Is Jesus a prophet, a mere man, or something more? What does the Bible say?
For many people, Jesus is a great prophet of God whom we should honour and respect. For others, he was an impostor they rejected and crucified. However, for some he is more than a prophet. They love and actually worship him. Is this idolatry? Is there any reason from the Bible why these people worshipped Jesus?
To know the truth about him we must examine the Word of God. Here are, in part, the astonishing things we learn about him:
1- HIS SINLESSNESS
The Bible clearly states that Jesus was without any sin at all.
The apostle Peter states that Jesus “did not commit sin, and that in his mouth there was no deceit …” 1 Peter 2:22.
The Apostle Paul presents Jesus as “He who has not known sin …” 2 Corinthians 5:21.
Elsewhere it is said that Jesus is “holy, innocent, spotless, separate from sinners, and higher than the heavens …” Hebrews 7:26.
Jesus challenged his opponents, “Who among you will convince me of sin? John 8:46.
The demons themselves cried out that Jesus was “the Holy One of God” Luke 4:34.
Yet surely, God alone is holy! What then do we say of Jesus?
2- HIS ETERNAL EXISTENCE
Jesus is called the Word of God.
The apostle John writes, “In the beginning was the Word …” John 1: 1.
Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” John 8: 58.
In his prayer to God the Father, Jesus mentioned “the glory that he had with God before the world was.” John 17: 5.
It is affirmed of Jesus that “He is before all things, and all things continue to exist because of him” (Colossians 1:17).
The prophets of God also wrote about the Messiah who was to come. They present the promised Saviour as “the eternal Father” Isaiah 9: 5, and “he that shall rule over Israel, and whose activities go back to the days of old, to the days of eternity.” Micah 5: 1. He is the eternal King!
Yet, God alone is eternal! What then do we say of Jesus?
3- HE IS THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE
About Jesus, John writes, “In him was life, and life was the light of men” John 1: 4
Jesus himself makes the following declarations: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me, “John 14: 6.
He also said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies, “John 11:25 and “For as the Father has life in himself, so he has given to the Son to have life in himself,” John 5:26.
Yet, God alone is the source of life! What then do we say about Jesus?
4. HIS UNCHANGEABLE NATURE
The following verses are very clear:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” Hebrews 13: 8.
“The heavens shall perish, but you remain; They shall all grow old as a garment, and rolled up as a cloak, and they shall be changed; But you remain the same, and your years shall not end. Hebrews 1: 11,12
Yet, God alone is unchangeable! What then do we say about Jesus?
5- HIS INFINITE POWER
Jesus the Messiah said, “All power has been given me in heaven and on earth,” Matthew 28:18. and “All things have been given to me by my Father,” Matthew 11:27.
Elsewhere it is said that Jesus “upholds all things by his powerful word,” Hebrews 1: 3.
The ancient prophets described the Messiah as “mighty God,” Isaiah 9: 5.
He had the power to raise the dead again, John 11: 43,44; Luke 7: 14,15.
The resurrection of all the dead will be accomplished thanks to his power: “Do not be surprised at this; For the hour is coming when all who are in the sepulchres shall hear his voice, and shall come forth from it ” John 5:28
Yet, God alone is all-powerful! What then do we say about Jesus?
6- HIS INFINITE KNOWLEDGE
Surprised by his teaching, the disciples of Jesus said to him, “Now we know that you know all things …” John 16:30
Jesus, knowing the thoughts of his adversaries, asked, “Why do you have evil thoughts in your hearts? Matthew 9: 4
Elsewhere it is said, “For Jesus knew from the beginning who were those who believed not, and who was he that betrayed him” John 6:64
The apostle Paul wrote of “Christ in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” Colossians 2: 3
Jesus Himself said: “… no one knows the Father except the Son and the one to whom the Son wants to reveal it” Matthew 11:27. In this last declaration Jesus implies that only the Son possesses the unlimited knowledge which enables him to know God perfectly. His knowledge is therefore infinite.
Yet, God alone knows all things! What then do we say about Jesus?
7- HIS OMNIPRESENCE
Jesus himself declared that he is present everywhere: “For there or two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
When Jesus met his disciples after the resurrection on the Mount of Olives, he assured them that his presence and power would accompany them. He told them that his influence would not be that of a deceased chief, but of a living presence: “Behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” Matthew 28:20
Since Jesus is always present, he can keep and comfort his people. Therefore, no evil can reach them except what he deems necessary for their good.
Yet, God alone is present everywhere! What then do we say about Jesus?
8- HE IS THE CREATOR
The gospel of John says of Jesus: “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. ” John 1: 3
Elsewhere it is written, “For by him were created all things which are in the heavens and on earth, the visible and the invisible, thrones, dignities, dominions, authority. All was created by him and for him. He is before all things, and all things consist in him.” Colossians 1: 16,17
It is written of Jesus: “You, O Lord, have founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.” Hebrews 1:10. This sentence is used in the Psalms of David (Zabur) to designate God the Creator but here it is applied to Jesus. This indicates that Jesus is fully God.
Yet, Christians agree that “Nevertheless for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and by whom we exist.” 1 Corinthians 8: 6.
Yet, God alone is the Creator of all things! What then shall we say about Jesus?
