Lesson Eight • Jesus is God
Dr. Randy T. Johnson & Pastor Keaton Washburn
“You say to-MAY-to, I say to-MAH-to.” The tomato has taken much scrutiny. Not only is there discrepancy on how to pronounce the word, but there is also debate on whether it is a fruit or vegetable.
Tomatoes are the state vegetable of New Jersey, but they are the official state fruit of Ohio. However, Arkansas resolved the issue by having the tomato be both the state vegetable and the state fruit.
You might be asking, “What is the big deal?” In 1887, U.S. tariff laws imposed a duty on vegetables, but not on fruits. The Supreme Court ruled that tomatoes were to be considered vegetables because they were eaten with the meal and not dessert. However, the courts did not reclassify the tomato botanically; it is still a fruit.
- Do you view the tomato as a fruit or vegetable?
Tomatoes are not that big of a deal, but who Jesus is deserves serious consideration. Was He a good man, a crazy man, or God?
- When you picture Jesus in your mind, do you view Him as a man or God?
The Bible is very clear that Jesus was both a man and God. He was fully God and fully man. He was (and is) not “a” God, but God Himself.
Isaiah 7:14 says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” God said that the Messiah would be born even though His mother had never “been with a man.” This miracle would be a clear indicator that His Son had arrived. He even tells us His name. “Immanuel” means “God with us.” When Jesus was born, it meant God was with us because He is God.
- What thoughts come to mind when you think of the name Immanuel (or Emmanuel)?
Chuck Swindoll wrote, “Emmanuel. God with us. He who resided in Heaven, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Spirit, willingly descended into our world. He breathed our air, felt our pain, knew our sorrows, and died for our sins. He didn’t come to frighten us, but to show us the way to warmth and safety.”
- How often do you think about the fact that God is with you if you are a follower of Christ? When is a time that you sensed God was with you?
Isaiah 9:6 adds, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- Who is the “child” this verse is addressing? Does this verse say or imply that the “son” is God?
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Verse 14 completes a thought, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
- Who is the “Word”? What does it say about Him?
Even Jesus’ enemies knew how He viewed Himself. John 5:18 says, “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
- How did Jesus view and speak of Himself?
In John 8:58, Jesus makes a very bold statement, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.’” Abraham was about 2,000 years before Jesus. The claim referred back to Exodus 3:14, “God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’’” God had called Himself “I Am.” When Jesus called Himself “I Am,” He was saying He is God.
- What is stated by the tense (past, present, future, or other) of “I Am”?
C.S. Lewis wrote, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
- Why is it not possible for Jesus to be a great person and to make the claims that he did if they were not true?
In John 10:30-33 Jesus boldly says, “‘I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’”
John 20:28 is short but powerful, “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’”
- What distinction is being made between Lord and God?
- Sidlow Baxter said, “Fundamentally, our Lord’s message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, ‘I am the bread.’ He did not come merely to shed light; He said, ‘I am the light.’ He did not come merely to show the door; He said, ‘I am the door.’ He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, ‘I am the shepherd.’ He did not come merely to point the way; He said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.’”
In Colossians 2:9, Paul described Jesus as being God, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
Paul adds in Philippians 2:5-8, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
- What statements express Jesus’ deity?
Hebrews 1:1–3 also says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
- What statements express Jesus’ deity?
Henry Morris added, “The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the crowning proof of Christianity. If the resurrection did not take place, then Christianity is a false religion. If it did take place, then Christ is God and the Christian faith is absolute truth.”