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The case for the deity of Christ

Jesus replied, "Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."

"You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"

"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM!"

At this, they picked up stones to stone him.

(John 8:55-59 NIV)
Outline and quotes from David's sermon last Sunday:

1. The Importance of the Doctrine

a. It is central to Christian faith.


b. The fact that Jesus Christ is God distinguishes Christianity from other major religions


c. If Jesus was not God, than His death had no special significance, and we are still the objects of God’s
wrath.

d. If Jesus was not God, than He is not coming back again to establish His kingdom.


We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.

(From the Nicene Creed, AD 325)

2. The Scriptural Evidence (Col 1:15-20)

3. The Claims of Christ.

a) The egocentric character of Christ’s teaching. (John 8:12; 11:25-26; Luke 4:20, 21 [quoting Isa 61:1, 2])

b) Jesus’ direct claims (John 8:55-59; 10:29-30; 20:26-29)


c) His indirect claims (Mark 2:5-12; John 5:21-23; 8:12; 9:1-7; 11:25-26,
41-44)

4. The Character of Christ. (1 Peter 1:19-20; 2:22; John 8
:46; Matt 26:59-66)

"It is we [in our generation] who have pared the claws of the lion of Judah... He was emphatically not a dull man in His human life-time. It has been left to later generations to muffle up that shattering personality...
The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore — on the contrary, they thought Him too dynamic to be safe." (Dorothy Sayers, author and playwright )

"It is difficult enough for anyone, even a consummate master of imaginative writing, to create a picture of a deeply pure, good person, moving… in an impure environment, without making Him a… prude or a sort of plaster saint. How is it that, through all the Gospel traditions [we find a]… firmly-drawn portrait of an attractive young man moving freely among women of all sorts, including the decidedly disreputable, without a trace of sentimentality, unnaturalness, or prudery and yet, at every point, maintaining a simple integrity of character?" (C.F.D. Moule, The Phenomenon of the New Testament, 1967, pp. 63-64)

"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." (Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955)

5. The Resurrection of Christ

a. The tomb was empty


b. Jesus was seen by many. (1 Cor. 15:3-8)


c. The disciples were changed.

“How was it possible that his disciples, who by no means excelled in intelligence, eloquence, or strength of faith, were able to bring their victorious march of conversion .. after the shattering fiasco on Golgotha. In other words: How did it nevertheless come about that the adherents of Jesus were able to conquer this most horrible of all disappointments? There can be only one explanation for the transformation of a rabble of peasants, shepherds, and fishermen, frightened, scattered, and demoralized, hiding from the authorities, denying their leader, into the zealous and remarkably successful missionaries who took Christianity to the nations of the world. Between Good Friday and the end of Easter Sunday, something happened. What was it? The resurrection of Jesus from the dead.” (Pinchas Lapide, 1922-1997, Jewish scholar and diplomat.)
6. Conclusions.

This presents us with a clear set of choices about who Jesus is:

--He was a liar. He was just pretending to be God, but he was not. But this is not consistent with his teaching on truth and on love.

--He was deluded lunatic. But this does not agree with the balance and sanity of his teaching
.

--He was and is who he claimed to be, the Lord, the Son of God.


"I am trying 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 sort of 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 a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or He would be the devil of hell. You must make a choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse." (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 55-56.)

a. Because Jesus is God, His death enormous significance, and those who trust in Him are no longer the objects of God’s wrath.

b. Because Jesus is God, then we must live for Him.


c. Because Jesus is God, then He is coming back again to establish His kingdom.


"There was no other good enough
to pay the price of sin,
He only could unlock the gate
of heaven and let us in." (children's hymn)

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16-17 NIV)
Full sermon available here.

Recommended reading: Basic Christianity by John Stott.


Comments

Adam Pastor said…
Greetings Sandy

The fact yet remains that
our Lord Jesus Christ
never ever claimed to be Almighty GOD!

Rather he claimed to be
the Son of GOD

e.g. John 10.36!

Being he is the Lamb of GOD, his death is indeed of immense significance i.e. we have forgiveness of sins.
Therefore this man is the Lamb that GOD his Father has provided for the sacrifice for our sins -
see Roms. 5.15-19, 1 Cor. 15.21.

Because Jesus is the Son of GOD he will indeed be coming back to establish His kingdom;
i.e. (Luke 1:32-33) He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

His teaching was unique because he spoke the very words that GOD gave him to speak i.e. John 7.16-17, 12.48-50, etc.

Concerning the fact that Jesus forgave sins;
please see: Jesus forgave sins

Therefore, on the subject of C.S. Lewis' trilemma,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.
The video also addresses John 8.58, 10.30, 20.28.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor
Sandy said…
Thanks for taking the time to comment, Adam. But I think the outline given in my post -- and the passages cited -- do support the deity of Jesus Christ. It seems the Jews of Jesus' day understood what he was saying (John 8:58-59), and Thomas did (John 20:28-29), and Peter did, (2 Peter 1:1) as did Paul (Philippians 2:6; Titus 2:13), and John (John 1:1-18). All of these were eye-witnesses of Jesus and his resurrection.
And finally, how else could Jesus pray, "And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed." (John 17:5)
So I do believe in the deity of Christ, for no other could do the work he did unless he were both God and man.

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