Summary: Sixth in a series answering objection to Christianity. This message deals with the claims of Jesus’ deity.
Answering Our Culture
#6 – “Jesus Was Just a Good Teacher – He Did Not Claim to be God.”
September 1, 2002
Note: some of this outline is from Norman Geisler’s book, "Christian Apologetics."
Let me ask you a question:
What do most people who do not follow Jesus say about Him? Generally I hear that He was a good man, a good teacher, or that He was a holy man, possibly the most holy man who ever lived.
Most people are in agreement that Jesus was a good man. They are also in agreement that Jesus had many good things to say, especially in the Golden Rule and the Sermon on the Mount.
But that’s where they stop. They are not willing to declare that Jesus was the divine Son of God, who was the very nature of God who came to earth in the body of a man.
Well, what does the Bible say, and specifically, what did Jesus say about Himself?
Today I want to show you that not only was Jesus a good teacher – in fact, the best teacher ever, because He revealed the Father to us; but that He claimed to be God Himself.
“Imagine if you will that among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. . . Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of god. God, in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips.”
(Christian Theology in Plain Language, p. 99)
Our focus today will be mainly on the claims of Jesus from the Bible. My intention is to show the large amount of evidence about Christ’s claims about Himself, and my hope is that this will give you something to seriously consider in your seeking after God.
I’m going to be reading a ton of Scripture today, and in the outline in the bulletin, you will see page numbers that correspond to the Bibles in the seats here at the church.
If you are listening to this on tape or CD, and don’t own a Bible you can easily read, please contact us here at the church, and we will gladly give you one at no charge.
Let’s move in and take a look at what Jesus claimed for Himself. First,…
I. He Claimed the Name of God.
Contrary to popular belief, Jesus did, indeed, declare Himself to be God, and in a number of places.
We begin by looking at John 8:52-59 (p. 758):
JN 8:52 At this the Jews exclaimed, "Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say that if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. 53 Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?"
54 Jesus replied, "If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. 55 Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and keep his word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad."
57 "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!"
58 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" 59 At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
Allow me to set the context here.
In the Old Testament, specifically in Exodus chapter 3, we find the story of Moses and the burning bush. God, in the bush, was telling Moses to lead the Hebrews out of the slavery of Egypt.
Moses asks God, “Who shall I say is sending me to them?” And God replies by saying that His name is “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.”
In the Hebrew Old Testament, the name “I AM WHO I AM” is abbreviated, by the consonants YHWH, or JHVH.
Because the Jews held the name of God with the highest degree of sacredness, they removed the vowels, no one could utter the name of God.