There is perhaps no issue in the Bible of greater importance than the identity of the one who died for us to be our Savior — Jesus Christ. Therefore, we will take a look at the clear teaching of the Bible that Jesus is not only fully man, but also fully God.
What the New Testament Writers Said About Jesus
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Here we see that
THE WORD = GOD
John 1:14, 15
This passage confirms that the word is Jesus: “The Word became flesh, and made His dwelling among us, and we have beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him…” Here we see that
JESUS = THE WORD
Simple logic declares that if A=B and B=C then A=C. Therefore, since
JESUS = THE WORD and
THE WORD = GOD, then
JESUS = GOD
“No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.”
“Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.”
2 Peter 1:1
“…by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“But of the Son He says, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.'”
This passage tells us that Jesus is of the exact same nature of God: “And He is the radiance of His glory, and the exact representation of His nature.”
This is a strong statement about the full deity and humanity of Christ: “In Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.”
Paul writes “…and from them [the Jews] is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God overall…”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” This passage teaches that Jesus is immutable — unchanging in His nature. Compare this with Malachi 3:6: “I the LORD do not change.”
What Jesus Claimed for Himself
Jesus said, “All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son, except the Father; and no one know the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” From this verse we can conclude that Jesus thought of himself as God’s Son in an absolute and unique sense and as having the exclusive authority to reveal His Father to men.
In a dispute with the Jews of His day, Jesus said to them, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Christ was not merely claiming that He existed before Abraham, but that He was still in existence before Abraham. Thus, He was claiming to possess absolute eternal existence, something that only God possesses. In addition, I AM was the most revered divine name of God in the Old Testament (Ex. 3:14), so Jesus was identifying Himself with the name of God. Dr. A.T. Robertson, one of the greatest Greek scholars who ever lived, had this to say about John 8:58 after translating it “I am”: “Undoubtedly here Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase used of God” (Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. V, pp. 158-159).
This is another clear passage teaching that Jesus is God: “(Christ speaking) ‘I and the Father are one.’ Again the Jews picked up stones to stone Him, but Jesus said to them: ‘I have shown you many miracles from the Father, for which of these do you stone me?’ We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.'” When studying the original Greek of Jesus statement “I and the Father are one”, the word translated “one” means one in essence, or nature, not merely one in purpose.
Objection to John 10:30-33
Some hold that Jesus goes on to correct the Jews in verses 34-36. This is not the case. What Jesus is simply doing is taking the Jew’s statement about Him blaspheming to its logical conclusion to show that they are being inconsistent. In effect, Jesus is saying “If you say that I am blaspheming, you must also hold that God is blaspheming because He said to those by whom the word of God came, ‘ye are gods.'” Nowhere does Jesus take back His statement and say that He is not one with the Father. He in fact draws a clear distinction between Himself and those “by whom the word of God came” when He says that He was sanctified and sent into the world by God.
Jesus’ contemporaries understood His claims to be God
John 5:18 tells us that “For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”
In John 20:28 we read, “And Thomas said to Him, ‘My Lord and my God!’.” The fact that those the people Jesus spoke to, including His enemies, clearly understood His claims to be God is significant. If Jesus had not intended for them to interpret Him this way, He would have corrected them.
Jesus accepted worship as God
The disciples, who lived with Jesus for three years, believed He is God, and so at many other times worshiped Him. Jesus accepted their worship (see Matthew 28:17, Luke 5:8)! Since God alone is to be worshiped (Luke 4:8), why did Jesus not correct these “mistakes” if He truly is just a man? Every other man of God in the New Testament who receives worship immediately refuses the worship, declaring that God alone is to be worshiped (Acts 14: 10-16, Rev. 22:8-9). Why didn’t Jesus do this in a forceful way like His followers did? So,
1. Since only God is to be worship, and
2. Jesus accepted worship, either
A. Jesus sinned when accepting the worship, thus disqualifying Him as Savior, or
B. Jesus is God
Clearly option A is unbiblical (Hebrews 4:15), so it must be true that Jesus is God. Perhaps even most striking is Hebrews 1:6, where God commands the angels to worship Jesus: “And when He again brought the first-born into the world, He says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.'”
Jesus forgave sins
This is evidenced in Mark 2:5 and Luke 7:48. By Jewish law, this was something that only God could do. In Mark 2:7, the scribes say, “He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” I may be able to forgive someone for sins committed against me, but never for sins they commit against God, and this is what Jesus claimed to do. But only God can forgive sins that are committed against Him. So,
1. Only God can forgive sins committed against Himself (and all sins are against God).
2. Jesus forgave people for their sins, which were against God; therefore,
3. Jesus must be God
Further Evidence of Christ’s Deity
Jesus possesses attributes that only belong to God
He is omnipresent (Matthew 18:20; 28:20; Acts 18:10) omniscient (Matthew 16:21; Luke 11:17; John 4:29), omnipotent (Matthew 8:26, 27; 28:18; John 11:38-44; Luke 7:14-15; Rev. 1:8), and self existent (John 1:4; 14:6; 8:58). Only God has these attributes, so if Jesus also has them, He must be God. God says in Isaiah 46:9 “There is no one like Me.”
Jesus is Creator of the universe
“All things came into being by Him, and apart form Him nothing came into being that has come into being”–John 1:3. “For by Him all things were created…all this have been created by Him and for Him”–Colossians 1:16. Since God says that He was alone when He created the world, Jesus must be God: “I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself, and spreading out the earth all alone”–Isaiah 44:24.
God declares that, “to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance”– Isaiah 45:22-23. But Paul declares that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”–Philippians 2:10,11.
In Revelation 21:6 God says that He is the beginning and the end: “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.'” In Revelation 22:12,13, Jesus (see 22:16) says that He is the beginning and the end: “Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Jesus clearly shows that He is God by saying things about Himself that only God can say about Himself.
The savior of the world must be God
“Before me there was no God formed and there will be none after Me. I, even I, am the LORD; and there is no savior besides Me,” God tells us in Isaiah 43:10,11. This verse teaches several significant things:
1. There always has been and always will be only one true God.
2. There is no Savior of the world except for this one true God.
3. Therefore, the Savior of the world must be the one true God.
Jesus is the Savior of the world
“And we have beheld and bear witness that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world”–1 John 4:14.
1. The one true God is the only Savior of the world (Isaiah 43:10,11), and
2. Jesus is the Savior of the world (1 John 4:14; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1),
3. Jesus must therefore be the one true God.
Jesus had to be fully God as well as fully man in order to pay the penalty for the sins of the world. While only a man can pay the penalty for a man, only someone who is infinite can pay the penalty for more than one person. Only God is infinite, therefore Jesus had to be God in order to pay for the sins of more than one other human. He also had to be man to pay for the sins of a man. If Jesus was only human, He could have only died for one other person, not the whole world.
From these passages, it is clear that the Bible teaches that Jesus is God. As William Biederwolf has said, “A man who can read the New Testament and not see that Christ claims to be more than a man, can look all over the sky at high noon on a cloudless day and not see the sun.”
Why is this important? As Jesus put it, “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him” (John 5:23).
All Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, by the Lockman Foundation.