There is no doubt according to the Holy Bible that Jesus Christ, the second person of the godhead, is God. Although within the Christian religion most denominations use the same Bible, there is a wide variety of opinions concerning this matter. Throughout the Old Testament, there are many evidences of His existence and participation at special times before His incarnation in Bethlehem.
I shall be looking mostly at His declarations within the book of St. John, and I shall show that He is truly God from the Old Testament, beginning from Genesis, where He is the active one in the creation process.
His thirty-three-year sojourn on earth was to rescue man from sin, to destroy sin and death, to vindicate the name of God, to establish an eternal kingdom on the earth and to restore man into full fellowship with his Creator.
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ have settled the issue of ownership on the earth. Those who accept the Lordship of Christ and are obedient to God’s law will have the gift of eternal life, which He offers to humanity. Eternal life is only offered to those who believe and claim His sacrifice on their behalf.
Nowhere do the scriptures teach that eternal life exists for the disobedient and for sinners. It is God’s plan to remove every trace of sin from the earth and by extension the universe. It must be clearly understood that time is only relevant where sin exists. Therefore, when death and hell is cast into the lake of fire, which is prepared for the devil and his angels, that will be the end of sin and consequently the end of time.
The plan of salvation involves cleansing from the power of sin, deliverance from the power of sin and destruction of the presence of sin. The seven statements that are mentioned in the book of St. John not only show His deity and equality with the Father. They also embody the message that He came to give from His Father and the plan to rescue man.
Now let us take a brief look at this gospel of St John, and why it stands out from the other three gospels.
It is the easiest of the gospels to understand. Matthew, Mark and Luke are called the synoptic gospels because they are alike. Many of the parables, miracles and other acts of Jesus will be found in those three gospels. The book of St. John is quite different. Very few of the miracles found in St. John are found in the other three, and none of the parables at all. St. John’s Gospel was written a long time after the first three and was written to refute Gnosticism. The doctrine of Gnosticism teaches that Christ did not come in the flesh and that he was only a phantom. The Apostle John testifies that he saw Him, walked with Him, and lived with Him.
Lastly, it has a warm and more personal touch than any of the other three gospels. There are many conversations that He held with the disciples, just before His crucifixion that are recorded only in St. John.
As you go through these seven statements that Jesus made, one thing will become very clear to you. When you go back to the book of Exodus, you will realize that this was the first time that this name I AM appears. When Moses saw that burning bush on Mount Horeb and went to see what it was, Moses asked God what he should tell the children of Israel who sent him, or what was his name. God’s reply was I AM THAT I AM.
“The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they say to me, what is His name? what shall I say to them?”
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you. “15 Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations. Exodus 3:14–16. NKJV.
Also, in St. John 8:58, Jesus told the Jews that before Abraham was I AM. They attempted to stone Him for this. They did not understand that the one who stood before them was the very one who created the world and everything that existed in it.
They did not understand but we today know better.
So, I invite you to let your imagination go back almost two thousand years ago when Jesus Christ walked up and down in the land of Palestine, from Galilee to Judea, and to many of the other places. Listen to Him as He declares the message that He received from His Father. I sincerely trust that you will be completely blessed.
The Deity of Christ
This chapter on Christ’s deity is taken from an original writing of a tract that I wrote. It tells the major facts about Christ’s pre-existence.
In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. St. John 1:1–2 KJV
This scripture is telling us about a time when there was nothing but the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine such a time when nothing existed?
In the latter prophets, Micah shares the same thought. He also revealed the place of his incarnation. “O thou Bethlehem Ephrata though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth a ruler who is from everlasting.” Micah 5:2
The Apostle Paul expresses the same thought in Colossians 1:15.
In the book of Genesis, the first verse begins this way. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 KJV
It begins in the first chapter to describe the creation of planet Earth. It was the second person of the godhead who was the active agent in that process. In verse 26, we read the statement “Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.” Genesis 1:26 KJV
It is clear from this statement that there was more than one person involved in the creation of the earth. Also, the Holy Spirit played a part as well, hovering over the earth and creating the water that gushed forth upon the earth. Genesis 1:2 KJV
However, we shall concentrate in this study upon the Christ who came as a babe in the manger at Bethlehem.
In the Garden of Eden, it was the second person of the Godhead who communed with Adam. We do not know how long this direct contact with Adam continued, but we do know that God the first person of the Godhead spoke directly with Adam. It was He who judged him and sentenced him to death. It was He who killed those animals and clothed their nakedness. It was He who extended grace to them, and it was He who promised them that four thousand years later He would come to rescue mankind from eternal death.
He was the one who talked with Abraham and made a covenant with him. He revealed His plan to raise up a nation through whom the redeemer of the world eventually came.
In the book of Exodus, there is the story of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. The third chapter begins by showing how God spoke to Moses from the burning bush to go to Egypt, to execute that mission. As Moses’s curiosity drew him to the bush, he realized that he was in the presence of God. Here it was revealed to Moses another name of God, that the Hebrews revered. This name Christ claimed also, which the Jews thought was blasphemy.
14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.”
The passage of scripture above gives the story of how God called Moses. What I want to show is that I AM, the name that God gave to Moses, is the same name that Christ identified Himself with. This shows that He is truly God, even though the Jews did not believe it. He also told them in another discourse that He existed long before their father Abraham. He said to them, “Before Abraham was I AM.” St. John 8:58
Again, He said that He and the Father are one. There are many who do not really understand this statement. The book of Genesis starts with describing the creation of the planet Earth. The Bible tells us that He did it in seven twenty-four-hour days. The Hebrew word Elohim is the word used in Genesis 1. It is a singular as well as a plural noun. In that creation narrative, it will be seen that all three persons of the Godhead participated. The twenty-sixth verse begins by saying, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness.” There you see the plural part of the noun coming through very strongly. They are one in purpose and power and all other attributes. The Jews did not know about his pre-existence, and therefore could not accept his words. There are many today who do not believe it either. This does not negate the fact of its reality.
