In our last two posts we spoke about Jesus Christ as the second Person in the Godhead, and we briefly explored His two natures as God and man. But the whole notion of God condescending to be a man is a little bit of a stretch for many in the world—a real sticking point for some. It is the reason why there are so many, even some who call themselves Christians, who will recognize Him only as a good man. Yet, it is a critical, uncompromisable issue of faith for Christianity and a matter of salvation—
“And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (1 John 5:11, 12)
So, in brief, what evidence is there that Jesus really was God in the flesh?
We’ll start with the prophetic witness as evidence to His deity. One that Jesus Himself cited is Psalm 110:1-4: “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’” After which Jesus asked this penetrating question, “If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” (Matthew 22:45). The obvious answer is, He is divine. Isaiah 9:6, likewise, asserts that the Messiah would be divine: Isaiah 9:6 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” And Jeremiah 23:6 tell us, “In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness.’” The prophecies of the Old Testament—which “cannot be broken” (John 10:35)—tell us that Jesus, the Messiah, was indeed the Son of God, divine, and part of the eternal Godhead.
Another of the evidences showing Jesus to truly be God in the flesh are His miracles. While it is true that the miracles were wonderful acts of divine compassion, their main importance were as proofs that His claim of Godhood was neither foolish nor blasphemous. And there were many, many miracles—witnessed by hundreds and even by thousands at a time. Once, when given the opportunity to heal a paralyzed man, He deliberately began by telling the paralyzed man that his sins were forgiven. When Jesus’ critics heard this, they accused Him of blasphemy; because only God can forgive sins. But Jesus wisely and revealingly responded,
“‘Which is easier, to say, “Your sins have been forgiven you,” or to say, “Get up and walk”? But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,’–He said to the paralytic—’I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.’ Immediately he got up before them, and picked up what he had been lying on, and went home glorifying God. They were all struck with astonishment and began glorifying God; and they were filled with fear, saying, ‘We have seen remarkable things today.’” (Luke 5:23-26)
Jesus’ claim to be God in the flesh may have been “unbelievable”, but He proved its truth by performing this and many undeniable miracles.
Yet another evidence is His baptism—or rather the Father’s own audible witness from Heaven of Jesus’ identity as He was baptized by John. John himself recognized Jesus’ superiority and probably His divinity before the baptism: (Matthew 3:14) “But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’” But it is after the baptism, as Jesus came up from the water, that the Father in Heaven made Jesus’ divinity an ironclad conclusion,
“After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17)
Of course, not everyone heard this testimony from the Father, so it could be said that the Father gave us one final testimony for all to “hear”, Jesus’ resurrection: (Romans 1:4) “[Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.” There have been a handful of people who’ve been raised from the dead, but Jesus’ resurrection was different—others died again, Jesus is the firstborn of the ultimate resurrection, in which death will never visit again.
So what? Well, while it is true that “Jesus is Lord (King)”, it is because “Jesus is LORD (YHWH God)”. So, if it is true that as King we must give Jesus due honor, it is especially true and even more important that we know that we cannot afford to be selective about our obedience, careless about our loyalty, or casual about our appraisal and worship of Him. Because He is God.