Good evening, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Heaster, ladies and gentlemen.
My task, as I see it at this point, is to show you the Scriptural teaching that Jesus is Divine.
This can be shown of course in many ways. Indeed, one of the problems that anyone discussing the subject like this has, is that there is so much evidence that Jesus is God that it is impossible in the time available to even begin to touch all of it. All that I can do is to show you something of the main lines upon which Scripture operates.
Now one thing that is quite clear is that in a number of passages of scripture, Jesus is called God. The first verse that I will call as witness to this effect is the first verse of John’s gospel: “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”. Now that Scripture has, of course, been the subject of a great deal of discussion. But one thing is perfectly clear – I have been into this with some care – that when it says “the Word was God” that is telling us who and what the Word was. It isn’t simply that Jesus represented God – that is not what it says at all – but that the Word, which is Jesus, was God. Now I believe our friends, the Christadelphians, teach that the word “Word” in this context does not refer to Jesus. It is simply a statement of the purpose of God. And yet when you read the passage as a whole you find that there are many statements made which refer to a person by means of an abstraction. Allow me to demonstrate that. I will continue reading until I get to the point I want to make:
Verse 3: “All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name”.
Now you see the person that is referred to there is the light; and the light is the same person as we’ve got referred to right at the beginning as the Word. And if you carry on to verse 14 it says “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 bare witness of him, and cried saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me; for he was before me”. You see there is no break in the thought sequence between the Word and Jesus actually in this world. I mean no break in the thought sequence as to the person spoken of.
Now, John’s gospel is a very long book in one way. Not long in the terms of words but long in terms of ideas, and one of the themes of John’s gospel is to bring out from time to time pointers to the fact that, as he says in his opening verse, Jesus was God.
Now as I understand it, the way Jesus came was not to get up and say boldly, “I am God”; but he went about, as it says in another passage “doing good, and healing all those that were oppressed of the devil for God was with him”. If you read the gospels (I think this is true of all four gospels) what you find is a man comes in and immediately the question arises, ‘Who is he?’ ‘Who is this man?’ And from time to time you are given hints or pointers as to who he really was. For example, if we go to Mark’s gospel (because, although I’ve spoken much about John, this point we’re making is spread out through the whole of Scripture) – we go to the second chapter of Mark, and we find that Jesus had been defending his disciples against the Pharisees, who were insisting upon the detailed observance of the Sabbath law in accordance with their prescribed rules. The disciples had been eating ears of corn on the Sabbath day which they had plucked from a ripe corn field. Jesus says in verse 27, “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath”. The title ‘Son of Man’ goes in parallel, so to speak, with the title ‘Son of God’. It is used some eighty times or so in the gospels always, or most always, from the mouth of Jesus himself. Therefore, when he says “the Son of Man” he is referring to himself. “The Son of Man is Lord also of the Sabbath”. The word ‘Lord’ in basic meaning means ‘a person who has power over something or someone’. Who can have power over the Sabbath which God created, except God?
I just make that as one witness from another part of Scripture. I said time is short and therefore I will pass over the other passages that might be referred to in John’s gospel and take you right to the end, or rather, to the end of chapter 20. Chapter 21 forms a kind of supplement, or appendix, or epilogue, to John’s gospel and the main narrative ends with chapter 20. Chapter 20 tells us how Jesus rose from the dead. It also tells us that there was some difficulty among his disciples in believing this, in particular with Thomas. Thomas, one might say, was a typical twentieth century man – wouldn’t believe anything he couldn’t see. But Jesus appeared to his disciples, first when Thomas wasn’t there, which aroused his unbelief, and secondly when Thomas was there. And in verse 27 it says, “then saith he (this is, Jesus) to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God”. Now if Jesus had not been God, he would have had to have immediately refuted that.
I can draw your attention for example, to illustrate this point, to Acts 14. Paul and Barnabas had been preaching in Lystra which is in what we now call Turkey. They had healed a man that had been a cripple and when the people saw it, they said (verse 11 of chapter 14) “The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius; because he was the chief speaker”. And so they attempted to offer sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas. And immediately it says, verse 14, when Barnabas and Paul heard of (it) “they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye do these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you the ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven and earth, and the sea and all things that are therein”: and so on. And it says, verse 18 “And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people that they had not done sacrifice unto them”.
Again in Acts 10 we find Peter comes to Cornelius. Cornelius, a Roman centurion, had sent messengers to Peter asking him to come and preach the gospel to him. When he came it says, verse 25, “and as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also and a man”.
Again, you go to Revelation. In chapter 1, John falls down at the feet of Jesus appearing in magnificent form as “one like unto the Son of Man”. There is no rejection of that.
Go to the end of the Book and you find chapter 22 and verse 8 “And I John saw these things and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God”.
You see, any other being accepting worship, save God, is gravely sinning because as the Lord himself said when he was tempted by the devil, to worship the devil, “thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and him alone shalt thou serve”. And yet, you see, Jesus accepted worship.
Again, it says in the end of Luke, after Jesus was parted from them and carried up into heaven, “they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy”.
Indeed, there are many passages in Scripture where Jesus is worshipped. For example, at the end of the second epistle to Timothy, we find, chapter 4 verse 18, “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever”.
Again at the end of the second epistle of Peter, he exhorts his hearers to “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen”.
Go to Revelation 1:6 (or rather verse 5) “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”.
Go to chapter 5 verse 9. This is the elders exclaiming, “And they sung a new song saying, Thou are worthy to take the book and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue and people, and nation” – addressed, you see, to Jesus.
Again, you get in verse 13 Jesus linked with God in worship “Blessing and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever”.
Jesus the Lamb of God is worshipped with God. He is God.
Now on the question of the Trinity, I will remind you of one thing (because my time is almost elapsed) and that is at the end of Matthew’s gospel the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are joined together in one single name. The final commission of Jesus to his disciples, chapter 28 verse 19, is “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost”. One name, three persons, one God.
That, I think, is all I need to tell you for the moment. I hope to answer some of Mr. Heaster’s points in my second speech.
This is Bible evidence for the Trinity.