Jesus Christ – A Name Unlike Any Other
The name, Jesus Christ, has caused more division, agitation and controversy than any other name in history. If you bring up God in a coffee shop discussion, nobody is really offended. If you speak about Buddha or Brahman, Moses or Mohammed, you really don’t irritate the listener. However, the name Jesus Christ seems to cut right to the soul. Something makes this religious leader more contentious and convicting than all the others combined. What is it? Unlike any other widely followed religious leader in history, Jesus Christ made a unique claim. He declared Himself God. Not a god, not god-like, but God incarnate – the Creator of the universe in human flesh. Intellectually, that’s disturbing. Spiritually, that’s the most liberating thing that could ever happen to humankind.
Jesus Christ – The Popular Alternatives
The typical responses to the life and claims of Jesus Christ sound something like this:
“Jesus Christ was a great man.”
“Jesus Christ was a wonderful moral model.”
“Jesus Christ was an enlightened religious teacher.”
“Jesus Christ was an esteemed prophet.”
However, as Christian scholar Josh McDowell declares in his foundational book, More than a Carpenter, these types of statements raise a compelling “trilemma.” Once you examine the actual claims of Jesus and His eyewitness followers, there are really only three alternatives for who He really is – Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord.
“The issue with these three alternatives is not which is possible, for it is obvious that all three are possible. But rather, the question is ‘which is more probable?’ Who you decide Jesus Christ is must not be an idle intellectual exercise. You cannot put Him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice. ‘But,’ as the Apostle John wrote, ‘these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and’ – more important – ‘that believing you might have life in His name’ (John 20:31).” (Josh McDowell, More than a Carpenter, Tyndale House Publishers, 1977, pp. 33-34.)
C.S. Lewis, a popular British theologian, continues, “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 patronising 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 MacMillan Company, 1960, pp. 40-41.)
Jesus Christ – The Only True Choice
We absolutely believe in the humanity of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of man, the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). However, we also believe that Jesus Christ is God Almighty. Not a god, but The God. Throughout the Bible, He claims to be God, He is addressed as God, and He is worshipped as God. What follows on the next few pages are the Holy Scriptures that reveal that Jesus Christ is Lord and God.
Jesus Christ – Scripture That Reveals His Divinity
Hebrews 1:6 reads, “And again, when He bringeth in the First begotten into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.”
Who is the First begotten? Jesus Christ!
Paul writes in Colossians 1:15, referring to Jesus, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature…”
Jesus Christ is the Firstbegotten. That means God is commanding all of the angels of God to worship Jesus Christ in Hebrews 1:6, “He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Therefore, the Bible declares that Jesus is worshipped.
In Luke, chapter 4, Satan tempts Jesus three times. Luke 4:6-8 describes the second temptation and Christ’s response: “And the devil said unto Him, ‘All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine.’ And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'”
The Greek word translated “worship” in Luke 4:7-8, proskuneo (pros-koo-neh’-o, Strong’s 4352), is the same Greek word translated “worship” in Hebrews 1:6.
The same account is given in Matthew 4:10, using the same Greek word for Lord, “Then saith Jesus unto him, ‘Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.”
Luke 4:6-8 is consistent with various other scriptures that command us to worship God alone, not men nor angels. (Acts 10:25-26, 14:11-16, and Revelation 19:10, 22:8-9)
While the Bible consistently and clearly commands us to worship God alone, throughout the New Testament Jesus receives the worship of both men and angels. (Matthew 2:2, 2:8, 2:11, 8:2, 9:18, 14:33, 15:25, 28:9, Mark 5:6, Luke 24:52, John 9:38, and Hebrews 1:6)
They are not just kissing His hands or His feet or just revering Him, they are calling Him Jehovah God.
In John 20 we read, “And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, ‘Peace be unto you.’ Then saith He to Thomas, ‘Reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.’ And Thomas answered and said unto Him, ‘My Lord and my God.’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.'” (John 20:26-29)
Thomas called Jesus “My Lord and my Jehovah God.” In the Greek, the word God is a definite article. According to the vast majority of Greek scholars, the definite article is referring to Jehovah God.
Someone might pass this off as an exclamation, like “Oh my God!” Thomas exclaimed and blasphemed because He was spooked by the sudden appearance of Jesus. But if that were the case, Jesus would have rebuked Thomas for breaking the third commandment (blasphemy). He would not have responded, “Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)
As a Rabbi, it was Jesus’ duty to rebuke blasphemy. Why then did He commend Thomas?
