. As a side note, the mighty man who claims to be God is inevitably, and finally, proved to be the fool. His claims of godhood are soon buried with him in a tomb of death, where the worms consume his mortal flesh.
Yet in spite of the foolishness of the very thought of a man being God, the Old Testament foretold of the coming into the world of a man who would indeed be God. The New Testament gives details of the whole thing, and then describes the significance of it all. The idea that God became man is the theme of the Bible and the theme of salvation. It is the centerpiece of eternity. The Bible does not say that God came into the world in such a way that He just appeared to look like a man. The Bible does not say that God came pretending to be a man. The Bible declares that God really came into this world as a real man. He even came into the world in the very usual way that men come, in that He was born into this world, just like the sinners that He came to save. Yet His birth was most unusual, in that He was born of a virgin mother. He had no earthly father. God was His Father. The one who came was the Son of God.
Now who would have believed a young girl with such a story as that? Who can believe such a thing, even now? It might have been more believable if God had flown down on a bolt of lightning, or suddenly appeared out of a flaming whirlwind. Yet God chose to do the impossible, rather quietly and without much ado. The God, who fills eternity, entered the womb of a virgin. The God, who had created all, was born into the world as a babe. The whole thing does seem a bit far-fetched. The very idea of a God/man is quite unbelievable from start to finish, and the mental image of God as a helpless baby is indeed hard to swallow. From a rational standpoint, the story seems to border on bizarre.
So let us further explore the apparent contradictions in the paradoxes of the very thought of a God/man. To make matters even more conflicting, let us use the Bible itself to show the seeming impossibility of it all. First of all, think of the God that fills the universe. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. (Jer 23:24) The question was once posed as to how such an enormous God could possibly dwell on the earth. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee… (1Ki 8:27) So if God fills the expanses of the universes, and if God is so large that the earth cannot hold Him, then try to explain how God can be confined to a womb for nine months! Before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (Mat 1:18)
Ponder the Creator of all being made of a woman! This very Son of God is the Creator of all. For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth… (Col 1:16) How can the Creator of all, Himself be made? But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman… (Gal 4:4) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh. (Rom 1:3) And the Word was made flesh. (Joh 1:14) [Emphasis added in all.]
Think of the immutable God undergoing mitosis within the placenta! Jesus is none other than the unchangeable God. For I am the LORD, I change not. (Mal 3:6) The Bible says of Jesus: Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Heb 13:8) How can the unchangeable God start as one cell, and end up a child? How can God experience all the changes that go along with nine months in a womb? Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. (Psa 139:16)
Consider the idea that ‘Omnipresence’ walked! (Let that one soak in a second.) God is everywhere, at once, all the time. Whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Psa 139:7-8) If Jesus is God (and He is), and if Jesus is everywhere all the time (and He is), then it seems a bit unusual that Jesus would have to walk to get to where He already was. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee… (Joh 7:1) Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. (Luk 13:33)
Ponder the conflict in the idea that ‘Omniscience’ learned! God is omniscient. He knows everything about everything. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite. (Psa 147:5) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! (Rom 11:33) If Jesus is God (and He is), and if Jesus already knew everything about everything (and He did), how can it be possible for Jesus to increase in wisdom? And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luk 2:52) (This verse is unexplainable in more ways than one.)
How can ‘Limitless Strength’ grow weary? God is the all-mighty God, and Jesus is that mighty God. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God… (Isa 9:6) The all-mighty God never gets weary. Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? (Isa 40:28) Yet the man Jesus grew weary. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well. (Joh 4:6) Indeed, it seems strange to find God asleep. The Bible says of God: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. (Psa 121:3) Yet, the Bible says of Jesus, who was the all-mighty God: And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow. (Mat 4:38) How can this be?
His hands held the world, but He had nowhere to lay His head. God’s hands hold everything. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deu 33:27) Jesus maintains the whole creation. By him all things consist. (Col 1:17) Jesus holds all His people in His hands. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (Joh 10:28) Yet, while holding His world in His hands, and while holding His people in His hands, Jesus had no place to lay His head to sleep. And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Luk 9:58)
Do you not find it outlandish that God could be hungry and thirsty? God is the feeder of the birds. Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. (Mat 6:26) Yet God Himself was hungry. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. (Mat 4:2) Jesus is the one who gives living water. Jesus… answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. (Joh 4:10) Yet this same Jesus saith, I thirst. (Joh 19:28) The same God who rained manna in the wilderness, and the same Christ who was the rock that poured water for the multitudes, experienced hunger and thirst. Amazing indeed!
