Is Jesus God? The following is a sermon transcription that that will hopefully help you to find out that Jesus is the True God and help you with this conviction.
Is Jesus God?
(adapted from a sermon by Pr Simon Chin, Year 2011)
I believe many have heard of Jesus or know who He is, but perhaps not all believe that He is God. This includes people from other religions. For example, the Muslims know of Jesus from the Koran but believe that He is only a prophet and one of lower rank compared to Prophet Mohammad. Even some believers of Jesus will say that He is not God. In Philippines, there is a religious group that talk about Jesus but they do not believe that He is God. Some people believe that Jesus is not God. They believe and worship the one and only God, Jehovah, believing that God created Jesus Christ and through Jesus, the world is created. Hence, they worship only Jehovah and not Jesus. It is evident from these examples that though many people know about Jesus or call themselves Christians, they do not believe that Jesus is God.
So is Jesus really God? If He is, how should we respond to Him? These are two very important questions we need to address in our faith.
In Matthew 16:13-17 – Jesus asked His disciples “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” and they replied “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus asks again “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
The Jews believed in one God but they do not know that Jesus is God in flesh. So when Jesus claimed that He is God, they reckoned that He had blasphemed against God. However, Peter was moved by the Holy Spirit to say that Jesus is the Christ and that He is the anointed one of God. As Christ, Jesus came in the flesh to preach the gospel of the kingdom and died on the cross in order to save men into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Indeed, Jesus performed many signs, miracles, and wonders, and made God known to the people. Yet, He also died on the cross. This can be confusing for many — some might ask, if Jesus is God, then why was He a man like us? Why did He need to be crucified on the cross?
Some can understand these great mysteries because God Himself has guided them or the Holy Spirit has revealed to them. Even though the disciples said that Jesus is Christ, they were only able to fully understand this after Jesus resurrected and appeared to them to expound the scriptures to them. (Luke 24:25-26) Jesus said to them “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” Subsequently, in verses 44-45, Jesus said to them “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” A reason why the disciples were unable to fully understand could be due to the fact that these words are written in the Old Testament before Jesus’s time. The Hebrew bible is the same as the Old Testament of the Christian Bible and is divided into 24 books, which are categorized into the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. They were written 100 years before Jesus Christ was born and crucified on the cross. It was written by men inspired by God in order to reveal to men about the coming of the anointed one, His ministry and how He must eventually die on the cross for the sins of all men. In Luke 24:46, it is recorded that Jesus told his disciples “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day.” It is clear Jesus is the Christ, but is He God?
John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” and verse 14 – “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” In verses 16-18, it says – “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. Though the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” These verses were written by Apostle John around AD90, 60 years after Jesus Christ has died and resurrected. In these verses, Elder John testified that Jesus is God. Though He came in the flesh like a man, Jesus is actually God incarnated.
What is this grace that the Lord has brought to mankind？The Jews take pride in the Law which Moses received from God on Mount Sinai for the Israelites to keep. Those who kept the Law experienced the presence of God and were able to know that the God, whom they served, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the True God. But this same pride in the Law was so great that they rejected Jesus Christ and believed that He had blasphemed against God. As a result, they crucified Him on the cross.
This crucifixion was according to the scriptures and the prophecies recorded in the Bible. The disciples were able to understand because the Holy Spirit revealed this mystery to them. Though people spoke about the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, no one could fully understand how great the love of God, His power, and His might is. But when Jesus Christ came, He performed many signs, wonders and miracles. He even died on the cross, resurrected, all so people could really understand that God is an omnipotent God. Additionally, He is also a Faithful God, full of Love, a True and Living God. Though He was crucified on the cross, Jesus continues to live. Though He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, He is not God of the dead, but a truly living God.
Before the incarnation of Jesus, the Old Testament already described God:
Isaiah 42:5 – “Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it”.
This passage describes God, the creator of the world. Isaiah also described God as creator of man and all things; He stretched out the heaven alone, made the earth and all the angels (Is 44:42, 45:12) “There is no other god before Me, a just God and a Savior. There is none beside Me. Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” (Is 45:21-22) The Israelites of the Old Testament knew God as the Creator, the God of their forefathers, and also the God who led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt to travel 40 years in the wilderness. But what is the real nature of this God?
