Summary: Is Jesus Divine?
Jesus, Divine Son of God. November 18, 19, & 22, 2007
Video clips – Bono & others
Jesus was all the things we said; He was a teacher, rabbi, guru, revolutionary, friend, healer, messiah…
Was he the God-man: was he the divine Son of God?
The most pressing question on the problem of faith is whether a man as a civilized being can believe in the divinity of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, for therein rests the whole of our faith. --Fyodor Dostoevski
From the earliest days, the Christians thought so.
Church historian Jaroslav Pelkan has pointed out that the oldest Christian sermon, the oldest account of a Christian Martyr, the oldest pagan report of the church, and the oldest liturgical prayer all refer to Jesus as Lord and God. Pelikan said, “Clearly, it was the message of what the church believed and taught that ‘God’ was an appropriate name for Jesus Christ.”
All through the letters written to the church, Jesus is described as divine. Here are some important samplings:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a human being,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
The thing that amazes me about this is that all the writers of the New Testament are Jewish – most of them were very religious Jews. At least once a day they would repeat the Shema found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength.
It was a powerful statement against the polytheists that surrounded them – God is one! It was a Subversive statement against the polytheists who held power over them and their land – God is one!
You might ask, how these devout Jews could believe that the One God could have a son or how He could come and dwell among us as a man? But they did.
Paul, likely the most devout Jew, takes the Shema and includes Jesus!
1 Corinthians 8:6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.
How could these monotheists include Jesus in the most powerful statements of their One God?
It is not surprising that people who have an understanding of God as the “Prime Mover” – the one who wound the clock, or hit the cue ball in the mechanistic view of the universe that we looked at two weeks ago - would have a problem with the idea of God becoming human. Their god is very distant, he/she/it is the creator, but stays outside of his creation – to intervene would be against his character and like cheating. But this is not the God of the Bible, nor is it the God that Jesus and his contemporaries believed in. God in the Bible is not distant, but very present with his people He is the one who walked in the Garden in the cool of the evening with Adam and Eve, he his the one who came to visit Abraham as three travelers, he is the one who stood in the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego