Defending the Divinity of Jesus


#1

My friend is reading a book written by a Jewish person that is arguing that Jesus never thought or stated that he was God. I gave the following versus as proof otherwise: John 8:58, John 8:24, John 8:28, John 10:24-30 and John 12:44-45.

My friend says “so what Jesus never said he was the Messiah explicitly.” They say the “I AM” in those versus can be replaced with “God Is” and that Jesus may have meant that “God Is” instead of meaning that he was the same God of Abraham and Moses.

Anyway, I need some more versus FROM A DIFFERENT GOSPEL that illustrate Jesus saying he is God. (Not others saying that Jesus is God).

Any advice at how to approach this? P.S Just telling this person to trust the teaching authority of the church isn’t going to work :slight_smile:


#2

[quote=Ora Et Labora]My friend is reading a book written by a Jewish person that is arguing that Jesus never thought or stated that he was God. I gave the following versus as proof otherwise: John 8:58, John 8:24, John 8:28, John 10:24-30 and John 12:44-45.

My friend says “so what Jesus never said he was the Messiah explicitly.” They say the “I AM” in those versus can be replaced with “God Is” and that Jesus may have meant that “God Is” instead of meaning that he was the same God of Abraham and Moses.

Anyway, I need some more versus FROM A DIFFERENT GOSPEL that illustrate Jesus saying he is God. (Not others saying that Jesus is God).

Any advice at how to approach this? P.S Just telling this person to trust the teaching authority of the church isn’t going to work :slight_smile:
[/quote]

I don’t understand what you mean by saying you need something from a differetn Gospel. What does that mean?

How about John 1:1-14 especially the connection of John 1:1 to John 1:14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. *And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. *


#3

ORA

*My friend says “so what Jesus never said he was the Messiah explicitly.” *
When Jesus in the temple reads the prophecy from Isaiah regarding the Messiah, and says “This day the prophecy is fulfilled in your presence,” I think you have a great case that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah.

Can’t remember the passage … possibly Luke?


#4

tkdnick:
Sorry I wasn’t clear. A different gospel means not just the Gospel of John but Matt, Luke, and Mark. He is saying that the Gospel of John is just one writer’s way of phrasing things.

John 1:1-14 won’t work for him because it’s not Jesus declairing it himself; it is someone else saying that Jesus is the Word.

Thanks for you help. God Bless.


#5

I was going to connect, Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15, 19 with John 10:15, 26-27 (and John 21: 14-19, I suppose), where we can inductively see the parallels of God leading his sheep, Jesus leading his sheep (and then intrusting his sheep to Peter). But, drats, what’s this guy’s problem with John?

Gilbert:
Luke 4:16-21:

16 7 He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom 8 into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read 17 and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 9 because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” 20 Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 21 He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” 10


#6

What about Matthew 16:13-17?

13 8 When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi 9 he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, 10 others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 11 Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood 12 has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father.

First of all, is “who do you say that I AM” a veiled reference to his divine name?Second of all, he says, you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and Jesus says, in effect, yeah, you’re right, and God revealed it to you.


#7

[quote=RobNY]I was going to connect, Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15, 19 with John 10:15, 26-27 (and John 21: 14-19, I suppose), where we can inductively see the parallels of God leading his sheep, Jesus leading his sheep (and then intrusting his sheep to Peter). But, drats, what’s this guy’s problem with John?

Gilbert:
Luke 4:16-21:
[/quote]

He doesn’t have a problem with John per se, just that I was only quoting from one of the gospels. He wanted me to use more than one source.


#8

[quote=RobNY]What about Matthew 16:13-17?
First of all, is “who do you say that I AM” a veiled reference to his divine name?Second of all, he says, you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God, and Jesus says, in effect, yeah, you’re right, and God revealed it to you.
[/quote]

Excellent. This is exactly what I’m looking for - thanks! Any more verses?


#9

Ok, use these:

Mk.14:61-62 paraphrased–Are you the Christ? Yup.

Mk.6:49-50 Para–They saw him walking on the sea. He said, “take hear. It is I”–Greek–Ego Eimi–literally, I AM.

Mk. 13:6 para–Many shall come in my name, saying “I am He”–Greek literally, I AM.

