Introduction: If you watched the news 2000 years ago in the Middle East, you would have been pretty discouraged. The ruler of Israel, Herod the Great, was sliding into insanity and was paranoid and violent. The land of Israel was occupied by the enemy. Their weak providential government was splintered into factions—Seduces and Pharisees and Zealots. The Romans had ordered an oppressive taxation or census, and Hellenistic paganism was eroding the nation’s faith. But in the middle of the chaos, a baby entered the world—and we call that message the Gospel, the Good News, the Best News for the worst times. The book of Romans, which explains the Gospel, begins by telling us: (A) Jesus was predicted before He was born (Romans 1:1-2); He was fully human, a descendant of David (Romans 1:3); and (C) He was God (Romans 1:4): …and who through the Spirit of Holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
In the ages of eternity past, Christ existed. He has always existed, for He is God—the eternal God, the God of grace and glory. When the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary, Jesus also became a human; and from the moment of His miraculous conception Jesus has been—and always will—both God and man.
As far as we can tell in the Bible, in theology, in Christian beliefs in all three of its major branches—Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox—the transmogrification that took place at the miraculous conception of Christ was an eternal and permanent change.
The theologian, Wayne Grudem, used one sentence to summarize the entire sweep of biblical theology about who Jesus Christ is. One sentence: “Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man and will be so forever.”
Eight Biblical Reasons We Say Jesus is God
First, Jesus is called the “Son of God.” Notice Romans 1:4 again: He was declared with power to be the Son of God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Hebrew phrase “son of” meant to bear the characteristics of someone. That’s the way this phrase is used in the Gospels. John 5:18 says, For this reason they tried all the more to kill (Jesus); not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making Himself equal to God.
Second, Jesus is called God in the New Testament. See John 1:1; John 20:28; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 1:8; Matthew 1:23
Third, Jesus is called Lord throughout the New Testament. It used to trouble me some that there were not more New Testament examples of the word God being used of Jesus in the New Testament. And then I listened to a lecture that totally changed my understanding, and I’ve studied this ever since. The greatest mystery in the world is the doctrine of the Trinity—there is one God who eternally exists in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The New Testament writers used the word “God” primarily to designate the First Person of the Trinity—God the Father. But they reached back into the Old Testament and selected another title of deity or divinity or God-ness to designate God the Son, and that was the word “Lord.” That is a word that is used in the Old Testament over and over to designate God, but the New Testament writers use it almost exclusively of Jesus Christ, the way Paul does here in Romans 1:4: …and through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. That is the great New Testament confession of Christianity: Jesus Christ is Lord!
Fourth, Jesus is eternal in nature. He preexisted before His conception and birth. See Micah 5:2; John 8:58; John 17:5; Hebrews 13:8
Fifth, Jesus is of one essence with God. See Hebrews 1:3; Philippians 2:6; John 10:30 and 14:9
Sixth, Jesus spoke of Himself as coming down from heaven and being sent from above. See John 6:38 and 41, and John 7:33
Seventh, Jesus does things only God can do, such as forgiving sins. See Mark 2:5-7.
Finally, Jesus receives worship that only God can receive. See Matthew 2:11; Matthew 14:33; Revelation 5:6-13
Why is This So Important?
First, if Jesus is God He can save us from our sins. Isaiah 43:11 says, I, even I, am the Lord, and there is no Savior besides Me. Jesus had to be God in order to save us; but He had to be human in order to provide the means of our salvation.
Second, if Jesus is God He can give us eternal life. The Bible says, This is the record: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life, and whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (John 10:28).
Third, if Jesus is God He can fulfill every promise He made.
- He said, Behold, I will be with you to the end of the world. If He were merely man He couldn’t do that, but as God He can.
- He said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass way. If He were merely man He couldn’t do that, but as God He can.
- He said, Whoever believes in Me, though He were dead, yet shall He live. If He were merely man He couldn’t do that, but as God He can.
- He said, I have come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly. If He were merely man He couldn’t do that, but as God He can.
