Why is it important?
Why is it important that Jesus was and is God? Why couldn’t
He just have been a prophet, an angel, or even just a really good, maybe even
the best, person?
The punishment of a crime or sin is primarily determined by
two factors: 1) The horror of the sin itself and 2) The value of object that it
is committed against.
Imagine that you take an ordinary rock and smash it with a
hammer. You, in a sense, sinned against that rock. But because an ordinary rock
has no real value, you wouldn’t suffer any punishment for that act. There would
be no debt to pay.
But then suppose that kill a man. Because a man has value
you would be sent to prison to pay the penalty for your crime. But once you
paid off that debt then you would be free to leave the prison and you would
have no more obligations to pay.
In the second case the punishment is greater because the
object of your sin is of more value.
Then suppose you commit a sin against God. God is of
infinite value so your punishment would likewise be infinite. But the only
thing that we have that is infinite is our time and so it would take us an
eternity in Hell to pay off any one sin.
So the only way to pay off an infinite debt with something
less than an eternity of time would be by someone with infinite value. They
could offer their infinite value as payment for an infinite debt. But people,
prophets, and even angels do not have infinite value. Only God has infinite
value. And so only God could pay off an infinite debt in less time than
eternity and the only way that He could do that would be to offer Himself.
Therefore, in order for Jesus to be able to pay off our sins on the cross and
then resurrect three days later He would have to be God. If He wasn’t, then He
would still be in the ground paying for our sins and would be doing so for
The Crucifixion is the funneling of
billions of sins from all of mankind’s past, present, and future history onto
the only person who ever walked upon the Earth sinlessly and in full obedience
to the Father. He took all of our eternal punishments, was forsaken by His
Father, and died. Then three days later His Resurrection proved that the Father
was satisfied with Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. We are rescued, we are
redeemed, and we are raised up. The One who was all, gave all, so that I might
be forgiven of all.
No one other than God would be able to carry the sins of the
Isaiah 53:5 states, “But He was pierced
through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
Keil and Delitzsch in their “Commentary on the Old
Testament” say for the word “pierced”: “There were no stronger expressions to
be found in the language, to denote a violent and painful death.” They further
state, “the meaning is not that it was our sins and iniquities that had pierced
Him through like swords, and crushed Him like heavy burdens, but that He was
pierced and crushed on account of our sins and iniquities.” That word “crushed”
means to break into small pieces and designates the most severe inward and
outward suffering. Whereas our sins made us sick (“by His scourging we are
healed”); those very same sins caused Jesus to be crushed. All of the weight,
justice, punishment, and wrath of God the Father fell brutally upon Jesus. It
is only by the mercy of God that we can bear our own sins. Jesus bore the sins
of billions of people all at once and without even a sliver of God’s mercy. No
person or angel could have borne that and survived. Only God could have carried
all of our sins on the cross.
The person who paid the penalty for our sins had to be
perfectly sinless and holy because if they had any sin, even one, then they
would have had to pay for their own debts and would not have been able to pay
off anyone else’s. Only God is perfectly sinless and holy.
So we see that no one other than God could have taken on the
sins of the world, fully bore them, paid the full debt for each and every sin
for all of the billions of people who will ever live and still have been able
to live again. The only One who could have done that is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is God
What do the Scriptures say about Jesus being God?
First we will discuss His part in the Trinity.
The word “Trinity” means Tri-unity or three-in-oneness.
The Trinity is three persons as one God. It is not three
Any analogy will fall short but here are a couple.
A book has height, width, and thickness. All three are
different and yet all three are connected and are necessary to form one book.
If you take away one of these then you no longer have a book.
Another analogy is ourselves, in a way. We each have a body,
soul, and spirit. Each is separate and yet the three together form one and only
Though, of course, the word “Trinity” is never used in
Scripture we can see some strong illusions to it.
One of the classic verses is Matthew 28:19.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy
“Name” is singular. There are three
persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit--but only one name.
Genesis 1:26a, “Then
God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.” “Us” and
“Our” in the Hebrew is plural.
2 Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord
Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be
with you all.” Here in this one verse the three members of the Trinity are
Scriptures that explicitly refer to the deity of Jesus
Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the
fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
The word “fullness” (plerooma)
means “that which is brought to fullness or completion, sum total, fullness.”
So you can read this verse as “For in Jesus all of the sum total of deity
dwells in bodily form.”
