Is Jesus God? From The Pulpit: How Can Jesus be God?
Since becoming a preacher in 2012, I have often been asked this very question – is Jesus God? Often followed by, How is it possible that Jesus can be God? In today’s ‘From the Pulpit’ blog, we’re going to take a look at this topic and get our answer. Certainly pull out your bible so that you can study along with this post, and also for spiritual confirmation as well. When we open the Bible and read (Genesis 1:1) the very first verse, we read is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We instantly think of ‘God’, grammatically, …
Since becoming a preacher in 2012, I have often been asked this very question – is Jesus God? Often followed by, How is it possible that Jesus can be God? In today’s ‘From the Pulpit’ blog, we’re going to take a look at this topic and get our answer. Certainly pull out your bible so that you can study along with this post, and also for spiritual confirmation as well.
When we open the Bible and read (Genesis 1:1) the very first verse, we read is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We instantly think of ‘God’, grammatically, as a singular proper noun; meaning this is talking about one person. This actually makes a lot of sense, grammatically, because when we say a person’s name (for example, Robert) we are typically referring to only one individual. However, by the time we get to Genesis 1:26, we see God say, “let Us make man.” Suddenly, a few questions may come to mind – who is, Us? Who is God referring too? Who is helping God?
Who was helping God?
Let’s first notice that the ‘Us’ in that scripture is being used as a singular proper noun. We know that a proper noun is a person, place, or thing, right? Generally, when we use the word, ‘us’, we’re referring to a group of people, the plural, which also include ourselves. So, is God referring to a group of people, other gods maybe, which also includes Himself? That must not be the case, if we’re looking and thinking about this grammatically. So, we’re still left wondering, who is God talking too? Is there someone helping God think? Why does God say, “Let Us”. Our idea, man’s thoughts about God, is that the one true Creator of all things should not need any help doing anything.
Yet, it is obvious that God is certainly talking to somebody – we need answers! We don’t truly get a real answer until we turn to the gospel according to John. John was the disciple who Jesus loved (John 21:24). John followed Jesus very closely and shared with us, his readers, what Jesus had taught and shared with he and the other disciples. The beauty about John’s gospel is that John focused on the deity of Jesus. John says (John 1:1), “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
This becomes a very interesting detail because we’re now introduced to something that was with God in the beginning. You will recall that the beginning, according to the bible, begins with God creating the heaven and the earth. So, this ‘Word’ was with God in the beginning during the creation. Let’s also make note that ‘Word’ is also a proper noun which means that ‘Word’ must also be a person, place, or thing. To better understand the ‘Word’ we must look at a very important key to this scripture – it says, the “Word was God”. From that, we should understand that the ‘Word’ was with God, was God, and therefore ‘Word’ must certainly be a person.
With this new insight, we can hopefully look back at Genesis with a better understanding. We now know who was there with God – the Word. God, being the Word, was essentially talking to Himself! What? Do you not think it possible that God was talking to Himself? Don’t you often talk within yourself when you are about to do something? I certainly do. When I am preparing a sermon, I often think to myself, what am I going to say? My brother, who is a fantastic artist/illustrator, often talks within himself as he plans out an art piece. God was creating the greatest masterpiece of all and was talking to Himself during the process!
The Word made flesh
We may know that God was talking within Himself, in the beginning, but we still do not have an answer as to how Jesus could possibly be God. Personally, I feel it important that we must understand that part about God in the beginning. John introduces the Holy Trinity, by introducing us to the only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). The Holy Trinity including God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Holy Ghost). We must understand that God has always been that way (3 persons in 1) since the beginning. I don’t want you to think that John was creating a new God in His book; though John does give us better detail about God.
John says (John 1:14), “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us”. It’s going to sound like I am repeating myself, but this must be something we understand – God is the Word. The Word was made flesh, meaning that the Lord was made flesh – born into this world, a man! John says that the Word, God in the flesh, lived among the people – the children of Israel.
To me, this is one of the most significant verses in all of the Bible. The reason I say this is because the foundation of Christianity stands on the fact that God was made flesh and lived in this world. From this point, it is a matter of acceptance or rejection. You either accept this gospel or you reject this gospel. Personally, I have chosen to believe in the gospel of Christ. I have met many people that have accepted that God was made flesh and lived in this world. At the same time, I have met many people that cannot accept that God was made flesh and lived in this world.
