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JESUS CHRIST IS GOD

 

 

The revelation by Christ of His divinity was progressive. It was unveiled by allusions which became more and more explicit, like an obvious fact which emerged from His person. The manifestation of Jesus’ divinity carries with it the traits of His personality: simplicity and uprightness.

In addition, the progressive nature of the revelation was necessary due to the demands of the Jewish religious milieu. A clear assertion of His divinity by Jesus at the beginning of His public life would have been totally incomprehensible, given the rigorous monotheistic convictions of the Israelites. It was above all at the end of His public life and at the moment of His Passion, that He would unveil the mystery of His divine nature: I and the Father are one (Jn 10:30).

  1. Jesus Christ called Himself “Lord” and “Son of God” in the full sense of these words

Even before Christ came into the world and began to preach His doctrine, it pleased God to reveal this truth to men. The Angel Gabriel who announced to Mary that she would become the Mother of the Savior, said to her: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the Holy One to be born of you will be called the Son of God (Lk 1:35). When, thirty years later, Christ went to the banks of the Jordan to be baptized, God confirmed the words of the Angel: This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Mt 3:17; cf. also Mt 17:5).

1) Jesus Christ is called “Lord”

In the Greek translation of the books of the Old Testament, the ineffable name under which God revealed Himself to Moses (cf. Ex 3:14), was translated as “Lord.” “Lord” thus became the most common name for designating the very divinity of the God of Israel. The New Testament utilizes this strong meaning of the title of “Lord” not only for the Father, but also—and this is what is new—for Jesus, thus acknowledged to be God Himself: We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages, for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor 2:7-8).

Jesus indeed attributed this title to Himself in a veiled way in a discussion with the Pharisees on the meaning of Psalm 109[110]: Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, saying, “What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David, inspired by the Spirit, calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, till I put your enemies under your feet” ’? If David thus calls him Lord, how is he his son?” And no one was able to answer him a word (Mt 22:41-46). Indeed the only possible answer to the dilemma is that David, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, recognized himself to be inferior to the Messiah, his future descendant as a man, but his Creator as God.

Jesus explicitly gave Himself the title of “Lord” at the Last Supper: You call me Master and Lord; and you are right, for so I am (Jn 13:13)

2) Jesus Christ is called “the Son of God”

In the Old Testament, the title of “Sons of God” is sometimes given to the angels, to the chosen people, and to the children of Israel and their kings. It thus signifies an adoptive sonship which established between God and His creatures a particularly intimate relationship. But its meaning is quite different in the assertion of the Gospels according to which Jesus Christ is “the Son of God” (singular with the Greek definite article ‘o).2

  1. When Martha, the sister of Lazarus, said to Jesus: Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who have come into this world (Jn 11:27), the Divine Master accepted this title.
  2. Christ asked the Apostles one day: “Who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him: “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Mt 16:15-17). Would Jesus have acted that way if the expression “Son of God” was to be understood according to the common meaning of the term (a son among many others)? Certainly not, for in that case Peter’s answer would have been common place. In addition, if Peter was able to realize the transcendent character of the divine afiliation of Jesus, it was because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood.
  3. Before the Great Council of the Jews (Sanhedrin), the High Priest Caiphas interrogated Jesus: “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him: “You have said it…” Then the high priest tore his robes and said: “He has uttered blasphemy; why do we still need witnesses? You have now heard the blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered: “He is deserving of death” (Mt 26: 63-66). In their eyes, according to the precepts of the law of Moses, Jesus should have been stoned as a blasphemer because He made Himself equal to God. Thus they had fully understood Christ’s assertion: I am the Son of God. But, blinded by their prejudices and their passions, they did not want to believe in Him.
  4. The Jews understood so well that Jesus Christ had called Himself the Son of God that they said to Pilate, when the latter had proclaimed Christ’s innocence: We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God (Jn 19:7). When Jesus was dying on the cross, the Jews ironically said to Him: If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross (Mt 27:40).
  5. Occasionally, Jesus simply gave Himself the title of Son, with reference to the Father, who is obviously God.
    • All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him (Mt 11:27).
    • The Son is at a higher level than the angels themselves (Mt 24:36: But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only [Note: By this statement, Our Lord means to say that the time fixed by Providence for the Judgment which must follow the end of the world was not among those things which He had the mission to reveal to men. In no way does He mean to question His divine nature]).
  6. Even more, Jesus clearly called Himself the “only Son” of God. While He was speaking to Nicodemus one day, He put it this way: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son… He who believes in him is not judged; he who does not believe, is already judged, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (Jn 3:16-18).
  7. Jesus Christ called God His Father and said that He was equal to the Father
  8. The first and last words that we know of Our Lord Jesus Christ are statements of His completely unique relationship with God the Father. When He saw His mother and His adoptive father, who had been vainly searching for Him in anguish for three days, He said to them: How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house (Lk 2:49). Before dying on the cross, He cried out: Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit (Lk 23:46). In the Old Testament, God is sometimes called the Father of the Jewish People (for example in Isaiah 64:7), in the sense of “creator,” but no person, not even Moses or Elijah, calls God “my Father.”
  9. When He cast the merchants out of the Temple, He said: You shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade (Jn 2:16). At the last Supper, wishing to console His disciples, He said: I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate (Jn 14: 16).
  10. Christ attributed to Himself the same nature as that of His Father. I and the Father are one (Jn 10:30). Jesus thereby wished to show His completely unique relationship with God which is a relation of equality in the same nature. When they heard these words, the Jews understood that Jesus attributed divinity to Himself, and that is why they wanted to stone Him: We stone you for no good work, but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God (Jn 10: 33).
  11. Jesus answered Philip who asked Him to show the Father to the apostles: “Philip, he who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?” (Jn 14:9-11).
  12. It is true that Jesus asked His disciples to say the Our Father when they prayed (cf. Mt 6:9). But before that He said: So when you pray, setting Himself apart and distinguishing Himself in that way from His disciples. For them it was merely an adoptive filiation, which came from the Incarnation of Christ, the Son of God (cf. Rom 8:15). That is why Jesus, on the day of His Resurrection, distinguished these two sorts of paternity when He said to Mary Magdalene: Go to my brethren and say to them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father (Jn 20:17).
  13. Jesus said: The Father has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father (Jn 5:22-23).