Those may provide a few tidbits, especially if he says something like,“Mark is the earliest and least developed Gospel,” or ,“John represents a much later, higher developed Christology far removed from the Historical Jesus (which isn’t true)”–but just in case.


#10

Thank you everyone!


#11

[quote=Ora Et Labora]My friend is reading a book written by a Jewish person that is arguing that Jesus never thought or stated that he was God. I gave the following versus as proof otherwise: John 8:58, John 8:24, John 8:28, John 10:24-30 and John 12:44-45.

My friend says “so what Jesus never said he was the Messiah explicitly.” They say the “I AM” in those versus can be replaced with “God Is” and that Jesus may have meant that “God Is” instead of meaning that he was the same God of Abraham and Moses.

Anyway, I need some more versus FROM A DIFFERENT GOSPEL that illustrate Jesus saying he is God. (Not others saying that Jesus is God).

Any advice at how to approach this? P.S Just telling this person to trust the teaching authority of the church isn’t going to work :slight_smile:
[/quote]

[And Jesus said to the man] “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him (Luke 8:39).

"But Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes, and said, “He has uttered blasphemy”…"Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you? (Matthew 26:63-68; it is very important to compare this with Mark 14:61-63 where Jesus clearly answers “I am” when questioned by the high priest if He’s the Christ and Son of God).

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty…“Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades”…“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” [the Lord Jesus] (Revelation 1:8, 17-18; 22:13)

Jesus also testified that He is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5) and will judge the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).

Lastly, Christ told His Apostles that all that the prophets had spoken of the Son of man (the messiah) would have fulfillment in Him (Luke 18:31).


#12

[quote=Ora Et Labora]My friend is reading a book written by a Jewish person that is arguing that Jesus never thought or stated that he was God. I gave the following versus as proof otherwise: John 8:58, John 8:24, John 8:28, John 10:24-30 and John 12:44-45.
[/quote]

I know that you have mentioned this passage from John 10, but I thought that it might be useful to look closely at it:Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. 26 But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.
Here, Jesus claims qualities exclusive to God: the miracles bear witness not of God, but of Jesus; Jesus, not God, gives eternal life; no one can take the sheep from him, which is a claim to omnipotence; Jesus hand is equated with the Father’s hand; Jesus is equated with the Father.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?”
33 The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
The Jews regarded this as a claim to divinity. Can we reasonably claim to understand the implications of what he said better than those of his own culture did?
34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods”’? 35 If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), 36 do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” 39 Therefore they sought again to seize Him, but He escaped out of their hand.Although this may initially look as though Jesus is talking his way down from blasphemy, he then makes another equation between himself and God, saying that he is to God as God is to him: they are utterly the same.

However, I think that there is another crucial point: the disciples. They claimed that Jesus was God, and were persecuted for it, both by the Romans, who ruled most of the known world, and by the Jews, their own people. In so doing, they exiled themselves from their home culture. If they were all power-mad liars, they were all stupid, because they promoted a teaching which denied power to its leaders. If they were all insane, it was a delusion which showed incredible consistency both over time and between the delusionals, even when they were separated. This is noteworthy because inconsistency is the basic identifying characteristic of a delusion.


#13

Mystophilus, to strengthen your argument even further:

Ezekiel 34: 11-12, 15, 19:

11 For thus saith the Lord God: Behold I myself will seek my sheep, and will visit them. 12 As the shepherd visiteth his hock in the day when he shall be in the midst of his sheep that were scattered, so will I visit my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

15 I will feed my sheep: and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God.

19 And my sheep were fed with that which you had trodden with your feet: and they drank what your feet had troubled.

We see God and His sheep in the Old Testament. Jesus adopts God’s way of speaking about “His sheep.” And anyway, compare Ezekiel 34 to John 10:15

15 As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father: and I lay down my life for my sheep.

In any case, the nail is also the authority Jesus commands. If they aren’t truly His sheep, how could he command Peter to “feed my sheep.” (John 21:14-19).

That didn’t come out too elegant, but perhaps next time you have to present this general idea you can find an elegant way to add it on, if it is relevant.* :p*


#14

[quote=RobNY][font=Verdana]That didn’t come out too elegant, but perhaps next time you have to present this general idea you can find an elegant way to add it on, if it is relevant.* :p*
[/quote]

I think that, next time, I might just leave it in your capable hands.