- He said, If I go away I will come again and receive you unto Myself that were I am there you may be also. If He were merely man He couldn’t do that, but as God He can.
Finally, if Jesus is God He is worthy of Lordship. He is worthy of our obedience. Just this week I uncovered a fascinating story about this from the history our nation, and it involves Noah Webster, who created the first American English dictionary in history. I was just fascinated by his story and stayed up late several nights read it. Webster graduated from Yale during the Revolutionary War. He tried teaching, but failed. He opened a school, but it closed. He became a lawyer, but couldn’t keep any clients. He fell in love twice, but was rejected. He wanted to become George Washington’s official biographer, but that job went to someone else. He started a newspaper, but it went through years of financial strain and just when it became successful, Webster lost interest in it.
But the poor had finally gotten married, and he moved his family to New Haven, Connecticut to work on his idea for a dictionary. He worked at a round table in his upstairs study from sunrise till four in the afternoon, usually standing while reading and writing, using a quill pen and pad, and surrounded by reference works. But the mental strain, financial worries, and constant criticism nearly broke him. He was 50 years old.
But one day his two daughters came home with exciting news. They had been attending the church down the street and they had found Jesus Christ as their Savior. Webster was alarmed by this, and he went to church to see what was going on. He met with the pastor. And he, too, found himself on his knees, confessing his sins, and dedicating his life to the Lord Jesus. His mind and life were suddenly flooded with peace.
His brother heard what had happened and sent him a letter, criticism him and accusing him of yielding to religious enthusiasm. In response, Noah Webster wrote a long letter—fifty typed pages—which later became one of America’s first pamphlets on Christian apologetics. I read it with tremendous interest. I’m not going to read all 50 pages, let me end today with a few words from Noah Webster.
He could not have been a mere man, for He expressly declared, “Before Abraham was, I am,” (John 8:58). “And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was,” (John 17:5). We must admit with the apostle that Christ was “God manifest in the flesh,” or place these declarations to the account of falsehood and hold Christ for an impostor; which no believer in the Scriptures will have the hardiness to do. I once had doubts on this subject; but my mind is now satisfied (on the subject of) the divinity of our Savior. “Never man spake as He spoke.” The prophecies respecting Christ, and the astonishing train of events recorded in the Jewish history as preparatory to His appearance, have had no small effect in satisfying my mind on this subject. Let any man attend, among other prophecies, to the clear predictions of Christ, in the ninth and fifty-third chapters of Isaiah, and he will find abundant evidence of Christ’s divinity, and the inspiration of Scriptures….
To those who object to this doctrine of Christ’s divinity on account of its mysteriousness, I would reply that there is nothing more mysterious in this doctrine than in everything else respecting God and His works…. The existence of a God, infinite, eternal, unchangeable, in His being and perfections, is… by far the greatest mystery that can be presented to the human mind…. [W]hen once the existence of the God of unlimited power is (acknowledged), we may safely (acknowledge) the existence of any facts, however mysterious and astonishing, that do not involve an absolute contradiction.
These sentiments may perhaps expose me to the charge of enthusiasm. Of this I cannot complain, when I read in the Gospel that the apostles, when they first preached Christ crucified, were accused of being full of new wine; when Paul was charged by Felix with being a madman; and when Christ Himself was charged with performing miracles through the influence of evil spirits. If, therefore, I am accused of enthusiasm, I am not ashamed of (it). It is my earnest desire to cherish (biblical) doctrines and no other…for nothing is uniform but truth; nothing unchangeable but God.
Well, all the words in Webster’s Dictionary can never fully describe Jesus—the God-Man—who descended from David and is declared with power to be the Son of God through the resurrection from the dead—Jesus Christ our Lord. Because He is God He can save you from your sins, give you eternal life, fulfill every promise He has made, and He is worthy of your complete and full dedication.
Let every kindred, every tribe
On this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe
And crown Him Lord of all.
 Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 529.
 Noah Webster, The Peculiar Doctrines of the Gospel Explained and Defended in a letter from Noah Webster, Esq. to a friend in Boston (Portland: A. Lyman & Co., 1811), passim.