Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God, the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:1-3).
Why is it so difficult for people to understand that Jesus was and is God? In the first few verses of the Gospel of John, the deity of Christ is confirmed. This is a very basic truth and is stated throughout the Bible. In fact, the most blatant sign that a religious group is a cult is that they deny the deity of Christ. Jesus, the Word, existed “in the beginning”. When was that? Well, that’s before time began and He created all things.
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Compare Genesis 1:1 to John 1:1. Genesis tells us that before anything else existed, God existed. John 1:1 says that in the beginning was the Word (or in Greek, logos). Genesis tells us that God spoke and everything came into existence. John wrote: “The Word was with God and the Word was God and all things were made by Him.”
John makes it clear that Jesus is God. John goes on to say:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
We know that there is only one God who has three distinct personalities…God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God the Son. He stepped into His creation to redeem what Adam lost.
A common statement heard from those who deny Christ’s deity is that He never said He was God. Well, yes He did. He said it many times. John wrote a lot about Jesus’ deity and in the first verses of his Gospel we see it very clearly. We also read in Revelation, which Jesus dictated to John, that Jesus said:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
Is this just a poetic thing to say? No, Jesus is stating that He was there in the beginning (He created everything) and He will be there at the end. The word in the Greek for “Almighty” is päntokrätōr which is defined as: 1) he who holds sway over all things. 2) the ruler of all. 3) almighty: God. This is a clear statement by Jesus that He is the beginning, the end, and God Almighty.
Now let’s look a little farther back in time. We all know the account of Moses and the burning bush. He saw a bush that was on fire, but was not consumed by that fire. He found that interesting and went to take a closer look. The LORD spoke to Moses from that bush. He told Moses to take off his shoes, for he was standing on holy ground.
“Moreover he said, ‘I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. ‘And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6).
From surrounding verses we know that the voice from the bush was a Theophany, an Old Testament appearance of Jesus. The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt and God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to set them free. Moses had many excuses as to why he couldn’t do what God asked, but when he ran out of excuses he asked God what he should say if they asked the name of the One who sent him.
“And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you” (Exodus 3:14).
God told Moses to tell the Israelites “I AM” sent him. He didn’t need any other name or description. Jesus used that name sometimes when talking to the Pharisees and they understood exactly what He meant. They knew He was proclaiming Himself to be God. For instance, after a long conversation recorded in John chapter 8, wherein the Jews accused Jesus of being conceived in fornication, Jesus said to them:
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56-58).
Just in case we don’t understand that Jesus was saying that He is God (I am), which is blasphemy to the Jews, the next verse says:
“Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by” (John 8:59).
The Jews understood exactly what Jesus meant when He said, “Before Abraham was, I am.” That is why they were so eager to stone Him. Jesus said He was God.
There are many more instances recorded by John wherein Jesus says that He is God. For instance in John chapter 10, Jesus was having another discussion with the Jews. When I say “discussion” I really mean heated argument. This one took place in Jerusalem and the Jews asked Him how long before He would tell them plainly if He was the Christ – in Greek it is “Christos” meaning the anointed one, the Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus stated that He had told them but they didn’t believe Him, because they are not His sheep.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
The Jewish leaders were not His sheep; only those who hear His voice and follow Him belong to Him. Then He finished His statement by saying egō kai patēr esmen heis, which is translated “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).
To our English ears this sounds as if Jesus was saying that He and His Father had the same ways of doing things. This might have been a valid idea, except for the reaction of the Jews and the conversation, which followed.
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, for a good work we stone thee not; buy for blasphemy, and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God” (John 10:31-33).
You see, the Jewish religious leaders knew exactly what Jesus was saying. If a mere man claimed to be God it was blasphemy and that was a stoning offence. They wanted to stone Him because He stated that He is God. There many other places where it is recorded that Jesus stated that He is God, and it is a worthwhile study.
Now, let’s look at His death on the cross. Under the Law there were many animal sacrifices to cover sin. None of them could take sin away.
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).
God set up the animal sacrifices to foreshadow the once for all sacrifice, which Jesus would make on the Cross of Calvary. God never ever required human sacrifice. Never. Human sacrifice was practiced by pagans who worshipped Satan. They called their gods by various names, such as Baal, Molech, Kronos, etc. These false gods were satanic and demanded sacrifices of human blood. These demons are still around today. If Jesus Christ were a mere man then His death on the cross would have been a human sacrifice and unacceptable by God. On the other hand, since He is God His shed blood on the cross takes our sin away when we accept this free gift.
“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
John the Baptist knew that Jesus is God.
Jesus was fully God and fully man. Only the blood of God could take away sin completely, but He also had to be our kinsman (human) in order for His sacrifice to apply to us. According to Jewish Law if a man was forced to sell his possessions a kinsman, or close relative, could redeem it for him.
“If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold” (Leviticus 25:25).
The first man, Adam, sold his possession to Satan. Only a kinsman (another man) could redeem it. That is why God Himself had to step into His creation as a man in order to become our kinsman redeemer. He had to be fully God for His blood to be our once for all sacrifice. He also had to be fully human to be our Kinsman Redeemer.
Even the Prophets spoke of His deity.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
We’ve all seen this on Christmas cards, but have you really looked at it. It tells of the coming Messiah…Jesus. “A child is born”…a human virgin named Mary was impregnated by God the Holy Spirit and gave birth to a child. “A Son is given”…God gave His Son. Now look at the names “Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father. Jesus is God. He is our kinsman Redeemer. He is the Lamb of God, which takes away our sins. He is our once for all sacrifice. Neither the deity nor the humanity of Jesus is negotiable. If we diminish either He is unable to save us.
In Acts we read that Paul was concerned about the Ekklesia in Ephesus. He called the leaders of that congregation together and warned them:
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-30).
Notice that Paul says they are to “feed the church of God.” The King James translation says “church” but the real word is: “ekklēsia” which is the congregation, believers in Christ…Christians. Paul says this “Ekklesia of God” was purchased with God’s own blood. Yes, Jesus is God. Paul knew that false teachers would enter into the midst of the congregations and pervert the truth. He knew that many would follow their lies. Denying the deity of Christ is indeed “speaking perverse things.”
“I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
The translators inserted a word into the text that does not appear in the original Greek, and I also omitted it. They added the word “he” after “I am”. Once again Jesus stated that He is the “I AM” who spoke to Moses. Many people corrupt and pervert the truth of Christ’s deity. Don’t be one who believes the lies. Believe it, Jesus is God. The blood of bulls and goats cannot save you. Human sacrifice is abominable and cannot purchase salvation. Only Christ Jesus can accomplish that. Only God Himself gives eternal life. Believe it.
God bless you all,