Summary: Is Jesus God? Or was Jesus simply a good man, prophet, teacher, or religious leader? No, he was much more than a man. Jesus was—and is—also God. This Bible study quotes many verses that show us that Jesus is God. The divinity of Jesus is one of the foundational truths of the Christian faith and is key to our reconciliation with God.
Summary: Is Jesus God? Or was he simply a good man, prophet, teacher, or leader? Jesus was—and is—God.
Is Jesus God?
When he walked on the earth, Jesus was—and still is—much more than a teacher, prophet, or religious leader. And he was much more than a good man. As you will see in the following Bible study, Jesus was fully human, yet Jesus was also fully God.
(I didn’t understand this as I grew up. I was raised in a non-Christian home. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I was “born again” and began to read the Bible and learn about Jesus.)
Related: Six key truths about Christianity
The Old Testament refers to Jesus
Jesus was described many times in the Old Testament. For example:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26)
Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
Jesus referred to himself as God
(When healing a paralyzed man, Jesus said), “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7)
… Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. … Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. (John 14:9-10)
“I and the Father are one.” … “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:30, 33)
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)
When Jesus said “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58), he used the same words God used to describe himself in Exodus 3:14 when he said “I AM WHO I AM.” The religious leaders hated this, and they tried to stone him. Many people today also respond with hatred to Jesus’ claims to be God.
When Jesus was resurrected, Thomas called him “God”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)
New Testament writers refer to Jesus as God
There are several places in the New Testament where Jesus is referred to as God. For example, Peter referred to “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” in 2 Peter 1:1.
Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours (2 Peter 1:1).
Here are some more New Testament verses in which Jesus is referred to as God:
Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:3)
[The Jews] are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen. (Romans 9:5)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17)
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9)
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. (Hebrews 1:3)
But about the Son he says … “In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.” (Hebrews 1:8, 10)
It’s clear that Jesus is God, but why does that matter?
Here are three reasons it is important to realize Jesus is God:
1. Is Jesus God? Our salvation depends on it
When God created Adam and Eve, he knew they would blow it—that they would violate his command and bring sin into the world—and that this would put a separation between God and us.
As a result, everyone alive has been born with a sin nature. But God didn’t give up on us.
From the foundation of time God had a plan to redeem us from our sin nature, a plan to offer everyone who lives the opportunity to come into a living relationship with him by believing on his son, Jesus.
God’s plan required his son, Jesus Christ, part of the Trinity, to become a sacrifice for us. Jesus was the only one who could make this sacrifice, for he was the only person who ever lived who was holy and blameless.
Chapter 7 of Hebrews talks about this sacrifice.
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Such a high priest meets our need — one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever. (Hebrews 7:25-28)
When Jesus was crucified and resurrected, he took the punishment for our sin upon himself and offered each one of us the opportunity to be reconciled with God by believing in him.
If Jesus had not been fully man and fully God, his death on the cross would have meant nothing in terms of eternity and true forgiveness of sin.
2. We can better understand God’s character when we look at Jesus
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
3. We need to take Jesus’ words seriously
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Since Jesus is actually God, and he (as part of the Trinity) prompted men to write the Bible, we should take the Bible seriously.
- He loves us.
- He encourages us.
- He teaches us.
- He corrects us.
- He confronts us.
Questions for personal or small group reflection
- What are some ways people might answer the question, “Is Jesus God?”
- Why is it important to realize that Jesus is God?
- Why does our salvation depend on Jesus being God?
- How does knowing that Jesus is God help you better understand God?
- Knowing that Jesus is referred to both as God and as the Word, how seriously should we take the words of the Bible?
Doug Britton, MFT
Doug Britton, Bible-based Marriage and Family Therapist, has helped hundreds of thousands of people as a therapist, clinical director of a treatment center, seminar speaker, radio cohost, and author of over twenty books that show how to apply God's truths in your daily life. (Visit www.dougbrittonbooks.com.)
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