Jesus Christ – Scripture That Reveals His Son-ship
In John, chapter 5, Jesus Christ heals a man on the sabbath day (verses 8 and 9). The Pharisees find out Jesus healed on the sabbath and want to kill Him (verse 16). Jesus responds to their threats, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (verse 17). The key verse in this passage is the next verse, John 5:18:“Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 5:18)
The Jews recognized Jesus was claiming to be equal with Jehovah by claiming to be His Son. Even the Apostle John recognized it, including it in His Gospel.
At this point, some will point out that John 14:28 declares that God the Father is greater than the Son. How then is it possible for the Son to be equal with the Father? Some religious scholars claim that this is an irreconcilable contradiction:
Jesus is equal with God (John 5:18) YET The Father is greater than the Son (John 14:28)
The only way to reconcile this apparent contradiction is to read the Bible and understand that Jesus Christ is both God and man. Think about this awesome truth: God Almighty became a man, humbling Himself to death on the cross out of pure love for His beloved creation, but never ceasing to be God Almighty. That’s the New Testament scripture in a nutshell.
Hebrews 1:5-8 reads, “For unto which of the angels said He at any time, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee?’ And again, ‘I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son?’ And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, ‘And let all the angels of God worship Him.’ And of the angels He saith, ‘Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire.’ But unto the Son He saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.'”
In Hebrews 1:8 the Father addresses the Son as Jehovah God saying, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”
In Philippians we read, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
This verse speaks of Christ relinquishing His right to independently exercise His attributes of Deity for the fulfillment of His sacrifice as a perfect man. During the incarnation, Christ never acted as God; the Father acted through Him and by the Holy Spirit. His works came from the Father.
“Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works.” (John 14:10)
His knowledge and the words He spoke were supernaturally imparted to Him.
“For I have not spoken of Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He gave Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.” (John 12:49)
Jesus Christ was totally dependent upon the Father. He could do nothing apart from the Father. He could not even speak apart from God.
When God left Heaven to come to earth as a man, He was not only the perfect sacrifice; He was the perfect example of a man. He was fully submitted to the Father (as every man should be) and fully dependent upon the Father (as every man is, whether he likes it or not).
Jesus Christ – Scripture That Reveals His Role as Redeemer
God the Son, Jesus Christ, came to earth as a man…
“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… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-3,14)
And taking on the likeness of man, Jesus Christ submitted Himself to the death on the cross.
“But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:7-8)
As the propitiation for mankind’s sins…
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:9-10)
After His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ took up again what He had voluntarily laid down…
“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.”(Matthew 28:18)
At the close of His earthly ministry, His crucifixion drawing near, Jesus prayed to the Father, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.” (John 17:4-5)
Jesus Christ was true Deity living as true humanity for the death on the cross and the redemption of man. If we read beyond verse 8 in the Philippians passage, we read, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
The Greek word translated “Lord” in verse 11, kurios (koo’-ree-os, Strong’s 2962), is the same word translated “Lord” in Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'” It is the same Greek word translated “Lord” in Matthew 4:10.
Philippians 2:11 reads, “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Romans 14:11 reads, “For it is written, ‘As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'”
Philippians 2:10-11 and Romans 14:11 are a direct quotation from Isaiah 45:23, “I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Isaiah 45:23)
Jesus Christ – Scripture That Reveals Him as Saviour
The deity of Jesus Christ is revealed throughout the Old Testament scripture. The Old Testament Prophecies foretelling the coming of the Messiah claimed God Himself would be the Messiah:
The Spirit through Isaiah names the Messiah “Immanuel”, translated “God with us”. (Matthew 1:23)
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Again, the Spirit through Isaiah calls the Messiah “the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father.”
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
The Spirit tells us through Micah that the Messiah will be an eternal being. In the prophecy foretelling the birthplace of the Messiah (Bethlehem), Micah claims the Messiah will be from everlasting… He will be eternal. God alone is without beginning or end.
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, 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.” (Micah 5:2)
The Spirit through Isaiah also tells us that the Saviour is God and that God alone is the Saviour.
“I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no Saviour.” (Isaiah 43:11)
In Hosea we read again, “Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but Me: for there is no saviour beside Me.” (Hosea 13:4)
Again in Isaiah, “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the LORD? And there is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” (Isaiah 45:21-22)
If this is true, why do we read in John, “And said unto the woman, ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42)
In Luke we read, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12)
Once again, the Greek word translated “Lord” in verse 11, kurios (koo’-ree-os, Strong’s 2962), is the same word translated “Lord” in Luke 4:8, “And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.'” Again, it is the same Greek word translated “Lord” in Matthew 4:10.
