- Many people believe this is what happened: Jesus was given a “divine promotion” by his later followers. In other words, today Christians have an exalted view of Jesus that he never claimed for himself.
This is kind of summed up in the movie, based on Dan Brown’s book the Davinci Code (DaVinci Code book)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAzZm1fuw0M DaVinci Code attack on Jesus deity
Thomas Jefferson, (Thomas Jefferson) one of our founding Father’s believed this he even created his own Bible where he cut out most of the miracles and kept what he thought was really the truth about this great moralist Jesus
See if Jesus was only a good teacher, or great moralist than what he had to say was good food for thought but not divine mandate, wisdom and purpose so it is all negotiable but if Jesus is God then what He says is truth and needs to be adhered to
But history argues with that theory
- History shows, contrary to that belief, that there was an early devotion to Jesus as the divine Son of God—an explosion that points back to him and his teachings as its source.
All the New Testament books were written between 50 and 100 AD roughly 17 – 67 years after the death of Christ. The council of Nicea was 300 years after the death of Christ and all they did at that council was merely recognize what was already acknowledged by the church.
In fact this is what Paul wrote to us that was already in creed form when he wrote it
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Paul repeated a creed that had been know from Jesus resurrection that Jesus died for our sins (only God can do that) he rose again and he is writing this letter know that there are at least 500 witness that will verify what he is saying.
Every New Testament writer refers to Jesus as the “Christ,” or Messiah (e.g., see Matt. 1:1; Mark 1:1; Luke 9:20; John 4:25-26; Rom. 1:4; Heb. 6:1; James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1; Jude 1:1).
As you probably know, “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name. The word Messiah derives from the Hebrew title meaning “Anointed One”; Christ derives from the Greek translation of that title. The title appears over five hundred times and in all but one book of the New Testament (3 John, the shortest book).
The New Testament writers, in proclaiming that Jesus was the Christ, were saying that he was the preeminent Priest-King whom God had sent to fulfill his promises
The earliest and the latest New Testament authors alike use the most exalted titles for Jesus—ones that clearly indicate in their contexts that Jesus is divine. Both Paul (generally considered the earliest author) and John (usually regarded as the latest) speak of Jesus as:
– the Son of God (Gal. 4:4-6; John 20:30-31)
– the Savior (see Phil. 3:20; John 4:42)
– the Lord (see Rom. 10:9-13; John 9:38), and even
– God (see Rom. 9:5; Titus 2:13; John 1:1; 20:28).
The writings of Luke and Peter also use all these titles for Jesus (see Luke 2:11; 9:20; 10:1-2; 22:70; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 1:1; 3:15; 2 Pet. 1:1, 17; 3:18). All the New Testament authors use the title Lord in ways that, given the context, equate Jesus with deity (see Matt. 7:21-22; Mark 5:19;
- Jesus affirmed this understanding by repeatedly referring to himself as the Son of Man, which was a clear allusion to the divine figure in the Old Testament book of Daniel, chapter 7.
Jesus’ habit in the Gospels of referring to himself as “the Son of Man.” This title occurs eighty-two times in the sayings of Jesus throughout the four Gospels, making it by far the most-often used title for him in the Gospels (even more than “Christ”).
What did Jesus mean by calling himself the Son of Man?
Many modern readers assume that the title simply indicates his humanity. But that’s because they didn’t live in the first century and understand that he was referring to a visionary prophecy in the Old Testament book of Daniel, in which
“I saw someone like the son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient One and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed.
That’s what Jesus thought of himself! This figure in Daniel has sovereign power and is worshiped by “all the peoples, nations and men of every language”—and only God can legitimately be worshiped.
Before His crucifixion, Jesus was on trial before the Jewish council and he referred to this scripture
Mark 14: 61-64
Then the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” 62 Jesus said, “I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”63 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Why do we need other witnesses? 64 You have all heard his blasphemy. What is your verdict?”