Titus 2:13, “looking for the blessed hope
and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Here
we read Paul referring to Jesus as both God and Savior.
Hebrews 1:8, “ But of the Son He says,
throne, O God, is forever and ever, And
the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.’”
Here, God [the Father], in verse 1, is the
Jesus did claim to be God
this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things
on the Sabbath.
He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I
Myself am working.”
this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because
He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father,
making Himself equal with God.
Jesus spoke of the angel of God to be His
In Luke 12:8-9 and Luke 15:10 Jesus refers
to “the angels of God.”
And then in Matthew 13:41a, “The Son of Man will send forth His angels.” Jesus refers to them as
The angels of God are the same as Jesus’
Hebrews 1:3a, “And
He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature…”
“Exact representation” means “the
exact expression ... of any person or thing, marked likeness, precise
reproduction in every respect.” So Jesus reflects and is God in every possible
who, although He existed in the form of
God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a
bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled
Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
“Form” in the Greek means “the essential attributes as shown
in the form.” Before He became a man, Jesus was the very essence of God and
then He became the very essence of a bond-servant. Before the incarnation He
was fully God and then after the incarnation He was fully God and man
(bond-servant). But Jesus did not feel that being God and only God was
something that He had to hold onto (grasp). Therefore, He was able to humble
Himself and allow the Creator to become the created.
God tells us to have this same attitude (verse 5). We like
to cling to our money, to our popularity, to our power and prestige. We resent
anyone who suggestions that we do otherwise or anyone who puts us into the
position to do that. Yet if Jesus had this same attitude then He would have
refused to leave Heaven and we would all die in our sins.
says the Lord, the King of Israel
and his Redeemer, the Lord of
hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me.”
Revelation 1:17 Jesus said, ““Do not be afraid; I am the first
and the last,”
how the OT God and Jesus both claim to be the “first and the last”? There can
only be one “first and last” and in both cases it is the same God.
14:1 Jesus says, “believe in God, believe also in Me.” Notice how Jesus
juxtaposed believing is God with believing in Himself.
verse 9 we read, “Jesus *said to him, “Have
I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip?
He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the
Father’?” Jesus says that He displayed all of characteristics and attributes of
God the Father and that by seeing one you will indeed see the other. They are
mirror images of each other.
10:30 Jesus states, “I and the Father are one.”
course, there is John 1:1, 14
the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
statement here is that “the Word was God.”
the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of
the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
the Word became flesh.” The Word was God and then became flesh.
Jesus has the attributes of God
Jesus is omnipresent
Omnipresence means that someone is
everywhere at the same time. Only God is omnipresent.
Ephesians 4:10, “He who descended is
Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill
Jesus fills all things.
Matthew 18:20, “For
where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their
Jesus dwells in the hearts of all who put
their faith in Him. The true church is everywhere across this planet. So is
Ephesians 3:17, “so
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being
rooted and grounded in love.”
Again, Jesus dwells in the hearts of all
believers. Not a concept of Christ. No a theory or principle of Christ. But
Revelation 3:20, “Behold,
I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I
will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”
Because Jesus is God… It means that we never
have to wait in line to talk to Him. He does not sit in a chair with millions
of people holding deli tickets waiting for their number to be called. He can
handle everyone in the world all at once.
Because Jesus is God… We do not have to go
to a church or some special place to find Him. He is there in our times of
elation. He is there in our times of discouragement and depression. He is there
when we are in our worst sin. When we are driving to work He is there. When we
are walking up the stairs He is there. When we are asleep He is there.
Jesus is omnipotent
Omnipotence means that someone is all-powerful. He can do
anything and everything.
Colossians 1:16-17, “For by Him [Jesus] all things were created, both in the
heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or
rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He
is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
Because Jesus is God… He has the resources
to do what is right. He will never send anyone away with a “Sorry, but I wish
you the best of luck.” He is the creator of all. If He needs to provide
something, anything, He can do that. If a heart needs to be changed, He can do
that if it is in everyone’s best interests.
Jesus is omniscient
To be omniscient means to know everything
from all time and all places. It also means knowing all that could have been
Colossians 2:3, “in
whom [Jesus] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
Notice “all” of the treasures of wisdom and
Because Jesus is God… He knows what the best
thing to do is. He never guesses. He never says, “Oops.” He knows everyone’s
heart perfectly. He knows everyone’s thoughts and desires perfectly.
Jesus is sovereign
Sovereignty means that someone is the head
and ruler over all.
