The deity of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth was, is and forever will be fully God. When I say that He is fully God I mean that He is divine (or Deity) like the Father, that is to say, He is one in essence and nature with God the Father and therefore He is without beginning and without end. Here are some Bible verses, taken from the New Testament, that clearly show that Jesus is God.
● John says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. …. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-3,14). Therefore, since the apostle John states that the Word was God and the Word was made flesh, we proclaim that God was manifested in the flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. The following words written in the book of Psalms: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made” (Psalm 33:6) confirm what John said, that is to say, that “the Word was God” (John 1:1), because we know that the heavens were made by God, as it is written: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
● Jesus said: “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). The meaning of these words is clear, isn’t it? He and the Father are God, even though they are two distinct persons. The unity between the Son and the Father (who are one God, but at the same time two distinct divine Persons) is like the unity between husband and wife, as it is written: “… and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) and again: “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:6 – NKJV), for it is evident that husband and wife are two distinct persons even though before God they have become one flesh. It is also like the unity between the saints and the Lord Jesus Christ, as it is written that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17 – NKJV), for this is a kind of unity which does not exclude the individuality and diversity of those who are joined to the Lord, for the Scripture does not mean that he who unites himself with Christ becomes the Spirit of God or that he merges into the Spirit of God or that he becomes Christ and thus God. If the above mentioned words of Paul meant that the saints have become God, the Scripture would contradict itself, for it teaches that a man, even after His conversion to Christ, continues to be a man, and his spirit continues to remain distinct from the Spirit of God, for Paul says to the Romans that “the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16 – NKJV). Therefore the unity existing between husband and wife, and also between a believer and the Lord, is a unity in the diversity. Some people say that the words of Jesus on His unity with the Father mean simply that the Son and the Father are one in agreement and purpose. But I ask you this question: ‘It that were the only meaning of those words of Jesus, why then did the Jews – immediately after Jesus spoke those words – pick up stones to stone him?’ Actually the reason why the Jews picked up stones to stone Jesus was another, that is, because Jesus with those words made Himself God. For it is written that the Jews said to Him: “For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:33). If Jesus by those words had meant simply that He and the Father were of one accord (or that He agreed with the Father), the Jews would not have tried to stone Him.
● Jesus said to the rich man who called Him “Good Master” (Mark 10:17): “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Now someone may ask: ‘Why do you quote this verse to prove that Jesus is God?’ Well, the reason is this, because Jesus did not refuse to be called ‘Good’, but He just asked that man why he called Him good, since only God is good. And therefore, since only God is good, the Master is God for He also is good. If Jesus were not good, certainly He would have told that man to call only God ‘Good’ (or not to call Him good), and thus He would have declared implicitly that He was only a man. However, He was good like the Father, because He was one in essence with God the Father. That’s why He did not refuse to be called good.
● Paul said to the Colossians: “It pleased the Father that in him [Christ] should all fulness dwell” (Colossians 1:19). And it is because in Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead that we have received from Him one blessing after another, for John says: “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:16). If in Christ had not dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead, we could not have received from Him salvation from sin, nor eternal life, nor peace or joy and the other blessings.
● The apostle Paul said to the Romans: “Whose [of the Israelites] are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:5). Therefore Jesus Christ, even though He was found in appearance as a man, is the eternally blessed God.
● The apostle Paul said to Titus: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13 – NKJV). Now the prophet Daniel called God “the great God”, for he spoke to king Nebuchadnezzar saying: “The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure” (Daniel 2:45); Jeremiah also called God ‘the great God,’ as he said: “Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name” (Jeremiah 32:18); and David acknowledged that only God is great, for he said: “For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5). Therefore if Paul called Jesus ‘our great God’ that means that he firmly believed that Christ was God. If Jesus were not God, and thus if he were not equal with God, Paul would not have called Him “our great God,” lest he should call a creature “God”, and thus lest he should commit the sin of idolatry. Remember that Paul was a Jew by birth and he knew very well that God had said: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), and therefore if Jesus were only a man he would not have dared to call Him “our great God”. Also the fact that Paul called Jesus Christ “our Saviour” shows that the apostle believed that Jesus was God. He knew that God had said through the prophet Isaiah: “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me” (Isaiah 45:21); however, he did not call only God the Father ‘our Saviour’ (he says to Titus: “But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour” [Titus 1:3], and to Timothy: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope” [1 Timothy 1:1 – NKJV], and again: “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” [1 Timothy 4:10]) but he called also His Son Jesus Christ ‘our Saviour,” as it is written in the epistle to Titus: “To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 1:4).
