Declaration Of Deity

Tom Bunting
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

The gospel according to John was written with one great purpose, "to bear record that this is the Son of God" (Jno. 1:34). The theme of this great book is repeated again in the conclusion. John says, "And many other signs but these are written that ye might believe" (Jno. 20:30, 31 ).

John was one of those that testified to the divinity of Christ. "First ye sent unto John and he bear witness of me" (Jno. 5:33). John said, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (Jno. 1:29, 36). But there is greater witness than the witness of John.

There is the witness of God the Father. "And the Father himself, which sent me, hath born witness of me" (Jno. 5:37). The deity of Christ was declared by God on at least two occasions: After the baptism of Jesus there was heard a voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mt. 3:17). The second time was on the mount of transfiguration when again a voice from a Cloud was heard saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him." (Mt. 17:5).

He is also declared to be the Christ by his personal affirmations. The statements in the lessons of Jesus are most astonishing and assert his divinity. Through his ministry he continued to declare his deity. To the woman at the well he said, "I that speak unto thee am He" (Jno. 4:25, 26). The Jews sought to kill him for he said that "God was his Father" (Jno. 5:17, 18). To the multitude the day following the feeding of the five thousand he said, "I am the bread of life" (Jno. 6:35). As we go on through the gospel of John we find these statements: "I am the light of the world" (Jno. 8:12, 9:15). "I am from above" (Jno. 8:23-25). "Ye shall know I am He" (Jno. 8:28). "I came from God" (Jno. 8:42). "Before Abraham, I am" (Jno. 8:56-58). "I am the door" (Jno. 10:7-9). "I am the good shepherd" (Jno. 10:11). "I am the resurrection and life" (Jno. 11 :25). "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (Jno. 14:6). "I am the true vine" Jno. 15:1 ). The result was generallv the same. "They were astonished at his doctrine for he spake as one having authority" ( Mt. 7 :28, 29; Mk. 1 :22 ; Lk. 4:32). Many of the people therefore, when they heard his savings said, "Of a truth this is the Prophet" (John 7:30). The officers said, "Never a man spake like this" (Jno. 7:46). On another occasion after one of His lessons the people ask, " Who art thou?" And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning" (Jno. 8:25). "As he spake these words, many believed on him" (Jno. 8:30).

Still there is more evidence of his divinity. This is the testimony of the scriptures or fulfilled prophecy. "Search the scriptures for they are they that testify of me" Jno. 5:39). There are prophecies mentioned in the other gospels which were not mentioned by John. However, we are trying to confine ourselves to the declaration of deity as found in John's gospel. Note the following prophecies and their fulfillment: "And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt" (Jno. 12:14, 15; quoted from Zech. 9:9). "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (Jno. 12:37, 38 from Isa. 53:1 ; 6:10). "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me" (Jno. 13:18 from Ps. 41:9). ". . . but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause" (Jno. 15:24, 25 prophesied in Ps. 69:4; Isa. 49:7). "Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst" (Jno. 19:18 fulfilling Isa. 53:12). "After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it to his mouth" (Jno. 19:28, 29) prophesied in Ps. 69:21). "They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots" (Jno. 19:24 prophesied in Ps. 22:18). "But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs . . . For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken" (Jno. 19:33, 36 from Ps. 34:20). And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced" (Jno. 19:37 quoted from Zech. 12:10). Did you notice the number of times that Hohn used such statements as: the scripture saith, the scripture should be fulfilled, the word might be fulfilled? Yes, search the scriptures for they testify of the Christ the Son of God.

The final declaration that John makes concerning the deity of Christ is the resurrection. When Mary Magdaline came to the sepulchre early in the morning the first of the week she found the tomb empty. Running to tell the disciples she came to Peter and another disciple and told them that someone had stolen the body. The two disciples ran together to the tomb and Peter entered first and the other followed him. Thev saw the linen clothes and noted that the napkin that had been about His head was by itself in another place. After the two disciples had left Mary remained at the tomb weeping. Two angels ask her, "Woman, why weepest thou?" She, said, "Because they took my Lord and laid him I know not where?" At this moment the Lord appeared to Mary but she first supposed it to be the gardener. "Jesus saith, unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him Raboni; which is to say Master." (Jno. 20:16).

That same evening when the disciples were assembled, they had the doors closed for they feared the Jews, Jesus stood in the midst of them, and said, "Peace be unto you." And he showed them his hands and his side (Jno. 20:19, 20). But Thomas was not present it this time.

Eight days later the disciples were together again and Thomas was with them. Then came Jesus and appeared unto them the second time. "Then said 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" (Jno. 20:27). Thomas answered, My Lord My God" (Jno. 20:28).

Still the evidence of the resurrection was not through. Jesus showed himself to the disciples a third time at the sea of Tiberias (Jno. 21:1). And the apostle Paul lists other appearances of Christ as proof of his resurrection. "And he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: after that he was seen of about five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of, all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time." (I Cor. 15:5-8). For forty days after His resurrection he was seen of the disciples and spake things pertaining to the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3).

John's purpose was to "bear record that this is the Son of God" and that 's precisely what he did. He gave as evidence: the works of Jesus, the testimony of John, the testimony of God the Father, Jesus personal affirmations, fulfilled prophecies, and the resurrection. He concludes his work by saying, "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (Jno. 20:30, 31). This is truly a book which declares the deity of Christ.

Truth Magazine IV:6; pp. 8-9
March 1960