[Jesus said, ] “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him….John 10:30-31
Is Jesus Really God?
In the Explore God Chicago 2019 series of messages, this question is one that many people struggle with. Even Christians.
Faith – believing in something that cannot be seen or cannot be proven with tangible, concrete evidence – is the only way one can come to a truly positive answer to this question.
Even life-long Christians struggle with what exactly it means that Jesus is God.
The Biblical Evidence
There are about four hundred prophecies in the Old Testament of the Bible about the Son of God. The prophecies predict or foretell the Messiah as to where he would be born, what family he would be born into, and what he would do.
Jesus of Nazareth – and his followers – claimed that he fulfilled them all.
In addition, he further claimed that he was God, as recorded in John 8 and John 10.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him….
30 I and the Father are one. 31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him….
The reaction from “the Jews” in John’s Gospel tell us that Jesus’ claim was clearly that he was God.
Now here’s the problem with this evidence. It is in the Bible. I understand – and appreciate – that the vast majority of you have no problem with this aspect of the evidence. The Bible is trusted as the inerrant and inspired Word of God.
But that isn’t the case with the majority of people today. We take for granted “thus saith the Lord.” However, n’early 75% of Americans polled do not believe that the Bible is the literal Word of God.
It isn’t much of a leap to conclude that since that is the case, answering our question, “Is Jesus Really God?” based only on Biblical evidence is not going to be very conclusive.
Within 70 years of Jesus’ life, many thousands of people claimed to be Christians.
This was noted by several reputable sources of the time.
Roman Historian Tacitus – who lived from about 56 A.D. to about 120 A.D. – indicates that Emperor Nero blamed the fire of Rome in A.D. 64 on the Christians.
Roman Governor Pliny the Younger – who lived 61 A.D. to 113 A.D. – wrote to Emperor Trajan asking what to do with a “great multitude” of Christians.
Jewish historian Josephus – who lived 37 A.D. to 100 A.D. – wrote an exhaustive history of the Jews, culminating with the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and mentions Jesus as part of that history.
It cannot be rationally argued that Jesus did not exist.
And the results of Jesus’ existence certainly had a dramatic impact on the history of the world.
Peter Kreeft muses: “Why did thousands suffer torture and death for this lie if they knew it was a lie?” “What force sent Christians to the lions’ den with hymns on their lips? What lie ever transformed the world like that?” [Peter Kreeft and Ronald Keith Tacelli, Handbook of Catholic Apologetics: Reasoned Answers to Questions of Faith (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2009), 165]
Aquinas argues, “If the Incarnation did not really happen, then an even more unbelievable miracle happened: the conversion of the world by the biggest lie in history and the moral transformation of lives into unselfishness, detachment from worldly pleasures and radically new heights of holiness by a mere myth.”
Because of His own testimony about Himself, Jesus is either God or a fraud. There is no logical middle ground. Jesus demonstrated His deity through prophecy, teaching, and the resurrection.
But more than that, Jesus showed that he was God when he died on the cross to forgive all the sin of all people of all time. He also showed that he was God when he rose from the dead to give us new and eternal life. Even though we – most likely – will die some day, we who die believing in Jesus Christ will rise to eternal life with him in heaven.
Is Jesus really God?
Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?
I believe C.S. Lewis said it best:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God.” [C. S. Lewis. Mere Christianity. London: Fount, 1997.]
Heavenly Father, I have been presented with evidence that Jesus is God. I pray that you will help me to believe this with faith that comes from you. I also pray that Jesus being God will change my life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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