How can the God, who does whatever He is pleased to do, be troubled? Surely, God is God, and He does His pleasure. But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. (Psa 115:3) It is hard to envision the God who always does His pleasure being in a situation that would trouble Him. Yet the man, Jesus, was often troubled. He groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. (Joh 11:33) Now is my soul troubled. (Joh 12:27) When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit. (Joh 13:21) If Jesus was God (and He was), and if God does what He pleases (and He does), then why did Jesus not just fix whatever was troubling Him, and cease from His troubles?
Do you find it a bit confusing that ‘Sovereignty’ sighed? Jesus is the sovereign King of heaven and earth. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psa 33:9) Yet this sovereign ruler over everything came to a point where He sighed. And looking up to heaven, he sighed. (Mar 7:34) People sigh in despair, when they do not know where to turn, even when they do not have the answers. How can this be of God? How can the real God ever come to the point of a sigh?
Is it not a bit confusing how ‘Omnipotence’ could ever come to tears? Jesus is omnipotent. He has all power. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. (Mat 28:18) Yet, Jesus wept. (Joh 11:35) At another time, Jesus prayed to His Father and wept bitterly. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death. (Heb 5:7) How can the God, who has all power to fix anything, ever experience strong crying and tears?
It seems impossible that the Almighty would ever say, “If it be possible.” God is all-mighty. I am the Almighty God. (Gen 17:1) Jesus Himself spoke the words. With God all things are possible. (Mat 19:26) Yet the God, Jesus Christ, groaned the words: ‘if it be possible’. If it be possible, let this cup pass from me. (Mat 26:39)
How can the all-wise God ask, “Why?” God understands everything. God has all wisdom in all things. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge… (Col 2:3) Surely God knows all the ‘whys’ to all the situations. Yet Jesus, who is God, asked “Why?” My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Mat 27:46)
Who can constrain God? None can stay his hand. (Dan 4:35) Do you find it a bit contradictory that a man-made nail held the hand that none could stay? In his hands the print of the nails… (Joh 20:25) How can such a thing be?
Perhaps the most contradictory of all the paradoxes concerning the God/man Jesus Christ is how ‘Eternity’ can die. Jesus is the God who encompasses eternity. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) Yet how can He which is eternal die? When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. (Joh 19:30) The Bible further says: For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. (Rom 5:6) The wonder of salvation is that Jesus would die for sinners! Perhaps the bigger wonder is that Jesus could die for sinners!! In the whole scheme of things, perhaps Jesus’ death is as big a miracle as His resurrection! How can ‘Eternity’ die?
After considering all these impossible to explain paradoxes in the whole idea of God being man, you might think that I do not believe in such an irrational absurdity. Yet, as I go back to the Bible and look at the details about this man Jesus, I find a fact that I cannot ignore, even a truth that absolutely convinces me to believe what common sense says cannot be. What if this man, Jesus, did what the arrogant fool could not do? What if this man Jesus saw no corruption? Oh, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let us first tell the story of this man, Jesus.
At about the age of thirty, this Jesus began to prove Himself to be very special. His many miracles drew attention from far and wide. At His command, the devils would flee, and the blind could see. He touched the untouchable lepers, and they were cleansed. He spoke to the deaf, and they could hear. At His word, the dumb could speak, the lame could leap, and the dead did rise. Yet beyond His miracles, never man spake like this man. (Joh 7:46) He taught them as one having authority. (Mat 7:29) The people flocked to Him, to experience His miracles, and to hear His words. All was going very well, except this Jesus kept bringing up the idea that He was really God. I and my Father are one. (Joh 10:30) He that hath seen me hath seen the Father… (Joh 14:9) And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me. (Joh 12:45) The so-called religious men of the day hated Jesus for His claims that He was God. Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God. (Joh 5:18) As it turned out, Jesus confession to being the Son of God was the so-called crime for which He was crucified. But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am. (Mar 14:61-62) And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him unto Pilate. (Luk 22:71-23:1) In their minds such a claim was blasphemy, and for the so-called crime that Jesus had claimed to be God, they crucified Him.
One of the strange things about Jesus’ crucifixion is that Jesus had known about it all along. He had often spoken of it, repeatedly telling His followers that He would be crucified. In some ways Jesus even set the stage for His own crucifixion. As the time drew near, Jesus told His followers that He must go to Jerusalem, so that it would happen. Yet there was more to it than just being crucified. Jesus had also repeatedly told His followers that He would be buried for three days, and that He would raise Himself from the grave.
