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The Deity of Christ

Is any other question so far-reaching and important as the question, who is Jesus? Is He or is He not God? If Jesus is not God, then there is no Christianity, and we who worship Him are nothing more than idolaters. Conversely, if He is God, those who say He was merely a good man are blasphemers.

The deity of Christ is the key doctrine of Scripture. Reject it, and the Bible becomes a confused jumble of words devoid of any unifying theme. Accept it, and the Bible becomes an intelligible and ordered revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s Powers and Prerogatives

The attributes of deity are ascribed to Him in the Scriptures. He Himself laid claim to omnipotence: “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). On occasions He exhibited this power over nature (Matthew 8:27), over demons (Luke 4:36), over angels (Matthew 26:53), over disease (Luke 4:40), and over death (Mark 5:41,42).

Omniscience is implied in the statement “Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men” (John 2:24; see also John 4:29; 16:30; Colossians 2:3).

The promise included in our Lord’s Great Commission involves the omnipresence of Christ. “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

He asserted His own self-existence in these words: “As the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (John 5:26; see also John 8:57-58; Revelation 1:8).

Actions are ascribed to Christ that are possible to Deity alone: creation (Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:10), resurrection (John 5:28,29), and judgment (John 5:27). When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28), Jesus did not rebuke him for blasphemy, but accepted his ascription of deity without objection. Contrast this with the reaction of the angel, when John fell down to worship him (Revelation 22:8,9).

The Witness of Christ’s Claims

In the first words recorded of Him, He offsets the words “My Father” against His mother’s “Thy Father” (Luke 2:41-52), surely an indication of His consciousness of a unique relation existing between Himself and God.

The gospel narratives are so thoroughly saturated with the assumption of His deity, that it sometimes appears in quite unexpected ways and places. For example, in three passages in Matthew’s record, He is represented as speaking most naturally of “His angels” (Matthew 13:41; 16:27; 24:31).

To the horror of the Jews, He even went so far as to assume to Himself the sacred divine name—“I Am.” “Before Abraham was, I Am” (John 8:58; Exodus 3:14; see also John 6:35; 8:12; 10:7-11). These are undoubted assumptions of deity, as is His claim to possess the divine resources to meet all human need (Matthew 11:28; John 4:14; 7:37,38; 10:28).

—Condensed from The Incomparable Christ by J. Oswald Sanders, published by Moody Press.

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. —C. S. Lewis