This article shows how Christ’s indirect claims to his own deity are highly significant, and rather compelling.

Source: Australian Presbyterian, 2014. 2 pages.

Deity Beyond Doubt Jesus' Indirect claims to Deity are just as Compelling

People often marveled at the words of Jesus. On one occasion the Jews said: "How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?" (John 7:15) Even the officers had to report to the chief priests and Pharisees that they could not arrest Him because "No man ever spoke like this man" (John 7:46). At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, the crowds were astonished because He was teaching them as one who had authority and not as their scribes (Matt. 7:28-29). The scribes were quite capable of being dogmatic, but could not speak with the humble authority of Jesus.

The gospels present us with a man, Jesus, who is also Lord. One naturally points in the first place to the more direct claims of Christ. He forgives sinners in the way that God does (Mark 2:1-12; Luke 7:48-50); He promises everlasting life both now and in the life to come (John 5:24-25, 28-29); He will carry out the Last Judgment (Matt. 7:21-23; 25:31-46); and He is worshipped (Matt. 28:9, 17; John 9:38; remember that angels are not to be worshipped, Rev. 22:8-9). The Messiah is both David's Lord and David's Son (Matt. 22:41-46). When Isaiah saw the Lord in the temple (Isa. 6), he actually saw the glory of God in the person of the Son (John 12:39-41). Jesus as the Son of God says that He simply is, not "was", and so eternally existed before Abraham who lived about 2000 B.C. (John 8:58). As the Son of God, Jesus is equal with God (John 5:18); indeed, He is Lord and God (John 20:28) and so is "the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15).

More could be said but it is also worth looking at the more indirect claims to deity which prove to be highly significant. Alexander Maclaren wrote of Jesus:

He declares Himself possessed of virtues which, if a man said he had them, it would be the best proof that he did not possess them, and did not know himself. It is either the most insane arrogance of self-assertion, of it is sober truth.

For example, Jesus declares to all and sundry: "Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28). At the same time He says that He is gentle and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:29). How can someone humbly offer to provide rest for any troubled soul, weighed down by sin? Jesus is not pointing away from Himself to where such rust can be found, but is very self-consciously pointing to Himself. He is claiming that rest for sin-sick souls can only he found in Him.

It is not unknown for people to argue that John 14:28 proves that Christ is not divine. Here Christ tells His disciples:

If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Yet would any preacher announce to his congregation that he was going to explain how God the Father is greater than the preacher? Would not the congregation think that the preacher had lost touch with reality? Is it even conceivable that Isaiah or Jeremiah, who brought God's word to the people, could have solemnly announced that God was greater than they? Would not the ancient Israelites have been bewildered by such a puerile truism?

Yet that is precisely what Jesus announced! He clearly felt the need to point out what in the case of every other human being would have been so obvious as to be unstated. In the incarnation, when the Word became flesh, He became true man and, as such, was subject to the Father. Notwithstanding the reasoned arguments of Millard Erickson and the less adequate claims by Kevin Giles, it does seem that there is a functional inequality in the Godhead even before the incarnation. So, for example, the Father sends the Son to become incarnate (John 3:16). The Son never sends the Father. In essence, Christ and the Father are one (John 10:30) but in function Christ came to do God's will (Heb. 10:7). In this sense, God is the head of Christ (1 Cor. 11:3).

Is it possible that a committee thought all this up and put it all together? Hardly. It was John Henry Newman who, with good reason, pointed out that "Living movements do not come of committees". Unlike the theories of the biblical critics, Jesus' claims bear all the marks of truth about them. In all His claims, be they direct or more indirect, Christ comes to us as perfect God and perfect man in the one Person.

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