Short Conversations: Did Jesus think he is God?

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The Council of Nicaea in 325 AD invented the idea of Jesus being God. The Council voted to confirm the prevalent church view 214–2 on Jesus’ divinity, it did not invent a new doctrine. Far from being a powerful oppressor, Athanasius who voted in favour of Christ’s divinity was persecuted for it, banished 5 times and spending 17 years of his life in exile. Polycarp (AD 69–155), Ignatius (c. AD 50–117), Justin Martyr (c. AD 100–165), Melito of Sardis (AD 100- 180), Irenaeus of Lyons (AD 130–202), Clement of Alexandria (AD 150–215), Tertullian (c. AD 155–220), Hippolytus of Rome (AD 170–235) and Origen (AD 185–254) all taught Jesus was God and wrote well before the Council of Nicaea. More here.

Outside of the Gospels the New Testament authors never thought Jesus was God. Titus 2:13 refers to Jesus as our “God and Savior” (Granville Sharp grammatical rule suggests both titles refer to Jesus), 2 Peter 1:1 uses similar language. Philippians 2:6 speaks of Christ having equality with God. The Son of God or Jesus is called God in Hebrews 1:8. In Revelation 19:10 John is told to only worship God and Jesus the Lamb of God is worshipped in Revelation 5:13–14. Jesus has hair like pure white wool in Revelation 1:14 which the Ancient of Days or God has in Daniel 7:9 (metaphorical), Jesus is the first and the last in Revelation 1:17 which echoes the Lord of Isaiah 48:12–16 who is uncaused, timeless and formed the world yet sent by the Lord God and his Spirit (v.16).

The Gospel of John does not teach that Jesus is God. Jesus is called the word of God (John 1:1–18) who is called YHWH in Jer. 1:6. Jesus is also called the I AM (unique covenant name for God) of Exodus 3 (John 8:58), Jesus was charged with making himself God by the Jews (John 5:17–18; 10:33) and Thomas calls him “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

How is Jesus God in Matthew? Jesus, who redefines God’s law in Matthew 5 and speaks on his own authority, quotes Psalm 8:1–2 in Matthew 21:16 “out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise” and applies it to himself although Psalm 8 is about YHWH. For more on Matthew, Mark and Luke read here.

How is Jesus God in Mark? Jesus was charged with blasphemy for saying he is the Son of Man (Mark. 14:60–64). The Son of Man who forgives sins and is LORD of the Sabbath (Mark 2), has co rulership with God at his right hand and comes in the clouds of heaven when only God does that in the Old Testament (Mark 14:60–64). Son of Man title meets multiple attestation criterion and even the Jesus Seminar accept Jesus called himself this title. This refers to Daniel 7’s two powers in heaven, hence, the blasphemy accusation. More here .

How is Jesus God in Luke? Prior to illustrating he is Lord over the demonic and Lord over nature in Luke 8 as well as the wisdom of God in Luke 11:49, Jesus forgives a sinful woman’s sins in Luke 7:47–50 when only God can forgive sins according to Isaiah 43:11 and 43:25.

Jesus can’t be God if he is called heir and firstborn Son (Heb. 1:4, Col. 1:15). The context of Hebrews 1 and Colossians 1 clearly show Christ as God for multiple reasons. More here. Moreover, being begotten represents inauguration into kingship not birth in Psalm 2 and happens after Christ willingly humbled himself despite being equal with God (Phil. 2:5–11). David (Psalm 89:27) and Israel (Ex. 4:22) are called firstborns despite not being literally first born because they have special status. These titles show Christ is supreme over all and all things are for him just as they are for God (Rom. 11:36).

Jesus can’t be God if he had knowledge limitations (Matt. 24:29–36, Luke 2:40–52). Jesus humbled himself (Phil. 2:5–11) and added humanity to his divinity (Gal. 4:4–6). Matthew 24 echoes the context of Jewish wedding, Jesus’ Father prepares a place for the bride (John 14) and it was commonly said during that time know one knows when the wedding will occur but the father. All knew the wedding was coming, there were clear signs, home extensions were nearly complete but only the father would know when the wedding would take place in a declarative or causal sense in that he would set the events in motion rather than have mere head knowledge of when it would take place (note not even the Holy Spirit “knows” or declares or causes this event to be). Jesus knew he would return immediately after the tribulation (Matt. 24:29) and comes as a thief only for the unprepared (1 Thess. 5:3–4).

Jesus said the Father is greater than him (John. 14:28). Jesus is equal with God in the book of John as the exact glory of YHWH Isaiah experienced and if you have seen Jesus you have seen the Father (John 5:18, 10:33, 12:41–43, 20:28). The Father has a different function or rank to the Son but is of the same essence or nature. Imagine 2 persons with the exact same traits and nature yet one submits to the other, both are equally of the same nature (no such humans exist but hypothetically they would be equally human). It is a difference in function not essence.

If Jesus is God then who did he pray to (Matt. 26:39)? God is one in being (Deut. 6:4), three in person (Matt. 28:19–20, 1 Cor. 12:3–6, Eph. 4:4–6, Is. 48:12–16) meaning Jesus communicated with a person he is coequal to in nature but had temporarily humbled himself from having the status of to save man- the perfect sinless sacrifice to bear the sins of man by shedding blood. The incarnation bridges the gap between sinful man and the divine.

Don’t leave it up to your work when Christ has done the work for you. Come to him who came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). We don’t believe in a distant God but one who bears in our suffering yet didn’t need us to show love for love was naturally inbuilt into the Trinitarian Godhead. Having no need of humans for God to experience love, but choosing to create them for humans to experience divine love.

If Jesus is God with no beginning then why is he called a begotten firstborn Son?

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