Did Jesus Claim to be God?

September 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm | Posted in John, Q&A | 7 Comments
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Question: I am having trouble understanding how Christians can believe in one God, and still believe that Jesus is God. It seems like Jesus never actually said, “I am God,” and if I worship Jesus and the Holy Spirit wouldn’t I be committing idolatry by making them equal with God the Father?

Answer: Jesus did claim to be God, and proved that He is God by rising from the dead. Jesus said:

I and my Father are one.

John 10:30

Jesus was claiming to be God when He said this because that is what “one” means. God is one in essence, but is three in “person.” This does not violate any law of logic because “person” and “essence” are not the same category. You are judging God by human standards, but He is infinite, and we are finite, so we would not expect Him to be limited in the ways that we are. He is free to take humanity unto Himself while still remaining fully divine, and this in fact is what He did so that He could identify with human beings in our suffering because He loves us even though we have sinned against Him.

The Bible does not record Jesus saying “I am God” in those exact words, because God was never bound to express Himself in terms just to satisfy our objections. When Jesus said the words “I AM” (at least seven times in the Gospel of John), that was clearly a claim to be God, because “I AM” was the name by which God revealed Himself to Moses in the Old Testament. Furthermore, look at the evidence: (1) Jesus said that those who had seen Him had seen God (John 14:9). Jesus is equated with the Creator of the universe (John 1:1-14; Colossians 1:16-17). Jesus said He existed before Abraham (John 8:58). The Bible calls Him God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). He claimed to be equal with God, and only God can be equal with Himself (John 5:18). He forgave sins, and only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:5-7).

You may or may not like these particular expressions that Jesus used to claim that He was God, but His enemies obviously understood what He was saying. They did not arrest Jesus and sentence Him to death simply for being a prophet (John 10:30-33). They wanted to kill Him because He claimed to be God.

The Bookends of Faith (Part 5)

February 23, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in John, The Bookends of Faith | 6 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Last time we looked at two proofs of abiding as branches in the True Vine Who is Jesus Christ:

1. Pruning is proof.
2. Producing is proof.
Now we see that,
3. Proliferating is proof.

When the fruit of abiding is produced in our lives the principle of proliferation or multiplication goes into effect. Fruit has seeds. When your fruit starts to produce more fruit, better fruit, and much fruit, it is proof you are abiding.

One bookend is the Bread of Life. If you have partaken of the Bread of Life, you HAVE (present tense eternal) eternal life. You could lean all your books on that bookend, but, if you have ever tried to line up books on a bookshelf, you know that if you only have one bookend, eventually the books are going to lose balance. They will fall down or get pushed over. If you lean too hard on the first I AM statement to the exclusion of the last I AM statement, you will fall down. And falling down, you will live a defeated Christian life. The Lord has put this last bookend – I AM the True Vine – at the other end, lest we believe one of two fallacies:

1. The fallacy that the guarantee of eternal life is a license to sin.

2. The fallacy that a branch can stop being a branch.

One who is born again cannot be unborn. One who has eternal life can not have temporary life. We cannot work for our salvation, and no amount of works will seal our salvation. This bookend – I AM the True Vine and those branches who abide will bear fruit – draws the distinction between victorious Christian living and defeated Christian living – between the spiritual Christian and the carnal Christian. Branches that do not abide experience severe chastening (pruning), and, if they will not return to abiding they may be cast into the fire and burned. HOWEVER, this fire is not the fire of hell – not the fire of eternal damnation. These verses must not be used to teach that doctrine. Both bookends are equally strong, and they do not contradict the books in the middle. The “fire” into which non-abiding, unfruitful branches may be thrown is the most severe judgment the Lord administers to His Own children – it is the judgment of letting them have their own way. This fire is the physical, not the eternal, not the spiritual, death of a believer. It is the ultimate chastening due to disobedience. It is the “sin unto death” of which I John 5:16 – written to believers – speaks.

The Bookends of Faith (Part 2)

December 8, 2010 at 11:07 am | Posted in John, The Bookends of Faith | 8 Comments
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The Bookends of Faith in the Deity of Jesus Christ: The first and last of the seven “I AM” statements in the Book of John

Last time, we looked at the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus in the Book of John. We saw the comparisons between the manna which came down from Heaven in the Old Testament and Jesus, the Bread of Life which came down from Heaven, in the New Testament.