9- HIS AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SINS
The Word of God describes how the religious leaders’ opposition to Jesus was growing, calling into question his divine authority. The Gospel tells of the healing of a paralysed man to show that Jesus has the same authority as God to forgive sins. “Jesus said to the paralytic,” My child, your sins are forgiven you. There were some scribes there who sat there and said to each other, “How come this man is speaking in this way?” He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins, except God alone? Jesus, instantly knowing by his spirit what they thought within them, said to them, “Why do you have such thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise, take your bed, and walk? Now, so that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins: “I command you,” he said to the paralytic, “arise, take up your bed, and go into your house. ” And immediately he arose, and took his bed, and went out in the presence of all the people, such that they were all astonished, and glorified God, saying, We never saw anything like it. Mark 2: 5-12.
No one, either priest nor prophet can forgive sins. Religious leaders were right in saying that only God can forgive sins. Let me ask you a question. Imagine I offended you, and another person came to say, “I forgive you for what you did to him.” Does that sound acceptable? Of course not ! Only you have the right to forgive me. Thus, when Jesus forgave sins he showed that he was the one sinners offend against. He spoke as God, otherwise His conduct was incomprehensible. God alone can forgive sins and declare someone innocent.
Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus made it clear that the forgiveness of sins would be possible through his death (Matthew 26:28). He offered his sinless life as a substitute and suffered the penalties deserved by the guilty. After the resurrection Jesus told the disciples “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His name to all nations …” Luke 24:47.
The Apostle Peter said, “All prophets testify that every one who believes in him receives through his name the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43). The apostle Paul says that God the Father “delivered us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1: 13,14 .
To assume the right to forgive sins is to claim to be equal to God.
Yet, only God forgives sin! What then can we say about Jesus?
10. HIS ACCEPTANCE OF INTERCESSION AND WORSHIP
Worshipping one who is not God is idolatry. Yet Jesus told his disciples to pray. He said: “… whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask for something in my name, I will do it.” John 14: 13,14. We read many times that during his earthly ministry Jesus received worship. The Magi, having been divinely led to the infant Jesus, “bowed and worshipped him,” Matthew 2:11. When Jesus walked on the sea to approach his disciples, “… those who were in the boat came to worship Jesus, and said,” You are truly the Son of God. “Matthew 14:33. Jesus healed a blind man who later returned “and worshipped him” John 9:38. Thomas, having met Jesus after the resurrection, said to him: My Lord and my God! John 20:28. Since Jesus did not reproach Thomas, it was because he accepted to be recognized as God.
After the resurrection the disciples went to Galilee and “When they saw him, they worshipped him” (Matthew 28:17). Jesus accepted this adoration as normal. He never rejected it as inappropriate or erroneous. Jesus, promising to hear and answer prayers and accepting this worship, openly behaves as only God can. He is therefore capable of satisfying all the spiritual needs of his people.
Yet, God alone is worthy to receive our prayers and adoration! What then do we say of Jesus?
11- JESUS IS THE WAY OF SALVATION
The Word of God says: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; He who does not believe in the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God dwells on him. “John 3:36. “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” Acts 16:31. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but to save the world through him. He who believes in him is not judged; But he who does not believe is already judged, because he did not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “John 3: 16-18.
Talking to a woman “Jesus said to her,” I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies; And whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe that? John 11: 25,26. The Word of God (Injil) clearly states that believing in Jesus is the same as believing in God. “He that believes on me believes not in me, but in him that sent me; And he that sees me sees him that sent me. “John 12: 44,45.
One day a crowd asked Jesus: “What must we do to accomplish the works of God? Jesus answered them, “The work of God is that you believe in him whom he has sent … I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry, and he who believes in me will never thirst. But, as I told you, you have seen me, and you do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me; For I came down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of him that sent me. Now the will of him that sent me is that I will not lose any of those he has given me, but that I will raise them up at the last day. The will of my Father is that whoever sees the Son and believes in him has eternal life; And I will raise him up on the last day “(John 6: 28-40).
He said, “I’m the door. If anyone enters through me, he will be saved … “John 10: 9.
His apostles taught, “There is no salvation in any other; For there is no other name under heaven given among men, by which we were to be saved. “Acts 4:12.
Jesus was very clear when he said, “Therefore I have told you that you will die in your sins; Because if you do not believe what I am, you will die in your sins. “John 8:24.
Even before Jesus entered this world, the purpose of his mission was clear, for God said to Joseph, “… you shall give him the name of Jesus; He will save his people from their sins. “Matthew 1:21. The name Jesus (in Greek) is the equivalent of Joshua (in Hebrew) which means Saviour.
These promises are wonderful. They show that faith in Jesus is essential to be saved because outside of him there is no salvation. No one has ever claimed to be as great and as authoritative as Jesus. The promise of the Word of God is: “But to those who have received Him, to those who believe in His name, He has given the power to become children of God.” John 1:12
Yes, God is the Saviour! What then shall we say about Jesus?
What these passages from the Bible tell us is that Jesus has the attributes of God. He is truly man, but also truly God He has a complete human nature, yet before ever coming into the world He have a complete Divine nature. He is truly God and Man. Yet there are not three Gods. There is one God, yet the Father is God, the Son is God and the Holy Spirit is God. That is the teaching of the prophets before the Messiah came. They promised that the Messiah would be a child born in Bethlehem, but that He had existed from all eternity. The alternatives are clear. We have to say that Jesus was either a madman, a bad man or God and man. To say He was a good man is something he simply doesn’t leave as an option.