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The Deity of Christ

The keystone truth of the Christian faith is the deity of Christ. Christianity, as the name implies, depends upon Christ. In contrast with other world religions, the faith which bears His Name depends not only on His moral and religious teaching but also on His character. What were the nature and scope of the personal claims of Jesus Christ? They were of the most astonishing height and reach. Let us look at a few of them:

He claims powers which reside in God alone. The power to forgive sins, for instance. On one occasion when His hearers doubted a pronouncement of forgiveness, He demonstrated that His words were no mere pious wish but an effectual conferment of pardon by coupling them with words which conveyed instant physical cure to the man, a paralytic (Luke 5:17-26). Was the cure effective? So, it may be concluded, was the pardon. Was the cure instant? So was the forgiveness. Both were displays of divine power.

He claims a unique relationship to God (Matthew 26:63,64). Here He explicitly claims to be the Son of God. The mode of the use of the names "Son" and "Son of God" as applied to Christ in the Gospels and the Epistles, clearly imply a unique relationship. Matthew 11:27 sets forth this relationship: "All things have been delivered unto Me of My Father: and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Him."

The closing verse of the prologue to John's Gospel (1:18) speaks thus of Christ: "The only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father." This is a strong affirmation of the uniqueness of the Sonship of Christ. The verdict of the Jewish Sanhedrin was given against Jesus because He made Himself the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-66). This claim, made in the presence of the tribunal, so that its chief member, the High Priest, considered other witnesses unnecessary, was one He had made on previous occasions and was understood by those who heard it as a claim to be equal with God (John 5:18; 10:33). He did nothing to correct this impression, which He would have been bound to do had it been a misapprehension.

He claims universal Judgeship, a task which demands omniscience. God has committed all judgment to the Son because He is a Son of man (John 5:27). No man who shall be judged will be in a position to complain that his Judge was one who had no experience of human conditions and infirmities or that His judgment was lacking in understanding that only such experience can give. Yet that is only one side of the truth; the other is that absolutely nothing is hidden from the Divine omniscience of the Judge, and omniscience is with God alone.

He claims an eternal pre-existence when speaking to the Father of a glory He possessed alongside Him prior to the present creation. "And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:5). These words need no explanation—they claim that the Speaker shared glory alongside the Father, not merely before the Incarnation, but before the present creation was called into being.

"Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58) were words He used in answering a question about whether He had seen Abraham. Note the words: not "I was," but "I AM," the name of Him who spoke out of the bush to Moses, "I AM THAT I AM" (Exodus 3:1-15). It is a claim to eternal pre-existence, and the quality of eternity of being is God's attribute and His only.

He accepts worship. When Cornelius fell down to do homage to Peter, the apostle raised him up saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man" (Acts 10:26). When John of Patmos fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed him the vision of the New Jerusalem, the angel rebuked him saying, "See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant … worship God" (Revelation 19:10).

However, when the man who had been born blind said, "Lord, I believe," and worshipped Jesus (John 9:35-38), there is no record of rebuke or refusal of the worship so offered. Nor was there any rebuke, correction, or remonstrance to Thomas when that disciple uttered his adoration in the words, "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28). The acceptance of worship expressed in such terms is an emphatic assumption of Deity.

These are some of the claims of Christ: they are only some out of many, but they must suffice for our present purpose.

—J.B. Watson

For more direct testimony to the Deity of Jesus Christ, look up and read the following Scriptures: Matthew 1:23; John 1:1-2; John 1:18; Acts 20:28; Romans 9:5; Colossians 2:2; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; 2 Peter 1:1; 1 John 5:20.

How many more can you find?