Here is one of the most amazing truths in all of Scripture:

Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

John 6:49-50

Moses and all the manna-eaters eventually died and are still dead. Those who partake of the Bread of Life will live forever, reign forever, and enjoy unspeakable beauty and joy of fellowship with Christ for all eternity. What is your response to the proclamation that Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life? Would you deny what it proves? That’s what the Jewish religious leaders did. Do you believe that the Bread of Life is good and nourishing and sustaining, but not life-giving? Do you deny that Jesus was and is God? Do you deny that He has not and will not and can not lie? I hope you don’t deny what the “I AM” proved.

However, we still need to ask ourselves, are we grateful only for what it provided?

Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

John 6:34

Are you grateful for what Jesus can do for you – more so than you are grateful for Who He is? Is this your prayer: “Jesus, make my life easier, make me well-favored with men, bless me coming in, going out, use me to make me something that will be impressive to other people?” Have you watched too much religious television, or attended too many “revival” services? Have you read too many best-selling “Christian” books? If Christ Jesus has saved your soul, must He now balance your checkbook? Heal every ache and pain in your body? Restore every broken relationship between you and your neighbors and your friends and your family? We are often guilty of thinking of Jesus as our genie in a bottle – we whip Him out whenever we have a problem. Too many professing Christians consider Christ only to be their “ticket to Heaven.” I don’t like that analogy because you don’t do much with a ticket. You keep it tucked away somewhere unseen until it’s time to enter the show, then it’s turned in and discarded.

In John Chapter 6 people were asking Jesus, “What can You do for me?” What they should have been asking – and what we should be asking – is, “What would You have me to do for You?”

Next time, we will examine Jesus’s proclamation that, “I AM the True Vine.”

Don’t Beat around the Bush

May 24, 2010 at 11:57 am | Posted in Biblical friendship, Common Expressions, Exodus | 11 Comments
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The origin of the expression “beating around the bush” is thought to be from when hunters would employee folks known as “beaters.” These beaters (sort of the bird-hunting equivalent of golf caddies maybe) would beat the bushes to scare up birds. They would “beat around the bush” until the hunter would raise his shotgun and “get to the point.”

The common expression, “stop beating around the bush,” reminds us of Exodus Chapter 3:

Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

Exodus 3:1-3

Moses had killed an Egyptian and fled from Pharaoh. God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and gave him a clear specific order. But instead of obeying right away, Moses started “beating around the bush.”

Sometimes we tend to do the same thing when God tells us to do something we don’t want to do. We don’t usually just say “No, God, I am in rebellion against You. Therefore, I flat-out refuse to do what You say.” Instead, we “rationalize.” The sin of rationalization, along with pride, may be our most frequent sin. I remember, as a kid, seeing a movie called The Big Chill. One of the characters, played by Jeff Goldblum, was explaining to his friends how frequently we rely on rationalizations. I’m sure this is a paraphrase after all this time, but he said something like, “Rationalizations are more important to us than anything. Try to get through a whole day without at least one big juicy rationalization.”

Here are Moses’s excuses or rationalizations – his “bush-beating:”

1. Who am I?

And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Exodus 3:11

Moses says, “I’m not worthy, I’m a nobody,” and God basically says, “You’re right, but I will be with you.”

And he said, Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain.

Exodus 3:12

2. Who are You?

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Exodus 3:13–14

Moses didn’t have a Bible, but today we can know if we’re really hearing from God by comparing what we hear to God’s Word.

3. How will I keep them from thinking I’m crazy at best, or lying at worst?

And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.

Exodus 4:1

God told Moses that He would give him what he needed to do the job. Moses yielded his rod to God. When he thought of it as his, it was just a crutch. But when he thought of it as God’s, God used it to do His work.

4. What if I can’t say it the right way?

And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

Exodus 4:10-12

When we realize that our rod isn’t really our rod, and our tongue isn’t really our tongue – when we yield them to God, He can use them.

5. How about somebody else?

And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart. And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.

Exodus 4:13-16

This fifth rationalization seemed to make God mad. However, He told Moses to take Aaron along with him, reminding him that he would be accountable for him.

Let’s not rationalize and beat around the bush with God. When it’s time to serve Him, let’s trust Him, believe His Word, bring along a friend, and work together for God.


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