#15

I sent the following to my catholic-but-searching friend last night. He and I both play trumpet, and we have our share of band rivalries (particularly with the clarinets).

Matthew 9:1-8: The Healing of a Paralytic (cf Mark 2:1-12) usccb.org/nab/bible/matthew/matthew9.htm

Here, Jesus is accused of blasphemy. Why? Because he forgives the paralytic. Now, there are two kinds of forgiveness. If you declare that clarinets are better, we will put you on trial as a heretic. But if you recant and apologize, we will forgive you and welcome you back into the trumpet section. We have the authority to forgive you because you have offended us. Jesus, on the other hand, has never met this paralytic before. And yet, the first thing he does is forgive him. He acts as if he is personally offended. This would be like if someone came up to me in the hallway, someone I didn’t know, and asked me to untie a knot, because my knot-untying reputation had (in the analogy) preceded me, and before untying the knot I said “I forgive you.” For what? This person has not offended me in any way. I do knot know this person. (apologies; I love puns) I may be annoyed at their asking for help, but not to the point where I would put an analogy in their mouth and forgive them. This is Jesus’s case. He acts offended and forgives someone he does not know. Only God can do that, because only God is offended by every sin. That is why they accuse Jesus of blasphemy.

Jesus does not recant. He asks what is easier to say: “I forgive you” or “walk.” It is easier to order the man to walk, because there is no anti-blasphemy pressure in that. But if he forgives him, and then tells him to walk, and he does walk, the miracle lends a little credibility to Jesus’s authority to forgive sins (and thus, his divinity).


#16

Ask you friend why the early martyrs didn’t recant their reports instead of dying.


#17

[quote=cardenio]Jesus does not recant. He asks what is easier to say: “I forgive you” or “walk.” It is easier to order the man to walk, because there is no anti-blasphemy pressure in that. But if he forgives him, and then tells him to walk, and he does walk, the miracle lends a little credibility to Jesus’s authority to forgive sins (and thus, his divinity).
[/quote]

I liked the analogy, but I would have to demur slightly from the reading of that passage, regarding which instruction is easier.

Jesus asks which is easier: to tell the paralysed man that his sins are forgiven or to tell the man to get up and walk. This is a trick question. The mere action of speaking the words is not the point: each sentence is as easy as the other is to pronounce. The difficulty lies in the speech act: in speaking it and making it happen. Thus, Jesus is asking the teachers of the law whether it is easier to make the man holy by speaking, or to make the man whole by speaking. Each action is as difficult as the other is to perform: both are humanly impossible.

By asking the teachers of the law which is easier, he forces them to acknowledge that no mere mortal could do either, and that, therefore, they are not dealing with a mere mortal. He forces them to the realisation that it is not blasphemy because it is the work of God in both cases, demonstrating it in the ease with which he makes the man whole. Therefore, I would suggest that it lends more than a little credibility, and effectively places Jesus outside of the human hierarchy within which they operate. He cannot be measured by their (mortal) standards.

Sorry, but I felt that it ought to be said.


#18

[quote=Mystophilus]I think that, next time, I might just leave it in your capable hands.
[/quote]

Thank you for the compliment, but I think you’d do quite well with it. You seem to have a knack for presenting things well, even when I don’t agree with you. In any case, it seems as if my mind was shutting down while I was posting that. I’m cringing at my wording. :stuck_out_tongue:

Your interpretation of Matt 9, by the way, quite elegant. Exactly why I think you should do it. I like your style of explanation. Perhaps that’s from clear thinking translated into clear writing (and that’s not easy to do).


#19

Jesus does things only God can do. For example, he forgives sins. He bestows the Holy Spirit upon his followers.

For one the clearest demonstrations that Jesus equated himself with God, see John 20:24-29.

– Mark L. Chance.


#20

[quote=Mystophilus]Sorry, but I felt that it ought to be said.
[/quote]

Don’t apologize. C. S. Lewis made his liar/lunatic/Lord argument in Mere Christianity, and I listened to an Al Kresta tape that expanded on it beautifully, then I stole that example, morphed it into a trumpet-oriented example, and you’re just one more person to build on it. That’s the beauty of Catholicism - 2000 years of people building on each other’s ideas. We don’t have to know everything.


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