Summary: Is Jesus really the Son of God?
Any day now Prime Minister Martin will be calling an election. As soon as that happens we will be bombarded with campaign messages from each party wanting to control the government. The thing about campaign speeches is that it’s often hard to pin down the candidates on what exactly it is they stand for. They often speak in generalities regarding taxes, health care, and other issues hoping to appeal to as many voters as possible. That’s frustrating for those of us who are trying to figure out who the best candidates are for office.
Two thousand years ago the enemies of Jesus accused him of not speaking very clearly. One day they surrounded Jesus in the temple and demanded, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly” (John 10:24b). People today still debate whether or not Jesus claimed to be God. The thing is Jesus’ testimony about himself is clear. He openly claimed to be God on many occasions. Therefore we should not be debating whether or not Jesus claimed to be God, instead we should figure out whether or not his claims are true. Is Jesus the God-man or was he just another madman? If Jesus was just another madman then we can ignore him. If, on the other hand, he is the God-man, then we’d better pay attention to what he has to say for our attitude towards Jesus will determine where we spend eternity.
If I showed up this morning claiming to be God, you would want some proof wouldn’t you? You would want me to read your mind, heal your bum knee, or pick up this church building and move it to the other side of town and back without breaking a sweat. It’s only fair then that if we are to believe Jesus’ claim to be God that we have proof of his divinity. Jesus couldn’t agree more and that’s why he said to the Jews who were demanding to know whether or not he was God: “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me” (John 10:25b).
The thing about Jesus’ miracles is that they were not done in secret. They were not acts of power observed only by his disciples. Jesus’ enemies had been in attendance when he performed many of his miracles. They saw him heal a paralytic (Matt. 9), they investigated his healing of a man born blind (John 9), and they would see Jesus raise a dead man (John 11). Jesus even performed miracles for his enemies. Think of how he healed the high priest’s servant’s ear after Peter cut it off in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 18).
Many people today, however, say that the disciples could have made all those stories up about Jesus performing miracles. They could have, but if they did, Jesus’ enemies would have refuted them. Had Jesus not raised Lazarus from the dead as John reports, the Jewish leaders would have been sure to correct such a lie. No, Jesus’ enemies never refuted the fact that he did miracles; they only contested the source of his power. Once after driving out demons, Jesus was accused of being able to do so by the power of the devil (Matt. 12:24). The Jewish historian Josephus (first century A.D.) too reports that Jesus did many miraculous wonders but was considered to be a magician by many of the Jewish leaders.