Jesus asked His disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Whom do men say that I the son of man am?” His disciples replied, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Notice that the people were not saying that Jesus was an evil man. In fact, all of the men whom they thought Jesus to be–John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah, one of the prophets–were all true prophets from God. As it was when Jesus asked this question, so it is today. The fact that Jesus cannot be dismissed as one who needs no consideration at all as if He never dwelt among us is apparent to all. We can neither extract Him from the pages of history nor remove the effects of His life and teaching on the entire world. For these reasons we are individually compelled to give answer for ourselves as to whom Jesus is. Millions say that Jesus was a good man and accept that He was a prophet of God. If He was a good man and a prophet of God as multitudes believe, we must accept what He said of Himself as the truth. It is from this basis that we will consider the question, Is Jesus God?
Jesus Had Glory with the Father Before the World Existed
Jesus said that He had glory with the Father before the world existed. “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. Whoever we choose to believe that Jesus is, the historical account of His life places His birth in Bethlehem, as we can read in Matthew 2:1-6 and Luke 2:1-7. Wise men (Oh, how wise!) came from the east to Jerusalem because they had seen in the heavens the star of the one who was to be born King of the Jews. Upon king Herod’s inquiry of the chief priests and scribes, it was made clear to all present that this king of the Jews was to be born in Bethlehem according to the prophecy. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephrata, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Mic. 5:2. This king that Micah spoke of was being sought after more than 700 years later by wise men and inquired of by Herod. When the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, the star that they were following stood still over the place where the young woman Mary was with the child Jesus. It was this same Jesus who said that He had glory with the Father before the world and so says the prophecy. “His goings forth are from of old, even from everlasting” (the days of eternity– Strong’s Gr: 3117, 5769). So satisfied were the wise men that this was so, that they greatly rejoiced, gave Jesus precious gifts, then went home, no longer looking for the king.
Before Abraham Was, Jesus Was The I AM
Jesus applied, “I AM”, the name of God, to Himself. “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58. Thousands of years after the death of Abraham, Jesus declares that before Abraham was ever born, He eternally existed. There is no implication given here that Christ Himself was created. He simply says in the plainest language, “I am.” This is the same type of language used in the Old Testament, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM…Thus shalt ye say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Again, to whom was Moses speaking? “…The Lord God of…Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…” The One who ever exists (Heb: 1961; Gr: 1510). In the Bible, these words are only applied to God Himself. This is the name Jesus applied to Himself, unquestionably claiming that He was the one, true God.
Jesus Was Equal with God
Jesus taught that He came out from God (John 17:8, John 8:42, John 16:27,28, John 7:28). Where did Jesus come from? According to His own testimony, He came OUT from God! “Christ Jesus…who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” Jesus, being in the form (Gr: 3444 Morphe: shape; fig. Nature) of God. Jesus in the nature of God or the very essence and composition of God. While He existed from eternity as very God Himself, He did not consider it wrong to be equal with God. Why? Because He was all of the nature, all of the essence, and all of the substance of the one and only ever existing God. No marvel that He did not consider it an unlawful seizure of God’s character to be equal with God. “But made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form (Gr: 3444, Morphe: shape; fig. Nature) of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” He who is in all of His essence God, took upon Him the all of the essence of men. Oh glorious mystery! The divine man! God stepping out from eternal glory to dwell among us. Jesus, though God Himself, made Himself of no reputation, and as a man, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Phil. 2:8.
Jesus is The Everlasting Father
Jesus establishes His divinity in proclaiming God as His Father and Himself as His Son (Mark 14:61-62; John 10:24-38; 5:17-18). The birth of Jesus was then, as it is now, a great stumbling block for many. The circumstances of His birth were unbelievable to many and cast a question into many minds as to the fidelity of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Thus Jesus endured much reproach from the unbelieving. “…We be not born of fornication we have one Father, even God.” John 8:41. Therefore when Jesus proclaimed God was His father, He was saying that when He was born, His mother was a virgin (Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:23). “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” If Jesus’ mother was a virgin at the time of His birth, then the necessary conclusion is that Jesus Himself is that Son, Emmanuel, who is God with us. He is that child born unto us, that son that was given. In addition to the government being upon His shoulder and His being Wonderful, Counselor, and The Prince of Peace, He is also “The mighty God” and “The everlasting Father” that Isaiah saw afar off and wrote in his book. If God is His Father, all of the scriptures that the religious leaders knew so well were testifying of Jesus Christ Himself and the eternal life that they thought that they had by knowing the Old Testament was standing before them in the person of Jesus Christ, of whom all the scriptures spoke (John 5:39, 40, 46, 47).
Jesus and the Father are One
Jesus said that He and the Father were one. “Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, show us the Father?” John 14:8-9; 17:11 & 21-23; 10:30. It is impossible to have the Father, the one, true God, in one’s life and not also have the Son or to deny the Son as God and have God the Father, for they are one (1 John 2:22, 23). There is no possibility to separate the Father from the Son, nor the Son from the Father. To truly believe in God is to believe in Christ Jesus as God, for He is the Word that was with God in the beginning and was Himself God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3.
Jesus thought of Himself as more than a good man but considered Himself to be God, the Creator of the world, who put on flesh and blood and became our Saviour. By this He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26).