III. Jesus Christ attributed to Himself perfection and power that God alone possesses

  1. Jesus Christ asserted His eternity: Before Abraham was, I am (Jn 8:58). Christ did not say “I was,” but “I am,” thus letting it be understood that there was for Him no past, but an eternal present. This statement recalls the revelation by God of His Name to Moses in the burning bush: I AM WHO AM (Ex 3:14). Here again, the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy.
  2. Only the divine identity of the person of Jesus can justify an absolute necessity such as this: He who is not with me, is against me (Mt 12:30).
  3. At the Last Supper, speaking to His Father, Jesus called out: Now Father, glorify me, with yourself, with the glory which I had with you before the world was made (Jn 17:5).
  4. Jesus attributed omnipotence to Himself, a power equal to that of His Father: Whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise… For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom He will (Jn5:19, 21). No man takes my life away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again (Jn 10:18).
  5. Jesus likewise has the power to raise the dead and to assure us of eternal life: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (Jn 6:53-54).
  6. Jesus Christ attested to His power to forgive sins and to judge men. He said to the paralytic, Be of good heart, son; your sins are forgiven (Mt 9:2). The Pharisees were scandalized by these words: Who could forgive sins, if not God alone? In fact, the priests of the Old Law did not have the power to forgive sins against God; it was Christ who conferred that power on the priests of the New Law. In order to prove to them that he had the power to forgive men their sins, Jesus miraculously gave back to the unfortunate cripple the use of his limbs. If Christ had truly blasphemed in forgiving sins, God would never have given Him the power to immediately perform a miracle.
  7. He accepted Thomas’ profession of faith when, eight days after the Resurrection, he fell to his feet and said to Him: My Lord and my God! (Jn 20:28).

CONCLUSION

DIVINITY OF JESUS CHRIST

Christ addressed these words to the Jews who did not believe in Him: Do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God”? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I in the Father (Jn 10:36-38).

Some years later, at the time of the first generation of Christians, having received approval of his teachings from the Apostles Peter, John and James (cf. Gal 2:1-10), Paul translated and explained the faith of the early Church: And he is before all, and by him all things consist; in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell (Col 1:17, 19); to them (the Jews) belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh is Christ, who is God over all, blessed for ever (Rom 9:5); though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil 2:6-7).

“It pleased God, in His goodness and wisdom, to reveal Himself and to make known the mystery of His will… By this revelation, then, the invisible God, from the fullness of His love, addresses men as His friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into His own company… The most intimate truth which this revelation gives us about God and the salvation of man shines forth in Christ, who is Himself both the mediator and the sum total of Revelation”.

Christ said: I am the way, and the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6). Belief in Jesus Christ and in Him who sent Him for our salvation is thus necessary in order to be saved. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6) and to partake of the inheritance as one of His sons; therefore, no one has ever been justified without faith, and unless one perseveres in the faith until the end, no one shall obtain eternal life.

Belief is only possible by the grace and the internal help of the Holy Spirit. We ask Christ for this grace by this fervent prayer: I believe, Lord; but come and help my unbelief (cf. Mk 9:23). This prayer will be heard if it is trusting, persevering and humble: Jesus said, Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Mt 7:7)

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