Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Blog # 107 Jesus is God!
Blog # 107 Jesus is God In blog # 106 I made reference to two fundmental insights or convictions that are necessary in order to understand and live the message of salvation Jesus revealed. The first of these was the identity of a single Creator of all that exists; there is but ONE GOD. Blog #106 was a brief consideration of that conviction. Blog # 107 will be a brief consideration of the second conviction : JESUS IS GOD. There is a danger in being so familiar with these statements from the time perhaps when we were mere children that we begin to take them for granted and consequently lose or never discover their full purpose and power as an adult living today in the midst and under the influence of much ignorance, denial, and sometimes open opposition to the message of Jesus. If it ever were necessary to be aware of and to harvest the fruit of possessing these two faith convictions it is today. In this blog I intend to review some Biblical references that clarify and confirm my own personal conviction as to the divinity of Jesus. Gathering them together here identifies them as a gift from God that has application and power in several aspects of our desire and quest for Christian holiness. First of all the Bible presents Jesus as an attractive human being, kind to the poor and those who live on the margins, compassionate and sympathetic to widows, the blind and the deaf, lepers and others who would have found it difficult to find such a response from people living around them at the historical moment Jesus came walking through their neighborhoods. Jesus touched them, spoke to them, and gave them His generous sincere attention and caring love,characteristics we and the people He helped would hope to find in the God to whom they prayed.( Mark 40: 40,41; 1: 21,22,30). Other people among the crowds Jesus encountered in the short years of His ministry on earth were also drawn to Him but rejected Him and His message because neither He nor it fit into the image of God they had come up with as a god with political human designs to conquer their enemies with violence and reinforce their personal power and authority over the people in the name of that god. In the light of our faith conviction that there is but ONE GOD, there is no room for competition to God. Any claim on behalf of a second God is a false claim and anyone making such a claim is guilty of the sin of blasphemy. In accusing Jesus of such a sin His opponents actualy bear witness for us of His claim to be God! The Pharisees were correct and understood well the claim Jesus made to be divine. Rather than apologise for it Jesus defended His claim again and again. For Jesus to call upon His actions and words as proof of His divinity would indeed have been blasphemy IF IT WERE NOT TRUE! (Jn 9: 1 - 3.) At the time Jesus lived on earth all the way up to the present it would be a truism to say only God has the authority to forgive sins. A sin is by definition an offense against God and only God has the authority to forgive that offense. In the various instances in which Jesus granted forgiveness of sin He was clearly claiming a divine identity for Himself. His acts of forgiveness were not given in the Scriptures after prayer or in response to prayer on His part but as coming directly from Himself by the power of His own will.(Jn 9: 3; Mat 9: 2,3,6; Mark 2:5; Luke5:20;7:48.) In addition to His miracles healing individual illnesses Jesus showed His divine identity through His power over nature itself by calming a storm (Mark 6:49; Mat 14: 25), raising the dead (Luke 7:14), multiplying a few loaves of bread to feed a huge crowd (Jn 6: 9 - 13), and walking on water ( Mark 6: 48; Mat 14: 25). Giving special force to Jesus' claim to divinity was the fact He performed several of His supernatural miracles of healing on the Sabbath. On one ocasion Jesus and His disciples were walking by a field of grain and were picking and eating some of the grains ripe for havest. This in itself was not considered an act of theft and was permisable in current Jewish law. It was unlawful and a sin if it were done on a Sabbath. Jesus justified it not by denying the force of the law but claiming for Himself the divine unique authority of God, identifying Himself as "Lord, even of the Sabbath"! If this were not true in His mind Jesus could not have come closer to the sin of blasphemy. However, as it was, it was clear that He was claiming for Himself divinity. (Mark 2: 23 - 28.) On another significant occasion Jesus referred to Araham as havng a relationship with Him. The Pharisees objected because Jesus was not yet fifty years old and his statment could not therefore be true. Jesus' reply to their objection was: Before Abraham came to be, I AM , harking back to the identity Yahweh gave for Himself when Abraham sought a name for Yahweh that he could give to Pharaoh. (Exodus 3: 14; Jn 8: 58.) Blog # 108 will consider some practical applications of the two basic convictions considered in Blogs # 106 and 107.