Where you stand on this question is vitally important. How you view Jesus determines the way you will live your life. If someone does not believe that Jesus is God, they cannot be saved from Hell and cannot call themselves a Christian (this includes Jehovah’s Witnesses & Mormons & other cults). If it sounds like I am being harsh or cold, it is because the answer to this one question changes everything. If He is God, then He demands daily worship & not to be neglected. If He is not God, then forget about Christianity altogether & you can go on living your life however you want.
What Do The Skeptics Say?
Many skeptics & cults today believe that Jesus never claimed to be God. They do not believe there is anything in the Bible to suggest that He was God. They may not deny that Jesus of Nazareth is a historical figure who actually lived 2000 years ago; however, there was simply nothing divine about Him, according to them.
The skeptics are usually willing to accept that Jesus taught many good things like “love your neighbour as yourself” & “love your enemies.” Jesus had many good moral teachings which should lead us how to live good moral lives. It was very kind of Jesus to feed the poor and care for the destitute. Skeptics can agree that Jesus was a good guy & a good teacher without accepting that He is God. He would be up there with people like Gandhi, Mother Theresa, Buddha, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Cults of Christianity may take their views of Jesus a step further and suggest that there was something divine about Him. He was called things like the “Son of God” but that did not mean He was God. They may even say that He deserves worship (but why would He deserve worship if He’s just another good guy?)
If we are to get an accurate picture of this person Jesus, we can look at sources outside of the Bible which show that at least He thought He was God & so did a number of other people in the 1st century AD. However, if we want the most accurate picture of Him, we must look at the earliest sources written about Him; namely, the New Testament in the Bible.
What Does The Bible Say?
I should start by affirming that the skeptics are right when they say that Jesus never utters the words “I am God.” However, this does not add or subtract from the case that He still claimed to be God. As a Jew, using God’s name was a big deal & He simply would not have uttered the words “I am God” in that culture. This is part of the reason we never see those words recorded in Scripture. Rather, we often see Jesus claiming the attributes of God found in the Old Testament
All Scripture references below are hyper-linked so you can check each one out for yourself.
Jesus is speaking to a primarily Jewish audience, and they understood His claims to deity quite clearly. In Mark 2:1-12 & Luke 5:17-26, they see Jesus forgiving the paralytic of his sins and ask “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Such statements as “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58) would also have been clearly understood by the predominantly Jewish audience.
In Luke 18:18-30, a rich young ruler comes to Jesus and calls Him “good teacher” much like many popular skeptics and cultists today. Jesus corrects the man in verse 19 by saying “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Jesus does not leave a “good moral teacher” as an option to us. Either He is God or He is a sinner like the rest of us. Jesus was, however, without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). No one was able to convict Him of sin (John 8:46).
It is interesting that Jesus was quick to correct this man’s false view; however, Jesus received worship as God & He did not correct those who worshiped Him (Matthew 2:2, 11; 4:10; 14:33; 28:9; Luke 24:52; John 9:35-38; 20:28; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:6). Indeed, they even prayed to Jesus (Acts 7:55-60; Romans 10:13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2).
Furthermore, John 1:1, 14 says “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father…” These passages show us a clear understanding that Jesus is God in the flesh.
Why Did They Kill Jesus?
If you’re a skeptic that does not believe that Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh, then I would recommend pondering the question: “Why did they kill Jesus?
- Did they kill Him for the miracles He did? No.
- Did they kill Him for healing people? No.
- Did they kill Him for casting out demons? No.
- Did they kill Him for teaching people? No.
The word “blasphemy” to a Jew meant to either curse God or make yourself equal with God by claiming His attributes. Why did they kill Jesus? Because He claimed to be God (John 10:30-33; Matthew 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65)
- John 10:30-33 “I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
Why Does This Topic Matter?
Provided you’re still reading this & you may have even checked out some of the quoted verses for yourself, here are 7 reasons why the question “Is Jesus God?” really matters for you:
- If Jesus is God, then He really rose from death & Christianity is true
- If Christianity is true, it is the most important thing that has ever existed in the history of the universe & in our world today. If it is not true, it is the least important thing to have ever existed & we’re wasting our time talking about it.
- If you do not believe that Jesus is God, you reject one of the fundamental core teachings of Christianity & cannot consider yourself a Christian
- If you do not believe that Jesus is God, you cannot go to Heaven (John 14:6; Acts 4:12)
- If Jesus is not God, then He is a liar (because He claimed to be God) or He’s crazy (because He claimed He was God & would rise from death). Lying is not good & craziness may cause us to question anything He taught at all
- If Jesus is God, we should daily worship Him as such & live for Him
- If Jesus is God then there is hope. He is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). There is hope because He beat the grave and He promises that you will also conquer death one day when you go to Heaven (Romans 8:35-39; 1 Corinthians 15:12-21). Through our sufferings there is hope that we will one day be alive with Christ.
Good news: Jesus is God.
– Tyson Bradley