Is Jesus God?
To answer the above question we will look first at the humanity of Jesus. He was begotten in the womb of Mary which implies God is older. Mary was an ordinary human with parents and a cousin named Elizabeth who was the mother of John the Baptist. However, God is his father and in the Bible one of the titles of Jesus is the Son of God. As you read your Bible you will see that it always refers to him as the Son of God and never God the Son.
Jesus is the fulcrum of the Gospel and is promised throughout the prophets,
Psalms and much of the rest of the Old Testament.
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Romans 1:1-4)
It can be seen that the above verses are a précis of the history of Christ:
- he was promised as part of God's plan in the Old Testament
- he was made a physical human person (a descendant of David) through Mary
- the phrase "spirit of holiness" tells us of his perfect character
- he was resurrected, raised from the dead.
Jesus had to die to be resurrected. God cannot die.
James 1:13 states that:
Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
It is clear from this verse that God cannot be tempted and therefore cannot sin. Jesus was tempted (Mat 4:1-4):
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
If he had no struggle with sin then it implies that his time on this earth was pointless if he could not feel what we feel.
It is of interest to note that it was almost 300 years after the death
of Jesus that the Council of Nicea first put forward the idea of a trinity,
in what is now known as the Nicene Creed. One verse stands out in stark
contrast to the concept of a trinity and it is 1 Timothy 2:5 where it says
For there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
This was written after Jesus had ascended up into heaven and clearly refers to Jesus as a man.
There is a short verse, often quoted in isolation, which sometimes causes difficulty. It is John 10:30 where it says, "I and my Father are one." When you look at verse 33 of the same chapter you can see that the Jews also thought that he was claiming to be equal to God. Later events in John's gospel refute this. Jesus prayed for his disciples saying, "that they may be one, even as we are one." The implication is that the unity is not of a godhead but a unity resulting from sanctification through the word of God:
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. (John 17:14)
Further on, in John 17:20-23, the words indicate the development of a relationship between the disciples and Christ of the same manner as that which exists between the Son and the Father:
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:20-23)
The answer is a unity of divine purpose. Other passages in John's gospel record show that Jesus is not equal to God. In John 5:19 it says:
Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Still in John and in chapter 14:9 we find another verse that can cause some dispute because it says:
The words do not mean that those who saw him were seeing God. Earlier, in John 5:37, Jesus says, "...Ye have neither heard his (God's) voice at any time, nor seen his shape..." This cannot be the case if Jesus and God are one entity. Another useful verse in this context is 1Tim 6:16 where, talking about God, it says:
"...dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: ..."
Those who saw Jesus did not see the Father.
What Jesus was doing was to use the language of "God manifestation", something often used in the Old Testament. Designated representatives of God exercised His power in His name (Exodus 23:20-21). Jesus was the supreme manifestation of God in the flesh (1Timothy 3:16). God was seen through Jesus inasmuch as God had delegated power and authority to him.
From this it can be seen that Jesus is not God or a god - he was the Son of God, a man. Jesus and God are Son and Father, two separate entities but of one purpose and mind.
Jesus was a man born of a human mother and had the same physical nature we have. He faced the same temptations we face and, like us, had the propensity to sin. Unlike us, however, Jesus did not succumb to any temptation and did not sin, living his life in complete and utter obedience to God, his Father.
From passages earlier in this article it can be seen that the letter to Timothy refers to the man Christ Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew describes some of the temptations he had to face, temptations to which, as a man, he could have succumbed.
The most telling aspect of the life and humanity of Jesus Christ was his death. If Jesus was God, then how did he die?
We pray that reading this article will encourage you to continue to read your Bible and seek out the truth within its pages.