While there are some that believe that Jesus was a great teacher, a good man, and even a prophet of God, to deny that Jesus is God is in direction opposition to what the Bible teaches. It is also in direct opposition to what the Lord Jesus Christ claimed about himself, and proved through his actions during his earthly ministry, his death, and his resurrection. If Jesus was just a man and not God, as some would argue, then he would not have the power to save sinners from the just judgment of God, and there would be no hope for salvation for anyone.
To understand the biblical basis for Jesus humanity and deity, we must first understand that the Bible itself is the inspired Word of God, inerrant, and authoritative in what it proclaims. In 2 Timothy 3:16 it is written “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” which means that God breathed His Holy Spirit into the words of the Bible, making it living and active. He also inspired who would write it, incorporating even their personalities and writing style, including the punctuation used. Since God is ultimately the author of the bible and it is impossible for Him to lie, the things that the Bible teaches us about Jesus are absolutely true, without error, and worthy for us to accept and put our faith in for our salvation, and for a right relationship with God.
The Bible teaches us that Jesus was 100 percent God and 100 percent man at the same time. In Christianity, we refer to this as Jesus being the God-man. Concerning his humanity, Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man. He was not only fully human, but also the Jewish Messiah, and the second Adam, representing human race before God. As a man he was subject to temptation, weakness, pain and suffering, and was limited to being in one place at a time. However, Jesus was not any ordinary man. According to the Gospel of John chapter 1, Jesus was God who became flesh and dwelt among us. In order for Him to be able to redeem us from the just penalty of our sin, he had to be sinless. According to Hebrews 4:15, Jesus can relate to our weakness and give us victory over temptation because “he was tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin.” By subjecting himself completely to the will of God the Father in humility, the man Christ Jesus demonstrated to us the perfect example of what a person should be when governed by the Holy Spirit of God.
Concerning his deity, the Bible teaches that Jesus is the Son of God, fully equal in nature with his Father. Jesus’ deity was proclaimed by Jesus himself in the seven “I am” statements referred to in John’s gospel, and in his claim to pre-existence to the Jews when he said “before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus’ deity is proven through the testimony of God himself when He stated: “You are my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased,” and through the very works that Jesus did. As God, Jesus had the authority to forgive sin, which he demonstrated in the life of the woman caught in adultery, the paralytic man, and the woman at the well. Jesus had power over his creation, which demonstrated by calming the storm on the lake and walking on water. Jesus had power over illness, which he demonstrated by giving sight to the blind, giving hearing to the deaf, making the lame walk again, and healing incurable leprosy. As God, demons were completely subject to his authority. And finally, Jesus had power over death, which he demonstrated by raising Jairus’ daughter, the widow’s son, Lazarus, and even himself from the dead.
Jesus stated that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever would believe on him would not perish but have everlasting life.” For this salvation to be possible, and available to every human being, Jesus had to be both God and man. God’s holy and just nature demands perfect obedience in order to maintain a right relationship with Him. Any disobedience requires just judgment and atonement. If we as sinners try to atone for our own disobedience, the result is eternal separation from God in eternal punishment. Therefore, our only hope for salvation is for a perfect and sinless human being to be our substitute and suffer the penalty of death on our behalf. Since every human being is a descendant of Adam and born a sinner, our only hope for salvation is for God himself to become a sinless human being and as a prefect representative for the entire human race, suffer and die as our substitute in order to pay the price once and for all for our disobedience to God. That is exactly what Jesus did, and the reason that each person who puts and keeps their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ has the assurance from God that their sins are forgiven, their relationship with Him is restored, and their salvation is complete.
Elwell, Walter A. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House Company, 2001.
The Holy Bible, New King James Version. Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1982
Towns, Elmer L. Theology for Today. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2008