The “I Am” claim was bad enough (God’s name Yahweh means I Am) we will talk more about this later. But he referred to himself as the coming Messiah/Priest/King prophesied in Daniel 7
- Jesus taught with authority like no other human, expected loyalty and devotion to himself (along with the Father), and predicted that he would ultimately judge every person based on what they did with his teachings.
The standard way of teaching was that one Rabbi would quote another Rabbi then the third Rabbi would give his opinion on those two…Jesus went beyond that..
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment!
Many times throughout the Gospels Jesus would say “but I say” setting the point that it was his opinion but was irrefutable truth
Jesus places himself at the head of the judgment of all mankind wrapping part of it up this way in Matthew 7:23
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
He is telling everyone there is coming a judgment and I am the judge of all mankind
What would we do to someone today who made such a claim?
He is so much more than a man and knew He was the Son of God and no man gave him that title.
- Jesus made multiple claims to equality with the Father, and he never sought to change the perceptions of his listeners to that end, even when they were hostile and threatening to kill him.
Because of time allow me to give you three passage of scripture that prove this.
For this reason, the Jews persecuted Jesus and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath. 17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
18 Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Why would they want to stone him except that his “I am” claim was making him God?
I and My Father are one.”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 of You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”
These are Jesus’ on words. I think no one needed to make Him God, He knew He was.
- Jesus predicted that all his claims would be proven true by his impending death and resurrection—and then both of these events actually happened
One of the best ways to answer the question about Jesus is to ask another…what made Jesus followers believe he was the son of God, the Messiah, anointed one?
Ironically it is his death
John Dominic Crossan, (John Dominic Crossan) cofounder of the notorious Jesus Seminar, a group of scholars who promote highly skeptical views about Jesus, agrees: “Jesus’ death by execution under Pontius Pilate is as sure as anything historical can be.”
Jesus horrible death on a cross should have been significant to His first followers that he was not the Messiah because scripture is very clear about crucifixion
Deuteronomy 21:23 “he who is hanged is accursed of God.”
They would have seen this death as not victory but a sign that he was not the Son of God. Most of what they believed about Jesus prior to his death was that he was going to set them free from their Roman oppressors.
What changed their point of view? The resurrection! Within a few days some of his closest friends and relatives said they saw him alive.
Unlike other faiths, Christianity did not begin by a group of followers trying to remember Jesus teachings after he had died. The knew a vindicated risen savior.
To believe that Jesus was only a good teacher would be a mistake; a story about Jesus being the son of God would have never developed the disciples would not have been able to sustain a lie
Jesus placed his divinity at stake with the idea of the resurrection.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.
But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
In both cases Jesus was referring to his death and resurrection…but how do we know the resurrection took place?
Historic facts from even non-Christian authors bear the fact that Jesus was crucified…despite wild theories that it was not Jesus on the cross or that he did not really die Josephus a Jewish historian, Thallus, and Tacitus Roman historians give the account of Jesus crucifixion. Pliny the younger a Roman governor and the Jewish Talmud all give reports that Jesus was indeed crucified to death…so we know for sure that He died.
- all four Gospels report Jesus body was placed in a tomb by a member of the group that had him crucified…not a fact that would make sense if it were not true.
- All four Gospels report that women were the first to encounter the risen Christ. This is a male dominated culture where the testimony of a woman was worth less than ½ that of a man. This would not have been the way to promote His resurrection
- If the tomb were not empty it would have been easy to show the body or to find the dead body of Christ and reveal the whole resurrection thing as a hoax.
Paul’s conversion experience is especially troubling to those who believe that Jesus was only a good man…a persecutor who had a dramatic experience and became a believer
If your friends are asking you… “Everyone knows that Jesus was a good man and a wise teacher—but why try to make him into the Son of God?
I hope that today you see that it wasn’t something that was developed by Christians centuries after his death it was a plain understanding that the first-century disciples believed and Jesus himself made clear.
He is, was and always will be God and as the writer of Hebrews states
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”