For me, it’s actually kind of hard not to understand this, solely because I have believed in the gospel so long. I am always amazed and fascinated by what we, human beings, can choose to accept and reject. The Lord gave us a free will choose and does not force us to believe if we don’t want to believe. I believe Jesus, the Messiah in Hebrew, Christos or Christ in Greek, is the biggest hurdle for people (or the nonbeliever) to jump over. Most Jews do not believe the Messiah has yet arrived to this world, they’re still waiting for the Messiah to come. There are many others who call themselves atheist, but in actuality they are theist – they believe in their own idea of God. You can choose to believe in whatever you want, but I choose to believe in Christ’s teachings.
In Christianity, we place our faith in the gospel of God – the teaching of Jesus Christ that originally came from a select few of Jews (like the Apostle Paul) that chose to believe in Jesus. Jesus said, He and the Father (God, the Father) is one – John 10:30. This was Jesus proclaiming His deity as God. Is Jesus God? Jesus’ answer to that question is a resounding yes. Again, you may ask, how is this possible?
Let’s take a look at the birth of Jesus
When we take a look back at the birth of Jesus, we can see how God entered into this world through the flesh – the womb of Mary. In the gospel of Luke (Luke 1:35), we read, “the Holy Ghost (Spirit) shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you.” The ‘you’ that is in reference in this scripture is Mary, the mother of Jesus. Gabriel, the “messenger angel” of God was delivering this message directly to Mary. Jesus was not born of a conception between a man and woman, but through the Lord overshadowing Mary. Overshadow: to tower above, to be overtaken.
This, the birth of Jesus Christ, is also another thing I am often asked about around Christmas time – for some it can be very confusing. The way I try to teach Jesus’ birth is through this verse – Luke 1:35. Mary, I believe, was filled or overcome by the Holy Spirit (a part of God); she carried the child and the child (part of God) was born into the world – God became flesh. The child was name Jesus (Yeshua).
I am often asked, how is that possible? I don’t usually like answering questions with a question, but my follow up is typically – how would that be impossible to God? God is all powerful. God knows all. God is everywhere. How would God not be capable of placing Himself in the womb of a woman and be born into this world? God can do all things but lie, sin, and fail. It is up to us to accept or reject this gospel though God tells us that if we reject the Son we reject Him – because we’re not accepting God wholly. We cannot reject part of God (the Son) and say that we believe in God wholly.
Other questions I’m often asked about Jesus and God
I am also often asked, “if Jesus is God, why does He pray to God?” It’s a question I often get asked by someone trying to prove their point that Jesus is not God. This question could certainly be its very own ‘From the Pulpit’ blog post which I definitely may do one day but let us briefly touch on it as I close out this blog. We must remember this about Jesus – Jesus, through His life, was an example and taught us how we should live. Jesus was both man and God, consider that He was born of a woman but was also a piece of God.
Human nature is to pray. Mankind has been praying to something, whether it be God or idols, essentially since the beginning of time. Jesus, when He prayed, was praying as the begotten Son of the Father – this gets into the Trinity (a future ‘From the Pulpit’ blog). I also believe that Jesus was teaching those that would follow in His way by example. Jesus said (Matthew 6:6), “pray to your Father who is in the secret place.” Notice, Jesus does not say to pray to anybody or anything else – pray to the Father. It would make a great deal of sense that Jesus would teach man how to pray – we have several examples of proper prayer through Jesus Christ throughout the gospels. I am thankful that Jesus showed us how to pray!
I want to make a separate blog to go into greater depth about the Holy Trinity. Jesus, is God the Son, and we have seen that the Son (also the Word) was with God in the beginning and was/is God. Again, God has always been 3 persons in 1. You’re certainly going to come across people that cannot accept this, and do not believe this. However, Jesus being God, in the flesh, is sound doctrine. To argue against that, once you have gained understanding, is to argue against the God’s gospel.
If you want me to answer your question, in a From the Pulpit blog, be sure to email me and in the subject put ‘From the Pulpit Question’.