The Deity of Jesus Pt. 1

2013-01-04 14.58.58When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?[1]” they told him that some thought he was John the Baptist, some thought he was Elijah, and others thought he was the Prophet spoken of by Moses.  When he asked them, “Who do you say that I am?[2]” Peter proclaimed that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God![3]”  Jesus told his disciples that Peter’s statement was a revelation from God the Father in Heaven and would be the immovable cornerstone upon which his church is built.

In his Gospel, John set out to make it clear that Jesus, the Word of God that was both with God and was God from the beginning, had become a human being and lived among his people.  John accomplished this by writing about eight specific sign miracles of Jesus that related to eight “I AM” statements in which Jesus clearly stated his deity, all of which occurred during the three and a half years of his earthly ministry.

Although today, some people may argue that believing in miraculous signs isn’t a good foundation for faith (they also argue that ‘real’ faith is only based on believing the Word of God), the reality is that God always meets people at their level of faith and works to increase their faith, even through miraculous signs. In fact John’s purpose for writing his gospel, centered primarily upon 8 specific signs, was not only to increase peoples’ faith, but to bring it to the point where we believe the truth that Jesus is Himself the Son of God in human form, with the very same nature as God the Father in heaven. John writes: “Now Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book; but these (signs) are recorded that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.[4]

Signs were extremely important to the Jews, and throughout the Bible God manifested himself to His people through signs. Leon Morris notes that John’s distinctive use of the word sign is “an important word which points to something beyond itself… It has a meaning that is fulfilled elsewhere than in the miracle.”[5] According to Elmer Towns in the book The Gospel of John: Believe and Live, the word John used for signs was a specific word (semeion in the Greek) to demonstrate Jesus’ deity, and was different than the words used for miracles in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke.

In a letter to one of the churches, Paul wrote that the Jews demanded miraculous signs and Gentiles seek after wisdom.  It is also interesting to note that the gospel of John alternates between Jesus’ signs and his discourses to satisfy both Jews and Gentiles about Christ’s deity.

 


[1] New American Standard Bible. (La Habra, CA: Foundation Press Publications, Publisher for the Lockman Foundation, 1971), p. 1763.

[2] Ibid. p. 1764.

[3] Ibid. p. 1764.

[4] New American Standard Bible. (La Habra, CA: Foundation Press Publications, Publisher for the Lockman Foundation, 1971), p. 2011, 2012.

[5] Morris, Leon. Jesus Is the Christ: Studies in the Theology of John. Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 1989. p. 2.

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