One of the most well-known of the prophecies which tell of his preexistence is found in Isaiah nine. “Unto thee, a Son is given, unto thee, a child is born, and the government shall be upon his shoulder. And he shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of peace.” Isaiah 9:6
There are several instances where He appeared to man before his incarnation. I shall list at least four instances in the Old Testament where the Son of God appeared to man.
First, He came to Abram along with two angels. Genesis 18:1–4
10 And He said, “I will certainly return to you according to the time of life and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son.”
(Sarah was listening in the tent door which was behind him.) 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age; and Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. 12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13 And the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I surely bear a child, since I am old? 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.” Genesis 18:13–14. NKJV
The second one was when the Lord chastised Aaron and Miriam for criticizing Moses after he married the Ethiopian woman. Numbers 12:2–6
Another time the Lord came to assure Joshua that he was with him before he attacked Jericho. Joshua 5:1–8
The fourth time was when He was with the three Hebrew men in the furnace. Daniel 3:25
Six hundred years later he came to Bethlehem as a babe in a manger. Angels told the glad news to shepherds as they watched their sheep “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men! Luke 2:8–14
When we read this passage of scripture, I wonder what would make anybody think that shepherds would be out in winter in the hills. Anyhow, let us not bother about that. Let us concentrate on the matter at hand.
The shepherds left their sheep to see this babe, who was the incarnate son of God. How glad they were to witness this great event. How gracious God was to reveal this wonderful event to those humble shepherds, instead of the hierarchy at Jerusalem.
Gentile visitors also saw that star and came from the east to worship the newborn king of the Jews and the universe. When they arrived at Jerusalem and asked Herod, he knew nothing about it. Summoning the Sanhedrin, they told him where he should be born.
2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
They found Mary and Joseph staying at a humble cottage. They brought their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. They worshipped in awe and reverence and left. We are told that those three visitors represented all humanity. They returned to their country by a different road. Herod never saw them again.
When the paranoid king sent his troops to kill Jesus, he was already gone into Egypt.
He came with a message of love from his father. He healed the sick, preached to the broken-hearted and raised the dead. Yet the Jews refused to believe him.
Now he comes to you. He died the death of a criminal on a cruel Roman cross for all of us. Now he is in heaven interceding on our behalf. Now is your chance to be saved before it is too late. Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20 NKJV I am come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. St. John 10:14 NKJV
The Bread of Life
This study is based on St. John chapter 6.
It was a bright sunny Sunday afternoon about three o’clock when the young lady who escorted me to the church, and to my Sunday School infants’ class, hung my little grey felt hat on a rack not far away, and then led me to a seat. I must have been about four years old. I was with about seven or eight other girls and boys all my age. The teacher was telling us about the story in St. John six when Jesus fed a multitude of about five thousand men with three barley loaves and two fishes. It was an interesting story indeed. How could anyone feed so many people with a little boy’s lunch? I thought.
When she finished telling us the story, she asked us what the bread was made of that Jesus used. I shouted out, “Salt bread!” She looked at me with a smile on her face and replied, “No, it was not salt bread. It was made from barley.” I figured that the man who wrote that story made a mistake. Nobody made bread with barley.
My father used to run a grocery business and he used to buy bread to sell. He bought all kinds of bread, but I never saw him buy bread that was made from barley. My mother used to boil the barley and give it to us to drink. When the seeds were left back in the saucepan, she used to add a little sugar and we ate the seeds. She never made bread with the seeds. As an infant, those were my thoughts. It was not until I grew older and learned geography that I understood that barley was one of the frequently used grains of those Mediterranean countries.
A little boy’s lunch was all that was necessary to satisfy the hunger of a large multitude of men. However, there was much more to it than a morsel of bread and fish. Jesus wanted to show them something that went much further than the temporary bread. Somehow or other they never understood.
Do you like bread? Do you eat a large amount of bread? How much bread have you eaten within the last week, or perhaps the last year? All of these are questions which come up in this chapter. Jesus knew exactly what he was talking about when He said that He was the living bread. All over the world people eat bread. It is a very popular kind of food. In the Mediterranean countries, especially in the days of Jesus, people made bread from barley flour. They used bread in two ways and for two purposes. One was for daily use, where they would put yeast in the flour, and the other was for ceremonial purposes, where there was no yeast.
Today bread is used in many ways and is made from wheat. It is the quickest thing that people can think of when they are hungry or want something to eat. One can see how important it is within the diet of the world. Bread is always readily available. Millions of people eat bread in its various forms, and making bread is big business.
For example, if you ever visit a hotel as a guest, you will notice that at every meal that they serve, bread is given. At breakfast, lunch and dinner. In Canada and those cold climates, they keep bread in their garages for several months. The cold climate keeps it fresh for a long time. So, you will see then that bread is a universal food, which can be served quickly when one is hungry.
Going back to Galilee, the crowd was probably on its way to the annual Passover feast in Jerusalem. Jesus and his disciples were going there too.
The Passover was an annual feast of the Jews which was celebrated on the first month Nisan, of the Jewish year. It was kept in memory of their great deliverance from Egyptian bondage about fourteen hundred years before the first advent. Jews from all parts of the Roman empire came to celebrate these annual feasts.
This Passover lamb was kept for ten days so that it should be purified and without any blemish. It was roasted and eaten with bitter herbs. If the family was a small one, they could share with another family. None of the bones should be broken, and none of it was to be left over the next day.