On a recent pilgrimage to Israel we took our group up the road from the bus lot through the streets of Nazareth up to the Church of Annunciation.
The Muslims were obviously wrong. Jesus and the New Testament both claim Jesus is divine.
But first we must admit that Jesus did not go around, saying, “Hello, nice to meet you, I am God, .” He came to earth for a reason, and he knew his timetable and when his sacrifice would take place. His ministry lasted for three years and he did not rush his crucifixion. He knew the timetable. He had a lot to do for three years so he wisely laid low, spending most of his time up in Galilee and away from Jerusalem.
Let’s look at a few basic passages from the New Testament that very clearly claim that Jesus is God. Second, we will look at Jesus his own words.
First, St. Johns gospel begins with a very audacious statement:
John 1:1, 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
John 20:26–29: Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”
This is as strong a claim for Jesus’ divinity as we need, and should be sufficient to conclude that the New Testament does declare the divinity of Christ. It is pretty clear. Too bad the Muslims miss it out of intentional ignorance.
Second, when God introduced himself to Moses, he revealed his name for the first time.
Exodus 3:14-15: God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”
“Jesus’ use of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the absolute sense (“I am”) draws on Exod 3:14 and other Old Testament passages where the phrase clearly refers to God. In using the expression, Jesus seems to be explicitly identifying Himself with Yahweh, asserting His eternality, self-existence, and changelessness, and claiming to bear Yahweh’s presence on Earth. Jesus employs this absolute sense of ἐγώ εἰμί (egō eimi) in the Gospels, particularly in the Gospel of John (Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; 14:62; Luke 22:70; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:6)” (Jeffrey E. Miller, “I Am Sayings,” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary, (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
Third, understanding this in the Jewish context, it is clear that Jesus was claiming and proving to be the great I AM, God in the flesh. And in the Jewish context the Jewish leaders were very clear Jesus was claiming divinity.
But let’s add one more. The Jews understood Jesus to claim divinity — equality with God — and tried to stone him for it (the punishment for blasphemy). Jesus was Jewish and was speaking to the Jewish leaders. There is no doubt they understood what he was claiming.
John 5:17–18 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason the Jews tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God.
John 8:56–59: “Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad. So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old and you have seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” So they picked up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid and went out of the temple area.
John 10:30–33: “The Father and I are one.” The Jews again picked up rocks to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.”
So, here are a few of many places where Jesus and the New Testament claim and reveal the divinity of Christ. Jesus is one substance with the Father. He is God in the flesh and it is clear for all to read, except of course those who have blinded their eyes by their own flawed religions and traditions.
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May God continue blessing you, your family and your gifted apostolate. Your excellent work encourages me to constantly learn and share the truth of Christ with the world. It is very frustrating for me, encountering people deceived into thinking they have a special knowledge, denying the facts and truth of Christ the Lord and His One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Every day I listen to gifted apologists on YouTube and debate with deniers the facts presented. Please keep me in your prayers as you are in mine.