Exodus documents how God revealed himself to man.In the days of Moses, the Israelites were captives in Egypt for over 400 years. They cried to the Lord God and God sent Moses to Egypt. Moses grew up as a prince in Egypt and he is a man mighty in words and deeds. At the age of 40, he killed an Egyptian who bullied a Hebrew so fled and hide in the wilderness of Midan for 40 years. When Moses is 80 years old, God told Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver His people. God did not tell Moses His name but instead, told Moses that He is the Creator (Ex 3:10-15). All things are created but not God since He is the Creator Himself. Therefore we call Him the self-existing God. The Hebrews has four letters to describe God -“YHWH”, which cannot be pronounced in any language, because the Israelites reckoned that God’s name is too holy to be spoken. “YHWH” means “I AM WHO I AM”.
This God is a True and self-existing God who has created all things. He is almighty, omniscient, and omnipresent. Jesus Christ is this True God and so He is self-existing. When Jesus Christ was on earth, He proved that He is God. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:24) Here, Jesus Christ is saying that He is the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob; in the original Greek bible, this passage was written as “if you do not believe that I AM” without the “He” in the original language.
The Jews rejected the Lord even more after hearing this. In verse 58, Jesus Christ went on to say, “Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I am!” He meant to say that even before Abraham existed, He already existed. The Jews couldn’t understand this since Abraham died more than 1000 years before Jesus; only God can claim this. Jesus Christ was very authoritative when He spoke these words and that made the Jews hate Him even more. But Jesus Christ went on in His ministry and made God known to people.
Is Jesus God? How do we know?
First, we can know this from His birth. Jesus is God incarnate so His birth was different from ours. We do not exist before we are born. However, Jesus existed even before his birth. This is a very important piece of information. Micah 5:2, tells us, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” 700 years before the birth of Christ, Micah prophesied that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. He also said that Jesus’ origin was from old, meaning Jesus existed even before His birth.
Joseph and Mary were from Nazareth in Galilee, in the northern part of Israel. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the south. Mary, in her advanced stage of pregnancy, travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy and to obey the decree from the Roman emperor. The decree required all residents to return to their hometown for registration purposes (Lk 2). As Joseph and Mary were of the house and lineage of David, they had to travel from Nazareth into Judea. Mary was placed on a donkey as they travelled and was soon ready to deliver. She delivered her firstborn son and wrapped Jesus in swaddling clothes. There was no room available in the inn, so Mary laid Him in a manger. This was how Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem fulfilled Micah’s prophecy.
According Isaiah’s prophecy, Jesus must be born of a virgin. This is the second important difference. In Isaiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel… 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.” (Is 7:14; 9: 6) This was Isaiah’s prophecy, spoken about 700 years before Christ. Immanuel means that God abides with man. The birth of Jesus fulfilled this prophecy that God be born as a human and more importantly, Mary was a virgin when she conceived.
Matthew 1:18-23 described how Mary was betrothed to Joseph but found herself carrying the child of the Holy Spirit before they come together. Some claimed that Mary was not a virgin then and others speculated that Jesus was an illegitimate child; they mocked Jesus. However, the bible clearly described that before Mary and Joseph came together, Mary was found carrying the child. Joseph being a just man and not wanting to make her a public example, decided to put her away secretly. Mary would have been stoned to death if he had reported it to the elders. An angel of the Lord appeared and said to him, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Jesus is the resurrection and the life and those who believed in Him will never die. He preached the gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven and performed many miracles, signs, and wonders in his early thirties. By themselves, these acts were sufficient to prove that He is God. But Jesus did even more. He raised the dead Lazarus to life. Lazarus was dead and buried for four days before Jesus commanded him to rise. Jesus told the people present, “if you believe you will see the glory of God” and they witnessed this great miracle. He made a paralytic walk again (Mt 9). Four friends brought the paralysed man to see Lord Jesus Christ. They could only enter the house from the roof as the house was crowded. Houses back then were designed to have flat roofs; these men needed to remove the tiles before they could lower the paralytic into the house. Jesus saw their faith since this act required a lot of effort and He said to them, “Your sins are forgiven.” The crowd thought that Jesus was speaking blasphemy since only God can forgive sins. Jesus Christ knew what they were thinking and He asked them, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’?” Of course, the latter would be more difficult to perform, but Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house”. Immediately, the man rose and started to walk. This incident proved that Jesus has the authority to forgive sins since He is God. The crowd was amazed and they glorified God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!”
Jesus Christ manifested God before the people and exercised the authority of the True God, giving life to the dead and making the paralyzed walk. These are proof that Jesus is indeed God.
