What some groups teach about Jesus and the Bible's response
Adapted from Rose Publications, Christianity, Cults & Religions, 7th Edition.
First off; I do not agree with this statement, at all. I will admit difficulty totally understanding the concept, but I comprehend through scripture that He was God, and therefore have confidence in Jesus being God and accept that as fact.
What initiated this brief dive into the cults and their opposing statements, was a question asked by a co-worker about what the Jehovah Witness believe, because he felt that a person at work was trying to convert him. I did not feel like I gave him a good, solid answer. I have the book, Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter Martin, but I find my self overwhelmed by the amount of information. The Rose chart seems to give me just enough information to satisfy the inquiries of my shallow mind. (My sense of humor)
The Rose chart used John 1:1 as their first definitive answer, so lets take a look at that.
IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. [Isa. 9:6.] (John 1:1 AMP)
That is a an excellent portrayal of not only Jesus as God, but Jesus as the Word of the living God. A concept that people, primarily non-believers, will struggle with. One really needs to take in the whole scene, in context, therefore I suggest that you spend some time thinking about John 1:1-5. That way you can see the intricacies of the portrait, much like a painting of a sunny day, with the sun dominating in the sky, there are so many other subtle details that enhance the composition.
The translation Word, is from the Greek word Logos, meaning a spoken word; a thought or concept, and an expression of utterance of that thought. With 325 occurrences of the word Logos, over half are translated as the Word of God. Virtually every other has to do with some method of communication.
One of the problems that anyone has to deal with is a lack of belief. You can beat people over the head with scripture all day long, with conviction, and still not get them to change their minds. Sort of like that old saying, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. Perhaps overwhelming evidence is the way, presented in love.
John 1:1 is understandable to me, but then I chose to understand, and I have come to know that the Holy Spirit is playing a major role in mine or anyone's ability to grasp and pursue the truth. Jesus made a few other statements concerning himself as the Word.
Luke 8:21 "My mother and brothers are those who hear God's word and put it into practice."
Here he had been teaching. Challenged because of the potential scene his mother and brothers (James) were making outside; he responds with this statement. Did you notice that He attributed the Word coming out of his mouth to being God's words. If Jesus had not been God then this statement would be blasphemous.
John 5:24 "Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my Word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.
In this verse lies the key that opens just about anything in scripture that the world perceives as a mystery. Paul uses that term when he wrote his letter to young Timothy. Jesus points out that anyone responding to His Word and having a belief, in God, has eternal life and will not be judged. This is the same message that Paul preaches in his letter to the Romans. Paul never stood before Jesus, that we know of, listening intently, allowing it to grow faith in him. So where do you think Paul got this from? You would be right to say directly from Jesus himself.
John8:37 I know that you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are looking for a way to kill me, because you have no room for my Word.
I chuckle as I read these passages for the Pharisees knew exactly what he was saying. It is possible that the common folk did not grasp it. Keep in mind that not everyone had a bible sitting on a table next to the Lazy Boy. What is dominate to me in this passage is that they had no room for his Word. How does that happen? They were the learned ones, and they studied “God's Law” with diligence. One might think that all they had room for was God's word, and yet standing before God he tells them they do not. Reacting purely out human emotion their anger and rage must have boiled to the surface. They did not accept Him as the Messiah, they certainly were not going to accept him God, so to kill him was a prescribed recourse, because that is what you do to blasphemous persons.
What I have listed below is a short collection of passages that speak toward Jesus being God. I pretty much operate out of the NIV, so the verse will be from there unless otherwise stated. Much like many movies these days where there is some humorous gem that follows along with the credits, I suggest you read to the end.
1Corinthians 1:24 Christ is the power and the wisdom of God.
Colossians 2:3 Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom an knowledge.
Colossians 2:9 In Christ all the fulness of the deity (God) lives in bodily form,
John 1:3 (GW) Everything came into existence through him. Not one thing that exists was made without him.
John 1:14 That Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
(15) The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
(16) For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
(17) He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(18) And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
(19) For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
Whether I made my point or not is somewhat dependent upon the reader. An argument is constructed in such a manner as to convince the opposition of it correctness. Jesus needed no proofs and yet God provided them; perhaps that is because He knew how broken and skeptical we were. Jesus was described before He came. His name was established in the heavens and foretold. He walked this earth as a man fulfilling every prophecy about him. He did precisely what He said He would do. He died and rose again. He was witnessed by many after he arose, and He ascended into the heavens, sending us His Holy Spirit, just as He said He would do. This is what Paul tells Timothy in the passage below.
1 Timothy 3:16 (MSG) This Christian life is a great mystery, far exceeding our understanding, but some things are clear enough: He appeared in a human body, was proved right by the invisible Spirit, was seen by angels. He was proclaimed among all kinds of peoples, believed in all over the world, taken up into heavenly glory.