Colossians 2:10, “and
in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and
Because Jesus is God… Nothing can thwart
His decisions. If He is for us then who can be against us?
Jesus is eternal
To be eternal means that someone has no being or end. They
existed into the past forever and will exist into the future forever.
Micah 5:2 in referring to the Messiah states,
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”
The Messiah’s days were from eternity past.
Isaiah 9:6 also speaking of the Messiah
For a child will be born to us, a son will
be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
The Messiah, Jesus, is the “Eternal Father.”
Also, notice, of course, that Jesus is called “Mighty God.”
In John 8:56-59 Jesus is talking to the
56 Your father Abraham
rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty
years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus
said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before
Abraham was born, I am.” 59 Therefore
they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of
If Jesus was merely a long-lived person who
was around before Abraham He would have said “before Abraham I was.” But
instead He said “Before Abraham I am.” He uses the present tense. Jesus is the
ever-present One who lives simultaneously in all of time. He is the great “I
This harkens back to Exodus 3:14 where
Moses asks God for His name and God responds, “]I AM WHO I AM”; and
He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
The Pharisees recognized Jesus was calling
Himself by YHWH’s name and so tried to stone Him for blasphemy.
Because Jesus is God… We can trust that He
knows and lives in the future and so nothing will surprise Him.
Jesus is immutable
To be immutable means unchanging.
Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the
same yesterday and today and forever.”
Jesus is the same always. You might say,
“Well, Jesus went from being God to being God/man. That certainly was a big
change.” But this is referring to character. Whether as God or as God/man,
Jesus always had the same sinless, holy character. His lovingkindness,
faithfulness, compassion, love, peace, joy, etc. never changed.
Because Jesus is God… We can be assured of
His consistency. We do not have to worry what kind of mood He is in. We do not
have to worry that something ticked Him off and He is going to take it out on
us. We, instead, can be assured of His everlasting love and faithfulness.
Some objections to Jesus’ Deity
Some cults or other non-Christian religions try to use
Scripture to prove that Jesus really is not God. Here are a few of them and their
The Father is greater
John 14:28, “…for the Father is greater than
Jesus spoke this during the time when He
emptied Himself and took on the form of a bond-servant (Philippians 2:7). At
that time, the Father had a greater position being still on the throne in
Heaven while Jesus walked among sinners in human flesh.
Am I good?
Luke 18:19, “And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”
Jesus never denies that He is God nor that
He is good. He is simply challenging the rich, young ruler. “You say that I am
good. Only God is good. Are you therefore calling me God? Do you understand who
you are addressing?” The context is the ruler asking Jesus about inheriting
eternal life. The story ends with Jesus saying, “The things that are impossible
with people are possible with God.” Jesus is tying the entire conversation
together. It is as though He said, “You are asking Me about how to get eternal
life. This is impossible for you to get. Only God can give eternal life.
Recognize that I am God. Don’t ask Me a philosophical question. Ask Me to give
you eternal life.”
In John 10:11 Jesus says, “I am the good
shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.” So in this verse
Jesus does refer to Himself as good.
Jesus’ head is God and Jesus is in submission to Him
1 Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to
understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a
woman, and God is the head of Christ.”
1 Corinthians 3:23, “and you belong to
Christ; and Christ belongs to God.”
1 Corinthians 15:28, “When all things are
subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who
subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.”
Of course Jesus had to be in subjection to
and under the authority of the Father; otherwise, Jesus would not have been
able to allow the Father to put all of the sins of world onto Him (2
Corinthians 5:21, “He [the Father] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to
be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in
The Greek word in 1 Corinthians 15:28 for
“subjected” is the same word used in Luke 2:51a, “And He [Jesus] went down with
them [Mary and Joseph] and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to
them.” Jesus was not inferior to His parents nor was He not human like His
parents. He was merely under their authority while He was a child.
Why was it important that we recognize
Jesus as deity? For one, it proves that He was not just another of the great
spiritual teachers and prophets. We do not group Jesus in with Buddha,
Mohammed, Confucius, Socrates, Moses, and Abraham. They are all not just
different prophets for different times and places. Jesus stands above. Not just
because He is better, but because He is the One who created all of the rest and
even held them together (Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and
in Him all things hold together”). Some may say that the others were the
founders of great religions. But, at this very moment, they are all bending the
knee before the King of Kings. Jesus was not the creator of a
new religion; He Himself is, indeed, the religion.