Thirdly, Jesus Christ said that only God is worthy of worship yet, He accepted men’s worship. Before Jesus Christ began His ministry, He fasted forty days in the wilderness (Mt 9). The devil came to tempt Him and He was shown all the beauty and glory of this world. In Matthew 9:9, the devil said to Jesus, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” But Jesus answered, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” This is the first commandment of the Ten Commandments. The Jews believe in only One God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the “YHWH” self-existing God and the “I AM.” He is the only God anyone can worship. Hence, the devil is unsuccessful in convincing Jesus to worship him.
Later in His ministry, there were many occasions when people came and fell at Jesus’ feet to worship Him. For example, a leper came and fell down at the feet of Jesus to worship Him. He said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus said, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Mt 8:2-3). The fact that Jesus Christ accepted the leper’s worship demonstrates that He is God. Another example is recorded in Matthew chapter 14:33. Jesus Christ was walking on the sea to the boat where his disciples were. The boat was caught in the storm in the middle of the sea. When Jesus Christ went onboard the boat, the wind ceased immediately. His disciples upon seeing this, came forward to worship Jesus because He is truly the Messiah and God who came in the flesh.
Jesus healed a blind and the latter regain his vision (Jn 9:38). The blind man told Jesus, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped Him. This was a great miracle because this person was born blind. The Jewish Council refused to believe because they saw Jesus Christ as the sinner. They asked the blind man, “How can a sinner heal you?” and the man answered them saying, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know is that though I was blind but now I can see.” They drove this man out of the synagogue. Jesus Christ went to look for him when He heard about it and asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” The man answered and said, “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?” And Jesus said to him, “You have seen Him and it is He who is talking with you.” He said to Jesus “Lord I believe!” and he worshiped Him. Jesus then said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” Some of the Pharisees who were with Jesus heard these words knew that He was talking about them. They asked Jesus, “Are we blind also?” Jesus replied, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.” This means that for those who see the miracles, signs and wonders but yet do not believe in Jesus, their sin remains. On the other hand, the blind man could not see but he believed. So he was granted grace and his sins were forgiven.
These incidents testify that Jesus is God and He can accept worship from men. The bible tells us that not only we should refrain from worshipping the devil, we should not worship the angels and God’s workers. When Peter came to the house of Cornelius, Cornelius fell down at his feet and worshiped Peter. Peter told him, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” In the book of Revelations, John saw so many visions and it was so wonderful. He fell down at the feet of the angels, but the angels said, “Get up; worship God.” Jesus accepted worships even though He was in the flesh. When He resurrected, He also accepted worships. Matthew 28:9 records how Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day after his burial and appeared to His disciples. Mary saw the resurrected Christ and told this good news to His disciples. When Jesus met His disciples, they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Jesus has risen to Heaven. He is the True God and we worship Him. The fact that Jesus Christ has resurrected from dead demonstrated that He is God because only God can overcome death. He is God who is the Lord of life. Death as a result of sin can never overcome Jesus Christ since He is righteous. He is God Himself coming in the flesh to be the Savior of all men. Though He was in the flesh, He was born without sin and has never committed sin. When He died on the cross, He became sin on our behalf so that we can become righteousness in God’s eye. Therefore Jesus Christ was totally without sin. When He resurrected, He proved that He is really God.
Today we received the Holy Spirit and are able to confirm that Jesus is in Heaven. He has resurrected from dead and overcome death. If we believe in Him, we can also overcome death. “So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 15:54-57)
Jesus was buried in the mortal body but when He resurrected, He became a spiritual body. Just as Jesus Christ overcame death, we who believe in Him can also overcome death. On the last day our corruptible body will put on an incorruptible body. That is the time when we, too, shall share in eternal life. This is the victory that Jesus Christ promises us. If we believe in Him that He is really God and accepting Him as our Savior, His precious blood will wash away our sins in baptism. His words of truth will deliver us from sin. His Holy Spirit will work in us and transform us into a new creation. Even as we live on earth, we belong to God in Heaven. We shall overcome the world and receive eternal life in the Kingdom of Heaven.
In conclusion, we believe that Jesus is God and from the bible we can see and confirm this. The Holy Spirit is with us today and we have no doubt that Jesus Christ is God. When we believe in Him, we shall receive everlasting life. For our friends who have not accepted Jesus Christ, we urge you to study the bible further, to pray from your heart, and to experience God. One day, you will also believe that Jesus is the “I AM.”