Remember the arrogant fool who claimed to be God. Remember how everybody had the last laugh when he was buried in a tomb of death, where the worms consumed his mortal flesh. Now what would you have thought of a man, who not only claimed to be God, but repeatedly declared that He would prove it by raising Himself from the dead? Common sense says that only a fool would make such claims. You might have assumed that Jesus was a fool, until He did it. A self-resurrection can change peoples’ minds. When the one who had made such claims really did raise Himself from the grave, you would have been compelled to conclude that this man, Jesus, was not a fool at all. He must be what He claimed to be, even Whom He claimed to be. Jesus is God.
Jesus really did raise Himself from death. If not, the scoffers would have stopped it all by simply presenting His dead body. Nobody stole His body. First of all, His discouraged and fearful followers immediately went into hiding. Secondly, Roman soldiers stood guard at His sealed tomb. Over five hundred witnesses testified to the fact that Jesus arose. The reality of resurrection changed people. After seeing resurrection, Jesus’ cowardly companions found new courage. They died as martyrs, because they refused to stop preaching the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, and the truth that this Jesus was God. Resurrection turned the world upside-down.
When Jesus raised Himself from death, many began to believe. I believe too. I say that Jesus must be the God that He claimed to be. If He got the raising Himself from the dead part right, I firmly believe that He must have been right about all His other claims. I believe Jesus’ claim that He is God. I also believe His claim that He will give eternal life to His people. I believe in the God/man, Savior Jesus Christ. I cannot understand or explain how a man can be God, but I conclude that the man, Jesus, truly was, and is, God. Even though the idea of a God/man is more easily rejected as impossible, than accepted as truth, I choose to believe it, simply because the Bible says it is so. Since the Bible proves itself to be truth in so many ways, and since Jesus proved Himself to be God through His self-resurrection, I choose to believe what the Bible says (and what Jesus said) about Jesus truly being God.
Now let us further look at the Bible to determine what it declares about the idea of the God/man, Jesus Christ. Here is the most straightforward verse in all of scripture to express the truth that Jesus is God. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (1 Joh 5:7) There is no doubt that Jesus is the Word. The Bible says: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Joh 1:1) There is no doubt that the Word became a man. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. (Joh 1:14) There is no doubt that the Bible declares that Jesus is God.
The voice of the Father twice proclaimed that Jesus was His Very Son. This happened once at Jesus’ baptism: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mat 3:17) It happened again on the Mount of Transfiguration: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. (Mat 17:5)
The Bible declares Jesus to be the Creator God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (Joh 1:3) And in another place: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth. (Col 1:16) Jesus is God.
The Bible proclaims that ‘God’ laid down His life for us. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us. (1Jn 3:16) [Emphasis added.] Surely Jesus is the ‘God’ who laid down His life. The Bible further says that God’s people are looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. (Tit 2:13) [Emphasis added.] The Savior Jesus Christ is who Christians are looking for to come back, and that Jesus is here called the great ‘God’. There is no doubt that these verses declare Jesus to be ‘God’.
The Bible even directly calls the Son, ‘O God’. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. (Heb 1:8) The Bible further proclaims Jesus to be ‘God with us’. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emanuel which being interpreted is, God with us. (Mat 1:23) Jesus is God.
The Bible proclaims Jesus to be the mighty God, and even to be the Father. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isa 9:6) Jesus is one with the Father. Jesus is God.
The Bible declares Jesus to be the exact likeness of God. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person… (Heb 1:3) Thus Jesus did not take any glory from God by claiming to be God. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God… (Php 2:6) The Bible further says that in Jesus was everything that is God. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (Col 2:9) If Jesus had all the fullness of God in Him, then there is no part of God that Jesus does not fully contain. Jesus is God.
God claimed the name, ‘I Am’. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exo 3:14) Jesus likewise took the name, ‘I Am’. Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (Joh 8:58) Jesus is that I AM. Jesus is God.
Some might find it surprising that the Old Testament often used the Hebrew name, YHWH, to speak of the Jesus that was to come into the world. YHWH is equal to the name, Jehovah. YHWH is translated LORD, with all capital letters in our Bible. Here is one of many examples where Jesus is called Jehovah. I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. (Isa 49:26)
Thus, the Bible considers Jesus to be one with God, equal with God, and even God. Jesus is called God, Emmanuel (God with us), and even Jehovah. There is no doubt that the Bible undeniably proclaims these things to be truth. We can choose to believe what God has revealed about Himself in His word, or we can choose to believe only what the finite mind can reason out. The Three-in-One God is no doubt past what a finite mind can comprehend. The idea of God being a man is likewise impossible to understand and explain. Yet by the gift of faith, we can believe what we cannot understand. I firmly believe that Jesus is God.