Is Jesus Really God?
Most people, at least those with a minimal amount of historical knowledge, would agree that Jesus is the most influential Person in human history. Those with a deeper understanding of history would even agree that he is the most extraordinary person who ever lived. No one has had the impact on world history that Jesus has had and continues to have.
But for unbelievers who acknowledge the historical Jesus it would be “out of bounds” to admit that He was and is God. Many secular people will tell you that their concept of Jesus is that of a “good teacher” or “wise man”.
However, it’s a little trickier when it comes to the “Christian” cults. A typical conversation with a Jehovah Witnesses or Mormon will have them inform you that the Bible states Jesus is a god, but that He is not The God. They will reassure you that they believe Jesus has somewhat of a divine aspect to Him, but that he is not God Almighty.
Following are a few of many examples that demonstrate that Jesus is God:
Old Testament Predicted Jesus would be God Isaiah 9:6
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The prophet Isaiah was prophesying approximately 700 years before the birth of Jesus that the Messiah to come would be the Mighty God. The Bible is clear throughout the Old and New Testament that there is only one true God. This verse can only be meant to be taken in context that the Messiah would be God. To further consolidate this point the Messiah to come would be everlasting or eternal. Only God is eternal. This matches to the book of Revelation where Jesus is referred to as eternal (Alpha and Omega and First and The Last) in the book of Revelation (Revelation 1:8, 1;17, 2:8, 21:6,22:13). Also, Micah 5:2 tells us the Messiah would be everlasting. And 1 John 1:2 tells us that Jesus is eternal.
Jesus Claimed to be God John 8:58
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Jesus used the term for the self existent, never changing and eternal God of “I AM”. This was a claim of Yahweh of the Old Testament (see Exodus 3:14, Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 41:4, 43:10.) Note that the Jews understood his claim to be Yahweh since in the next verse they took up stones to kill Him as this was a blasphemous statement. In addition, Jesus uses the same claim to be Yahweh in John 8:24 where he states, “Therefore I said to youthat you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”
Jesus agrees with the conclusion of Thomas that Jesus is God John 20:26-29
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Who would know better than a disciple of Jesus who saw and touched Him after his Resurrection? Thomas concluded that Jesus was Lord and God. Note that God is spelled with a capital G, as it is in the New World Translation. If Jesus was not God he would have corrected or rebuked Thomas for his conclusion as that would be blasphemy. Since Jesus was sinless (Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 1:18-19) he would not commit the sin of blasphemy. Jesus confirmed and commends the conclusion of Thomas.
Jesus is Worshipped
Matthew 14:33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
Matthew 28:9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.
Matthew 28:17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.
Hebrews 1:6 Let all the angels of God worship Him
Revelation 4:11 “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist[b] and were created.”
Revelation 5:13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:
“Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”
There are approximately 14 verses in the New Testament where Jesus is worshipped. For at least 8 of these verses the context demonstrates that the term worship is exactly as what it states. It is possible that the other 6 verses may mean to honor or be reverent. Nevertheless, we have provided clear verses that show Jesus was worshipped. And of course only God is to be worshipped. It would be blasphemous for Jesus to accept worship if he were not God. Even God the Father tells us in Hebrews 1:6 that the Son is to be worshipped. And in Revelation 5:13 the Father and Son are both receiving worship. Hence the Father and Son must both be God (part of triune Godhead) to receive worship as Isaiah 42:8 states that Yahweh will not give glory to anyone but Himself. The logical conclusion, Jesus is Yahweh if he receives glory as he does in Revelation 5:13. We also see this in John 17:5 where Jesus states: “ And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
New Testament writers stated Jesus was God – Philippians 2:5-11; Titus 2:13, Romans 9:5, Col 2:8-9
Philippians 2:5-11 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
For a being to be in the form of God they would have to be God, since there is only one God. Paul also writes that Jesus did not consider it to be a problem (robbery) to be considered to be equal to God, since He is part of the trinity. As well, only the one true God is to be worshipped and bowed down to. Here we read that God the Father commanded that everyone bow down to God the Son. This is quoting Isaiah 45:21 where every knee will bow and confess Yahweh. Note that this is being applied to Jesus. And lastly when Jesus is referred to as Lord in a religious sense, the Greek term “kyrios” is the word refers to “Yahweh”.1
Titus 2:13 “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ “
The apostle Paul refers to Jesus as God and Savior. The prophet Isaiah affirmed in the Old Testament that Yahweh would be both God and Savior (Isaiah 45:21: And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me.)
Romans 9:5 according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen
Similar to Philippians 2:5-11, Paul is telling the reader that Jesus was God who came in the flesh.
Colossians 2:8-9 NASB “ For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form”
Here we have a verse that plainly teaches that the fullness of God dwells in the person of Christ. God dwells in Christ because Christ is God. This verse compliments what we have seen with the previous three verses just reviewed demonstrating the New Testament writers state Jesus is God.
2 Peter 1:1 “To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ”
The Apostle Peter affirms in his own words that Jesus Christ is both God and Savior.
1st Century Church Fathers believed and taught Jesus was God
There are several early church fathers that believed Jesus was God. Next to the Apostles they would have the most credibility as to whether Jesus was actually believed to be God in early Christianity. We will review two of the earliest.
Ignatius (AD 35-107) was the bishop of Antioch in Syria and thought to be a disciple of John. He is most well-known for the seven letters he penned before his martyrdom at Rome and includes his belief that Jesus was God. He also wrote a letter to Polycarp. One of his quotes is “Jesus Christ our God” (Eph. 1; Rom. 1)2
Polycarp (AD 70-156) lived during the time of some of the 12 apostles. Early Church tradition holds that he was taught by the apostle John. He was an early church father and bishop of Smyrna. In his writings he refers to Jesus as “our Lord and God Jesus Christ” (Phil. 12) He too was martyred for his faith.