This week Pastor Miles continued a series called "Who Is Jesus Really?" In a video that introduced the message, people were asked what they think of Jesus. The answers ranged from "my Savior" to "a prophet" to "not God." If we asked people in our own lives, we would get quite a range of answers, too.
Jesus answered the question of who He was in many different ways, including by His actions. Just as most human fathers make their place in a family evident through their actions, Jesus makes His identity as God evident through His actions. Jesus was not just a prophet, a teacher, or a moral leader. He is God, and He made it clear just about every time He said or did something.
It is important to understand what "God" means to understand who Jesus is. God is the independent creator and preserver of all life and the only object of our worship. He is self-existent. He deserves our complete worship, and we should never worship anything else-not ourselves, not an image of God, not another person. So, Jesus is the self-existent, independent creator and preserver of all life and the only object of our worship.
Pastor Miles pointed out seven ways that Jesus claims His own deity again and again in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Jesus claimed His own deity by exercising supernatural power through miracles.
Jesus overcomes the laws of nature many times throughout the gospels. He casts out demons, calms the sea, and heals disease. John 5 tells of an invalid lying beside a pool in Jerusalem who had been in his condition for thirty-eight years. When the waters of the pool were stirred, the first person to enter the pool was healed.
John 5:6-7 states, When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" "Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
Keeping this story in mind, ask yourself two questions. First, would you want to be healed if you were sick for thirty-eight years? This is probably an easy "yes." Second, would you say yes right away if Jesus asked to heal you of a condition, spiritual or physical?
It may seem like your answer is "yes," but Jesus does ask us that question every day, and often we have a long list of excuses of why it is impossible, just like the man by the water. The man equated wellness with being first in the pool, but Jesus had a different plan. John 5:8-9 states, Then Jesus said to him, "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk." At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
When Jesus offers healing, don't ask how. Just answer yes.
Jesus claimed His own deity by claiming authority over law.
When the Jews saw the healed man carrying his mat, they were upset, because carrying a mat was considered work. It was illegal to do work on the Sabbath. When they discovered that Jesus was the one who told the man to pick up his mat, they found Jesus to question Him.
John 5:16-17 states, So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
Jesus tells them that He works because His Father works on the Sabbath. God, the creator and preserver of all things, does not stop working on the Sabbath. He stopped creating, but He didn't stop preserving life. Through His answer to the Jews, Jesus claims to be the Son of God and Lord of the Sabbath. This is one of many places in the gospels that Jesus shows that He is above the Law.
Matthew 5:43-44 states, You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Jesus doesn't cancel the law, but He takes it to another level. His Word is the ultimate authority.
Jesus claimed His own deity by exercising spiritual authority only assigned to God.
After Jesus heals the man by the pool of his physical condition, He addresses the man's spiritual condition. John 5:14 states, Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."
Jesus also exercises spiritual authority in Mark, when He heals a paralytic and tells him his sins are forgiven. The Jews associated sin with sickness, so Jesus was showing that He had authority over both. It was considered blasphemy to claim to do what only God can do, so the religious leaders became angry when Jesus said this.
Jesus answers them by saying, in Mark 2:10, But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins..., directly claiming His own deity.
Jesus claimed His own deity by giving Himself titles that made Him equal to God.
In John 5:17 (above), Jesus calls God His Father. In John 10:30, Jesus says, I and the Father are one. He refers to God as His Father 172 times in the Bible. Throughout the gospels, He refers to Himself as Son of Man, Son of God, the Lord, Christ, Holy One, and Mighty One.
He tells the Jews, who knew the Old Testament very well, that He is the One Abram was waiting for. He spoke in their code, and they reacted. They wanted to kill Him because if what He was saying was not true, He was committing blasphemy. Their strong reaction shows us today that He knew exactly what He was doing-He was claiming equality with God.
Jesus claimed His own deity by claiming to have authority over things in heaven.
John 5:21-22 states, For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son...
The Jews knew that only God can give and take life and judge. Jesus speaks these words to show that God, His Father, has given Him the power to give life and to judge.
Matthew 28:18 states, Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me." There is nothing that Jesus does not control. He is God.
Jesus claimed His own deity by accepting worship which was only assigned to God.
In all the times Jesus was worshipped in the gospels, He never rejected it. When He healed a woman with a bleeding problem, she worshipped Him. He was worshipped by crowds a week before his crucifixion. The disciples worshipped Him when after His resurrection.
John 5:23 states, That all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.
Nobody else in the Bible ever accepted worship-not even the angels-because God alone deserves our worship and honor. Jesus accepts worship and honor to show that He is God.
Jesus claimed His own deity by making after life promises that only God can keep.
John 5:24 states, I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.
Jesus made promises He would fulfill after His death. He promises eternal life for those who believe. He tells the disciples that He will return three days after His death and that He will send the Holy Spirit after He ascends into Heaven. Then He says He will come back again.
Matthew 24:30-31 states, At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
Pastor Miles challenged every person at the Rock to read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John over the next month, looking for every place that Jesus claims His own deity. There is a chart on the website to help you organize what you find. There are 89 chapters, so if you read three a day, you will finish in one month. Don't ask how, just say yes!