This article first appeared in the Ask Hank column of the Christian Research Journal, volume29, number1 (2006). For further information or to subscribe to the Christian Research Journal go to: http://www.equip.org
“We wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus2:13).2
Many biblical texts can be used to demonstrate that Jesus is God. Three, however, stand out above the rest. Not only are they clear and convincing, but their “addresses” are easy to remember as well—John1, Colossians1, and Hebrews1.
First, is John1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (v.1). Here Jesus is not only in existence before the world began, but is differentiated from the Father and explicitly called God, indicating that He shares the same nature as His Father.
Furthermore, Colossians1 informs us that “all things were created by him” (v.16); He is “before all things” (v.17); and “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him” (v.19). Only deity has the prerogative of creation, preexists all things, and personifies the full essence and nature of God.
Finally, Hebrews1 overtly tells us that according to God the Father Himself—Jesus is God: “But about the Son he [the Father] says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever’” (v.8). Not only is the entirety of Hebrews 1 devoted to demonstrating the absolute deity of Jesus, but in verses 10–12 the inspired writer quotes a passage in Psalm102 referring to Yahweh and directly applies it to Christ. In doing so, the Scripture specifically declares Jesus ontologically equal with Israel’s God.
Many similar texts could be adduced. For example, in Revelation1 the Lord God says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (v.8). In the last chapter of Revelation, Jesus applies these self same words—“Alpha and Omega”—to Himself! Additionally, in 2Peter1 Jesus is referred to as “our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (v.1). In these passages and a host of others, the Bible explicitly claims that Jesus is God.
What Credentials Back Up Jesus’ Claim to Deity?
“When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor’” (Matt.11:2–5).
Not only does the Bible explicitly teach that Jesus is God, but Jesus Himself also has provided many convincing proofs that He indeed is divine.
First, Jesus demonstrated that He was God in human flesh by manifesting the credential of sinlessness. While the Qur’an exhorts Muhammad to seek forgiveness for his sins, the Bible exonerates Messiah, saying Jesus “had no sin” (2Cor.5:21); and this is not a singular statement. John declares that “in him is no sin” (1John3:5), and Peter says Jesus “committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth” (1Pet.2:22). Jesus Himself went so far as to challenge His antagonists, asking, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” (John8:46).
Furthermore, Jesus demonstrated supernatural authority over sickness, the forces of nature, fallen angels, and even death itself. Matthew4 records that Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching, preaching, “and healing every disease and sickness among the people” (v.23). Mark4 documents Jesus rebuking the wind and the waves, saying, “Quiet! Be still!” (v.39). In Luke4 Jesus encounters a man possessed by an evil spirit and commands the demon: “Come out of him!” (v.35). And in John4, Jesus tells a royal official whose son was close to death, “Your son will live” (v.50). In fact, the four Gospels record how Jesus demonstrated ultimate power over death through the immutable fact of His resurrection.
Finally, the credentials of Christ’s deity are seen in the lives of countless men, women, and children. Each day, people of every tongue and tribe and nation experience the resurrected Christ by repenting of their sins and receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives. Thus, they not only come to know about Christ evidentially, but experientially Christ becomes more real to them than the very flesh upon their bones.
— Hank Hanegraaff
1. Adapted from Hank Hanegraaff, The Bible Answer Book (Nashville: J. Countryman, 2004). For further study, see Hank Hanegraaff, Resurrection (Nashville: Word Publishing, 2000) and William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, rev. ed. (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1994), chaps. 7–8.
2. All Bible quotations are from the New International Version.