[Note: Most of this article is an excerpt of the longer CANA article, “The Piscean Jesus.”]
Many claim Jesus was a prophet, teacher, spiritually enlightened master, an avatar, a man who attained Christ consciousness, or a political radical. Claims are made that the Bible does not teach that Jesus is God. Was Jesus born an ordinary man and then became a Christ, or was he always Christ? Was he God? What does the Bible really say about this?
In the New Testament:
One of Jesus’ names, “Emmanuel,” means, “God with us,” (Matthew 1:23).
The first verse of John chapter one, speaking of Christ as the Word, says, “the Word was God.”
Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, says to the newly pregnant Mary in Luke 1:43, “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” acknowledging Jesus, still in Mary’s womb, as “Lord.”
John the Baptist, who was born before Jesus, said of Jesus, “He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me,” (John 1:15b and 1:30).
Jesus is worshipped as God by the wise men in Matthew 2:11, by the blind man in John 9:38, by angels in Hebrews 1:6, by the disciples in Matthew 14:33 and Matthew 28:17, by the women at the tomb in Matthew 28:9, and by the 24 elders in Revelation 5:14.
Jesus refers to sharing “God’s glory before the world began” in John 17:4.
Jesus confounded the Pharisees when he asked them in Matthew 22 whose son the Christ (the Messiah) is. They answered that the Messiah is the Son of David. Jesus then asked them, quoting Psalm 110:1: “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord,’ For he says, ‘The Lord said to my Lord: Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’ If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?” Clearly, Jesus was saying that if David called his descendant, Jesus, his (David’s) Lord, how can Jesus be merely a human descendant of David? This question left the Pharisees speechless, and “from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:41-46).
Philippians 2:6, 7 talks of Christ giving up his glory as God to incarnate. Note that the passages states that he gave up his glory, not his deity.
Thomas, in John 20:28, cries out to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus created and sustains the universe, Hebrews 1:1-3.
Titus 2:13 speaks of “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Jesus is described as Creator in John 1:3, Colossians 1: 16, 17, and Hebrews 2:10.
Jesus, speaking of God the Father in Luke 20:38, says that God is not the God of the dead but of the living, and Romans 14:9 says the very same thing of Christ, “that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.”
Jesus is the Almighty in Revelation 1:8.
In the Hebrew Scriptures:
In Isaiah 9:6, God tells us that one of the names for Jesus is “Mighty God.”
God speaks of every knee bowing to him in Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2: 10,11 applies this to Jesus.
God says in Isaiah 42:8 that he will not give his glory to another, yet Jesus speaks in John 17:5 of the glory he had with God before the world existed.
Jesus quoted and referred often to the Hebrew scriptures. In one example, after his resurrection, Jesus told the disciples, “When I was with you before, I told you that everything written about me by Moses and the prophets and in the Psalms must all come true,” (Luke 24:44).
Jesus, the Lamb of the Passover and the Torn Veil
The two men crucified with Jesus in John 19:33-37 had their legs broken by the soldiers, but as the soldiers approached Jesus, “when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs; but one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear.” This connects to Exodus 12:46 and Numbers 9:12 referring to the command that the Passover lamb cannot have a broken bone; and it fulfills Psalm 34:20 which predicts that “He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken,” and to Zechariah 12:10, “..so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced.”
Jesus was the very Lamb of the Hebrew Passover, the final sacrifice, “unblemished and spotless,” (Isaiah 53:7; John 1:29; Hebrews 7:25-27; 1 Peter 1:19; Revelation 5:6). John the Baptist declared of Jesus: “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b).
His flesh was the veil that separated the Holy of Holies in the Temple (Hebrews 10:20), torn on the Cross for us (the veil in the Temple tore as Christ died, as recorded in Matthew 27:51 and Luke 23:45), so that we can enter the holy place of God’s presence, “by a new and living way,” with our “hearts sprinkled clean” of sin through faith in what Christ did on the cross (Hebrews 10:19-22).
As Jesus put it: “You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life, but the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life,” (John 5:39, 40).
Even if one does not accept the Bible as God’s word, it is clear that these scriptures teach that Jesus is God the Son incarnate, the promised Messiah, the living Christ, from the moment of his birth. On the very day of Jesus’ birth, an angel appearing to the shepherds told them: “Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11). Jesus did not become the Christ; he was the Christ at his birth; he had always been, and always will be the Christ. He the Messiah, the Redeemer, the risen and living Savior.