The Deity of Christ

In my last post, I offered five evidences showing how the Bible teaches that Jesus is human. The humanity of Jesus is not all that controversial. It is generally accepted by most faith systems and even in mainstream secularism.

In this post, I want to offer Biblical evidences for Jesus’ identity as God the Son. The deity of Christ is a much more controversial issue. Even some groups who self-identify as Christian do not ascribe to the orthodox view that Jesus Christ is fully-God.

As I’ve asserted before, the Bible should be permitted to speak for itself. And when read plainly, it teaches that Jesus Christ is fully-God. He is God the Son, the second member of the triune God. Here are five evidences that show how the Bible teaches that Jesus is God.

1. Jesus had divine origins. While Jesus’ fetal development and growth into adulthood were typically human, his conception was not. The Scriptures claim that He was concieved in the womb of the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, clearly evidencing his divine origins (Luke 1). Also, as the eternal Word, he exists eternally, having neither beginning nor end, in fellowship with God (John 1).

2. Jesus performed miracles. Over and over again the gospels portray Jesus as healing the sick, exorcizing demons, commanding non-human nature, and even reviving the deceased. No mere mortal can calm a storm with a rebuke (Matt 8), cast out a legion of demons (Mark 5), or revive a man deceased for four days (John 11). The Bible provides these as evidence that Jesus is God.

3. Jesus claimed equality with God. Many people believe that the Bible never says Jesus claimed to be God. But Jesus identified himself as the Jewish Messiah (John 4), claimed oneness with the Father (John 10:30), and identified himself as the Son of God (Luke 22:70). In Judaism, these are claims of deity. Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, would have known this, yet he made such claims anyway, equating himself to God.

4. Jesus ascribed names of God to himself. Jesus not only claimed equality with God, but claimed names of God for himself. Two well-known Jewish titles for the God of Israel are “I Am” (Ex 3:14) and “the First and the Last” (Isa 44:6). Jesus elevated himself above Abraham, claiming the title “I Am” (John 8:58). And having died and risen to life, he also claimed to be “the First and the Last” (Rev 1:17–18, 2:8).

5. Jesus shares the essence of God. John 1:1 not only identifies the eternal Word as being with God, but also as having the nature of God. In the Greek, the anarthorous predicate nominative is not an indefinite noun (“a god”). It emphasizes the nature of the Word.[1] Thus, the Word has the same nature as God. Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 echo this idea, stating that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus Christ.

Does this solve all of the interpretive difficulties involved with understanding the person of Jesus Christ? Certainly not. But we need not solve every puzzle to observe what the Bible plainly teaches. The clear witness of the Scriptures is that Jesus is fully-God. He is God the Son—distinct from the Father and the Holy Spirit, but sharing the very same divine nature as a member of the Godhead. He exists co-equally and co-eternally distinct from, but in in perfect union with, the God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.

[1] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996), 45.

The Humanity of Jesus

There is no denying the breadth of impact Jesus Christ has had on the world. We need only look at recent news headlines or skim a grade level history book to recognize how far-reaching his influence has been during the last 2000 years.

But just who is this Jesus? Is he a fictitious myth? Or perhaps a first century spirit-person? Many efforts have been undertaken to reconstruct the so-called ‘historical Jesus’ and distinguish him from the alleged theological legend often referred to as the ‘Christ of faith.’ What many of these efforts have in common is an intentional disregard for the witness of the Scriptures.

But the Scriptures should be allowed to speak for themselves. Their witness concerning the person of Jesus Christ should not be arrogantly dismissed. This post is the first in a series about who the Bible says Jesus is. The rest of this post will focus on what is probably the least controversial topic of the series, the Humanity of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is a human being.

For all that he said and did, and for all the controversy surrounding what may or may not have happened 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ is a human being. And the Bible plainly teaches that he is fully-human. Here are some of the Scriptuiral evidences for his humanity.

1. Jesus experienced typically human birth and growth. Jesus was conceived as a human fetus, in the womb of a human woman, developed according to a typically human pregnancy, experienced human birth and circumcision, and grew as a normal human child (Luke 2).

2. Jesus had typically human needs and weaknesses. He experienced hunger (Matt 21:18), thirst (John 19:28), fatigue (John 4:6), sleep (Mark 4:38), agony (Luke 22:44), and death (John 19:33–34). Death, in particular, distinguishes him as a corporeal, temporal being.

3. Jesus experienced typically human emotions. As one  scholar notes, “Jesus expressed joy (John 15:11) and sorrow (Matt. 26:37); He showed compassion (Matt. 9:36) and love (John 11:5); and He was moved to righteous indignation (Mark 3:5).”[1]

4. Jesus possessed a human spirit. Jesus He was vulnerable to temptation, demonstrating his spiritually-human weakness toward sin (Luke 4:1–13; Heb 4:15). He also experienced exceedingly great sorrow in the depths of his soul when faced with physical death (Matt 26:38). Both traits are distinctly-human when considered within the context of all living creatures.

5. Even after the resurrection, Jesus was fully-human. Jesus’ resurrection body was the same body that was crucified. It bears the marks of his crucifixion (John 20:25–29). It is corporeal (Matt 28:9, John 20:17), being composed of “flesh and bone” (Luke 24:39), and able to eat and digest food (Luke 24:42–43).

The Bible plainly teaches that Jesus Christ was fully-human. Whatever else Jesus is, he is human. Sure, some of these traits are not exclusively human. But when these five evidences are considered together, the conclusion that Jesus is human is the most reasonable view. Even interpretative difficulties (like how Jesus didn’t sin and his resurrection body could supersede natural laws), do not preclude Jesus’ humanity. The witness of the Scriptures is that Jesus is truly—and fully—human.

[1] Walter D. III Draughon, “Incarnation,” in Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. by Chad Brand et al., (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 813.