The Trinity (IIIf)

The NT Witness: Summary--The Deity of Jesus Christ

What I will try to do in this section is to list and to summarize the NT data we have found/discussed in the past few sections, relative to the deity of Jesus the Christ. Needless to say, this document will be a blur!

The Claims of Jesus

How those around Christ responded to Him

  1. God calls him "Son" and declares that He is "pleased" with Jesus (Mt 3.16)
  2. God tells some of the disciples to pay attention to Jesus (Mt 17.5)
  3. Evil spirits knew he was the Son of God (Mt 8.28-29; Mr 3.11ff) and the Holy One of God (Mr 1.23f)
  4. His enemies knew he was claiming to be God (Mt 9.3; Mt 26.63ff; Jn 5.18; Jn 10.33)--and accused him of blasphemy.
  5. Some of the general populace called/considered him God (Lk 7.16; Lk 8.39-40)
  6. John the Baptist recognized Jesus' RADICAL superiority to himself (Mt 3.13; Jn 1.26-30 w/.34)
  7. The disciples and those whose lives He touched WORSHIPPED Him (Mt 14.33; Jn 9.35ff)
  8. He was repeatedly called the Son of God (Mt 14.33; Mt 16.16; Jn 1.26-30 w/.34; Jn 1.49; Jn 11.27)
  9. He was called "God" directly (Jn 20.27f)
  10. Later Rabbinical writings 'remember' some of these exorbitant claims of Jesus.

How the Church understood the claims of Jesus and the events of His life/death/resurrection

If we step back from the data at this point, and look at it in its entirety, we cannot but be overwhelmed by the massiveness of it! We might be able to argue away a little here, and a little there, but the sheer bulk of this cannot be moved. One cannot stop an avalanche 'one rock at a time'. We come face to face with the reality that the Son of God shared ALL of the attributes, glory, and status of God the Father, and that this reality was disclosed in the life and words of Jesus Christ.

There are simply no other ways to account for this. The earliest texts have a full-blown divine Christ. The earliest texts are so close to the events as to preclude some 'legendizing' activity--at a level of comprehensiveness, success, integration into the life of the church, etc. that would match the data we have seen. And quite frankly, the apostles probably couldn't have even thought that up--given their background and context.

To be sure, there are difficulties with this conclusion, but we must be honest here and admit that the data we have seen is simply too 'stubborn'--it is our handling of the 'problems' that will have to give way first.

And so, it is to the problems in this position we turn next...before proceeding to study the biblical witness to the Comforter--the Holy Spirit.



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