Not only did they call Jesus “Lord” and “Saviour”, titles reserved by Jehovah God for Jehovah God, but they worshipped Him as Jehovah God and offered Him gifts: “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)
Jesus Christ – Scripture That Reveals His Part in the Godhead
As we have seen in the prior scripture, Paul quotes Jehovah and applies it to Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear — Jesus Christ is the name above every name.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”(Colossians 2:8-9)
The fullness of God was in the flesh in Jesus Christ. The Greek word translated “Godhead”, theotes (theh-ot’-ace, Strong’s 2320), means “Deity” or “God,” as in Jehovah God. The fullness of Jehovah God was in Jesus Christ.
There’s some confusion over Colossians 1:13-17, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:13-17)
The confusion stems from Colossians 1:15, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature…” The term “Firstborn of every creature” does not refer to Christ being born first before any creature. Obviously that would be a contradiction, as Christ wasn’t born of Mary until many generations after Adam. Furthermore, it would contradict the following verse, “For by Him were all things created…” The term “Firstborn of every creature” refers to His preeminence as God Himself. The Greek word translated “Firstborn”, prototokos (pro-tot-ok’-os, Strong’s 4416), comes from the root “protos” (pro’-tos, Strong’s 4413). Protos means literally “best”, “chief”, “most important”. The Firstborn is supreme heir, not necessarily first-born, as we see throughout the Bible.
While Manasseh was born first, Ephraim was firstborn: “And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh’s head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.” (Genesis 48:14)
“They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” (Jeremiah 31:9) We see this again in the story of Jacob (Israel) and Esau.
Jesus Christ – A Warning for All of Us
Paul warns us against falling for a false Jesus Christ, a false Spirit, and a false Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3-4). Peter explains why we must be careful: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” (2 Peter 3:15-16)
Peter says that the ways of God are hard for us to understand and so some “wrest” (or misapply) them to their own destruction. We don’t want to join their ranks. The Spirit of God is warning us through Peter.
It is hard for us to understand why God would humble Himself and submit Himself to such horrible abuse at the hands of His creation. It is hard to understand why God would endure such rejection and humiliation. It is hard to understand why He loves us so very much that He would die for our redemption. It is equally hard to understand how He could become man, submitting to God the Father, while remaining God the Son. But just because we can’t understand it doesn’t mean He can’t and didn’t do it. It pleased Him to do this whether we understand it or not! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 55:8)
Jesus Christ – The Beginning and the End
The nature of Jesus Christ is revealed in the last book of the Bible, Revelation.
Revelation 1:8 reads, “‘I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,’ saith the Lord, ‘which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.'” (Revelation 1:8)
The “Alpha and Omega” is clearly a title for Jehovah.
Revelation 21:4-7 reads, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said unto me, ‘Write: for these words are true and faithful.’ And He said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son.'” (Revelation 21:4-7)
Once again, “Alpha and Omega” is clearly a title for Jehovah.
In Revelation 22:13 we see the title again, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Revelation 22:13)
If we read the prior verse, we see whom this title refers to: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” (Revelation 22:12-13)
Who is coming quickly?
Just a few verses earlier we read in Revelation 22:7, “Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7)
That doesn’t quite clear it up, but we read in Revelation 22:20, “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Revelation 22:20)
Jesus Christ is coming quickly! And just in case it is still too ambiguous, Christ makes it clear…
“And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent Mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” (Revelation 22:12-16)
In verse 16 we see “Alpha and Omega” is a title for Jesus Christ.
Again in Revelation 22:13, Jehovah is called “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” We see the title “the first and the last” earlier in the Book of Revelation, in Revelation 1:17, “And when I saw Him, I fell at his feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last…'” (Revelation 1:17)
Let’s look at the entire passage: “And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last…'” (Revelation 1:13-17)
We read that the “Son of man” (a title for Jesus Christ) is “the first and the last”. The picture gets a little clearer if we read one more verse, “And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, ‘Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.'” (Revelation 1:17-18)
When was Jehovah, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, ever dead? When He hung upon a Roman cross for you and me. Jesus Christ is Jehovah God, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, God the Son to the glory of God the Father, the Redeemer, the only Saviour, the King.
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