By Cecil Willis
Recently we began a discussion of the deity of Christ. So abundant are the proofs of Christ’s deity that it is impossible to discuss them all, in one such lesson. So in this article, I want to continue our thoughts and show other proofs of the divinity of Jesus the Christ. Previously, we suggested, as a proof of his deity, the fact that Jesus never equates himself with men. He never prayed “Our Father who art in heaven,” but often he spoke of “my Father” and “your Father.”
Jesus: An Object of Faith
As an additional proof, I would like to suggest that the scriptures teach that Jesus is an object of faith, and not just a good example of faith. The modernist will very readily admit that Jesus is the most perfect example of faith the world has ever known. I believe it was Renen, the French skeptic, who said that there was never a particle of selfishness in Christ. Many who do not believe He is the Son of God will speak of Him as the Master Teacher, and will confess that He established the greatest moral system the world has ever known and that He is the best man the world has ever known and the perfect example of faith. But when one has said all of this concerning Jesus Christ, he has not said enough. Jesus was not just a good example for us. He was that, of course, but He was more than a good example. He is one in whom we are to believe. In John 20:30-31, the Apostle John cited the reason for his writing the gospel bearing his name. He said, “Many other signs, therefore, did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.” John wrote that we may believe that Jesus is the Sort of God. He is more than just a good man; He is the object of our faith.
In Luke 7:50, Jesus said unto the woman, “thy faith has saved thee; go in peace.” The saving faith of this woman was not in the fact that Jesus was a good man, but that He was the Son of God. Faith saves only when its implications are carried out, because the faith that saves is the faith that obeys. Another passage showing the fact that Jesus is not just an example of faith but that he is the object of faith is John 20:27-28. When Jesus said to doubting Thomas, “Reach hither thy hand and put it into my side: And be not faithless, but believing” (v. 27), all of the doubts of Thomas were immediately removed. The Bible says that “Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God.” The evidence was such that Thomas confessed more than that Jesus was merely an upright man. He was, indeed, God’s Son.
The Authority of Christ
As another argument, showing the fact that Jesus was divine, let us consider the authority with which He spoke: As the scripture says, “never man so spake” (John 7:46). In the Old Testament, we find many words of God spoken through prophets, but each time the prophet spoke, he would begin by saying “Thus saith the Lord,” but when the Lord Jesus spoke, being God’s Son, He did not have to attach a prefix to what he said. He himself could speak with the, authority of God.
So we find that His sayings are put on a level with Old Testament pronouncements, which were regarded by all as the very Word of God. To illustrate this, let us notice some of the things Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. He said, “Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matt. 5:21-22). Observe that He quoted the law and then said, “but I say unto you.” In the same chapter, verses 27 and 28, “Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” And, of course, there are many other examples in this same sermon. These are sufficient to show that Jesus’ sayings were equated with the sayings of God. They were put on the same level.
The Claims of Christ
As we continue to select a few of the evidences of the deity of Christ, let us notice what Jesus said of himself. First, He said He would judge the world. In Matt. 7:2123, Jesus gives a description of the Judgment in which people shall stand before Him and give an account for what they have done. “Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” And in John 12:48, He says, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.” An ordinary man does not have the power to give to men eternal life or send them into everlasting destruction, but Jesus has this power, because He is God’s Son. Further, He says, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mk. 8:38).
Secondly, another claim that Jesus made of Himself was that He had power to forgive sins. Of course, there are many denominational churches today which would assert that the power to forgive sins is no indication of divinity, because they feel that one must confess his sins to a preacher or other clergyman, and the preacher can make intercession for thesinner and get the sins blotted out. But the scribes spoken of in the New Testament were right when they said that the ordinary man who professes to forgive sins is a blasphemer. Had Jesus been an ordinary man, He would have been guilty of blasphemy. After having healed the man sick of palsy, “certain of the scribes said within themselves, this man blasphemeth, and Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise’. and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of mar hath authority on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, anc go unto thy house” (Matt. 9:3-6). And in Mk. 2:7, we find the question asked, “Who can forgive sins but one even God?” So when Jesus claimed the power to forgive sins it was equivalent to saying, “I am God; I am divine.”
Thirdly, Jesus claimed perfectly to know God, and asserted that no one can know God except he reveal Him. “All things have been delivered unto me of my Father: And no one knoweth the Son saveth the Father; neither doth anyone know the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him” (Matt. 11:27). Jesus says, “I know God.” The apostle John says, in John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time.” So Jesus was more than a man. John continues, “the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” So we see that Jesus claimed and did things that no man can do.
The Works of Christ
The works that Jesus did also testify to his supernatural powers. Miracles in the New Testament were called signs. A sign signifies something. Miracles or. signs signified Christ had divine approval in what He said. Nicodemus came to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; and no one can do these signs that thou doest, except God be with him.” Jesus was willing to stake His claim to be the Son of God on the works that He did. He said, “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not, but if I do them, though you believe not me, believe the works” (John 10:37-38). Here is a temptation to divert our thoughts from our thesis and to discuss the many, marvelous works He did. But we must proceed with our presentation of other proofs of the Deity of Christ.
The Resurrection of Christ
The empty tomb of Christ is a historical fact with great implications. The tomb of Christ was guarded by a legion of soldiers. Yet on the third day, they had to admit, His body was missing. They had seen Him placed there dead. Later, the disciples saw Him, resurrected from the dead. His resurrection is a crowning proof of His divinity. No man before or since has made the claims that Jesus made, and then be willing to stake the truthfulness of those claims upon the fact that He would be raised from the dead. Paul says, in Rom. 1:4 that Jesus Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The same writer emphasized that if Jesus were not raised from the dead, the preaching of the apostles was in vain, as well as was the faith of all the Christians. The apostles had borne false witness; the dead are not raised; we are yet in our sins, and those that have fallen asleep in Christ have perished (1 Cor. 15:12-19). All of this is true if there be no resurrection. But the Lord was raised and begat us again unto a living hope by His resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3, 4). When He broke the bonds of death and burst forth from the tomb, He brought life and immortality to light and radiated hope to all mankind.
The apostle John presents some evidences of the Deity of Christ, in 1 Jn. 5. These proofs are the testimony of the water, blood, Spirit, God and the disciples. At the baptism of Christ, God said “This is my beloved Son.” In the death of Christ His blood was shed. Yet He was raised to live ever more. The Holy Spirit of God, through the apostles, bears testimony to the fact that Jesus is the Christ. God said on at least two occasions, at the baptism of Christ (Matt. 3:17) and at His transfiguration (Mark 9:16), “This is my beloved Son,” and John said, “He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he hath not believed in the witness that’ God has borne concerning His Son” (1 Jn. 5:10). Every person that says Christ is not God’s Son calls God a liar because God said He is. And the final testimony that John presents is that of the witnesses. He said “God gave unto us eternal life, and this life is in his at Son” (1 Jn. 5:11). The disciples knew they had eternal life, and sealed their witness with their blood; their testimony also is to the effect that Jesus is the Son of God. We need more preaching today like Paul did in the synagogues of Damascus. After his conversion we read, “And straightway in the synagogues he proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9.20).
Truth Magazine XIX: 34, pp. 531-533
July 10, 1975