● The apostle Peter also called Jesus Christ “our God and Saviour,” for at the beginning of his second epistle he wrote: “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1 – NIV). Peter also knew that there is only one God and only one Saviour, yet he called the Christ, whom he knew in the days of His flesh, “our God and Saviour”, because he is indeed our God and our Saviour.
● According to the book of the Acts of the apostles, one day Paul spoke to the elders of the Church of Ephesus, saying to them among other things: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:28 – NKJV). Now Paul said that God purchased the Church with His own blood; that seems incredible, for we know that it was not God who died on the cross and shed His blood for us, but His only begotten Son. But if we examine this verse carefully and we compare it with other verses of the Scripture we will note that Paul with those words did refer to the Son of God and not to God the Father, for the Father, during the days of the flesh of His Son, was sitting on His throne in heaven. Remember that when Thomas said to Jesus: “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28), he acknowledged implicitly that his God had died on the cross, that He had shed His own blood to purchase us with it, and then He had risen again. But pay attention to this: Thomas did not mean that God the Father had died on the cross. I say this so that you may realize that there is always a clear distinction to be made between God the Father and God the Son. They are two Persons, united and of the same substance (that is to say, the Son and the Father are one in essence by nature) from eternity, yet at the same time they are different from one another and they must be mentioned separately in order not to confuse them (that is to say, in order not to confuse the Son with the Father and vice versa). In conclusion, according to the words of Paul, Jesus Christ is the God who has purchased His own Church with His blood.
● In the epistle to the Hebrews it is written: “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” (Hebrews 1:8). Also from these words it is evident that the Son is God.
● In this same epistle it is written: “And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him” (Hebrews 1:6). Now we know that the angels worship only God, as it is written: “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee” (Nehemiah 9:6). Therefore, since the angels know that only God is worthy to be worshiped (the angel of Jesus who appeared to John on the isle of Patmos, when he saw that John fell down to worship before his feet said to him: “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book, Worship God” [Revelation 22:9 – NKJV]) and they are commanded by God to worship the Son of God, it follows that Jesus Christ is God. If Jesus were not God, the Father would not have commanded His angels to worship Him.
● The apostle Matthew says that the wise men, “when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him….” (Matthew 2:11). These words attest that Jesus was God even when He was a young child, for those wise men who had come from the East worshiped Him, that is to say, they did something which can be done only toward God. The worship of men is due to God alone.
● The same apostle, at the end of the Gospel he wrote, says that after Jesus rose again, when He met the women, “they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him” (Matthew 28:9), and that the eleven disciples “went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him…” (Matthew 28:16-17). Now, since it is written in the law: “Thou shalt worship the LORD thy God, and him only shalt thou serve” (Matthew 4:10; cf. Deuteronomy 6:13), Christ was God. If the Son were not God, not only He would not have been worthy to be worshiped, but for sure He Himself would have rebuked both the women and His disciples when they worshiped him. Remember that Jesus did not hesitate to rebuke His disciples when they deserved to be rebuked: for example, He rebuked James and John when they asked Him if He wanted them to command fire to come down from heaven and consume those Samaritans who did not welcome Him because He was heading for Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-56); and He rebuked Peter for he did not want Him to suffer and to die (Matthew 16:22-23). Therefore if the women and His disciples, by worshiping Him, had committed the sin of idolatry, Jesus would have rebuked them and He would have said to them: ‘Worship God!’. So the fact that He accepted their worship confirms that Jesus was fully God.
● In the epistle to the Hebrews it is written: “But ye are come unto ….. God the Judge of all” (Hebrews 12:22,23). As you can see, in this verse God is called the Judge of all. But the Son also is the Judge of all, for Peter said about Jesus that “it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42 – NKJV). Therefore, since we know that judgement belongs to the Eternal One, that is, to the only true God, it is evident that Jesus Christ is God.
● Mark tells us that Jesus said to the paralytic who was carried by four men: “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mark 2:5). Then some scribes who were sitting there reasoned in their hearts saying: “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7). But Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, and “he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” (Mark 2:8-11). As you can see, Jesus Christ had power to forgive men their sins. So He must be God, because in the book of Psalms David says about God: “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases” (Psalm 103:3 – NIV), and he says to God: “Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5). If Jesus were only a man, then He would have blasphemed, but the fact is that besides being fully man He was also fully God, and thus He had authority to forgive men their sins. To His holy and blessed name be the glory now and forevermore. Amen.