Is Jesus God? The whole world is divided over that question. Was Jesus a good man, a prophet, or God? How we answer that question changes everything. It will reflect how we think, how we live, and ultimately how we relate to God.
Did Jesus Actually Exist?
Before deciding who Jesus is, we must establish that He existed. Was He a real, living, breathing person who walked on the earth? Is Jesus just some mythological figure?
Very few people would argue against Jesus’ existence. Even multiple non-Christian sources attest to this. Within the first century alone, we find historical evidence. Flavius Josephus and the Roman Tacitus mentioned Jesus in their writings. Josephus was the most famous Jewish historian, and Tacitus is considered one of the most accurate historians of his time. Any argument supposing that Jesus wasn’t real can only be made by ignoring evidence to the contrary.
What did Jesus say about Himself?
Who better to tell us who Jesus is than Himself? We have in scripture His own recorded statements about His identity.
- John 10:30-33
- Jesus says, “I and the Father are one.”
- His hearers responded, “you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
- John 8:48-59
- In this passage, we see a debate over who Jesus is and even accusations that He is demon-possessed.
- Jesus states, “before Abraham was born, I am!” This references Exodus 3:14, when God revealed Himself to Moses, saying, “I AM WHO I AM.” By this statement, Jesus states that He is more significant than Abraham (a vital figure to His Jewish listeners) and equal to Yahweh. This was so shocking they responded by trying to kill Him.
What else does the Bible say about Jesus being God?
Perhaps the best evidence that Jesus was God is His followers- what they said and how they died. Why would someone choose to die for a lie? Why would they die for that claim if they didn’t believe Jesus was God?
- John 1:1-3 claims that Jesus is both God and with God in the beginning.
- Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,”
- Hebrews 1:8 “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.'”
Here we see three authors making the same claim: Jesus is God. These are just a few examples, and there are many more.
Liar, Lunatic, or Lord
In light of this evidence, C.S. Lewis says we have three options. Jesus thought He was God. So He was either a liar, a lunatic, or He was right; He is Lord.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. 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. He did not intend to.”
~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
The same three options remain for us today. What will you choose? If we believe the Bible, we must conclude that Jesus is God.
THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF THE COURSE:
Discipleship 101 is a series designed to explain the basics of our Faith and discuss often-used words and ideas that can be confusing. Topics like; Who is God, What is the Trinity, What is the Bible, and What are the 16 Fundamentals?
COURSE: DISCIPLESHIP 101In Matthew 28, Jesus commanded His followers to go and make disciples. From those 11 apostles grew a movement, a church with nearly 2 billion adherents worldwide. But Jesus didn't command the apostles to go and make converts, go and build a big...
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