There is more confusion around the person of Jesus Christ than any other figure in human history. While most people readily accept that Jesus was a man, many will become angry if you claim that He is more than a man.
But was He? And if so, what’s the evidence?
- First, Jesus understood himself to be divine. He claimed to be the eternal “I am” (compare Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58). He claimed equality with God (John 5:18; 10:30-33). He openly accepted worship (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38; 20:28) and often referred to himself as the ‘Son of Man’, a title that Daniel says of ‘…all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him.’ (Daniel 7:13-14). He forgave sin (Matthew 9:2; Luke 7:47-48). He even expected His disciples to pray in His name (John 14:13-14). He told the Pharisees; “if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24, NIV 1984).
- Second, the disciples believed Jesus was divine. Thomas called Him God (John 20:28). John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Matthew referred to Jesus as “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Paul wrote of Jesus, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). And that is just a mere sampling.
- Third, God the Father recognized the divinity of Christ. In Hebrews 1:8 we read, ‘But about the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.”’ In this verse the Father calls Jesus, His Son, “God.” Pretty powerful!
- Finally, the early church believed Jesus was divine. This is seen through their writings and creedal documents such as the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds. For example, the Chalcedonian Creed of AD 451 exclaims that Jesus is “truly God and truly man.” That is to say that He is one person with two natures: human and divine. He’s man, and He’s more than a man. He’s the God-man.
That’s the story of Jesus, attested to by His disciples, the Father, and church history. It’s the message that we should give with confidence to those around us.
(adapted from YouVersion Bible Plan, ‘One Minute Apologist “Who is Jesus?”, Day 1)