Have you ever had one of those conversations, you know the one where someone says something so obviously ridiculous that you are not sure how to answer. One of my least favourite is when someone says that the Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus is God. You might hear it from some friendly Jehovah Witnesses knocking at your door, maybe a couple of smiling Mormons, or perhaps it’s your Muslim friend at work, or it could be a misguided secular friend who has been watching too much bad T.V.
From the very beginning of the Church, Christianity revered Jesus as divine. In their book, Putting Jesus in His Place: The Case for the Deity of Christ, Rob Bowman and Ed Komoszewski lay out the argument to show that Jesus is properly recognized as God from the evidence of scripture. Using the mnemonic acronym of HANDS (honours, attributes, names, deeds and seat), they take you step by step through five points from the Bible. So use this to commit the argument to memory, and next time the Lord brings an opportunity across your path to share the truth about Christ, you will be good to go.
1. JESUS SHARES THE HONORS DUE ONLY TO GOD.
There are certain honours that are reserved for certain positions. The salutation “your Majesty” is reserved for a royal head of state, with princes or lesser positions of royalty being addressed as “your highness.” Worship is an honour that is only reserved for God, yet Jesus received worship. Jesus even reinforced this idea when He refused to worship Satan and instead quoted Deuteronomy 6:13, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve only Him” (Matt. 4:10). Yet Jesus received worship Himself from Thomas (John 20:28) and the rest of the disciples prior to His Ascension ( Matt. 28:17). The early church simply continuing to do what Jesus allowed when He was with them.
In addition to worship Bowman and Komoszewski explain that the scripture tells of people praying to Jesus, singing praise songs to Jesus, honouring and serving Him as God. Thus, Jesus holds all the honour of the Father.
2. JESUS SHARES THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
You can identify a thing by its attributes. The attributes of a cat are different from the attributes of a bird, that’s how you can tell the difference between the two. Another way we recognize Jesus as God is because He shares the very attributes of God. First, the Bible claims that Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Col 2:9). Jesus claimed to have existed even before His birth in Bethlehem (John 8:56) and other passages reinforce this (Col. 1:15, Rom.8:3). Jesus is eternal, without beginning or end, and an uncreated being (John 1:3, Col. 1:15, Rev. 22:13). Jesus doesn’t change, but He “is the same yesterday, to day, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He’s also shown to be omniscient, omnipotent, and incomprehensible throughout the gospels.
3. JESUS SHARES THE NAMES THAT ARE USED OF GOD
Names in ancient cultures were played a key role. People took on certain ‘names’ because it reflected some aspect of their position or character. Thus, Alexander of Macedon was called “the Great” after his whirlwind conquering of the known world. Throughout the New Testament, Jesus is called God (Heb1:8; Titus 2:13), Lord, Savior, the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega (Rev 1:8), Mighty God and more. Also, the early church was taught to baptize people in Jesus’ name (Matt 28:19), pray in Jesus’ name, and even find salvation in Jesus’ name.
4. JESUS SHARES IN THE DEEDS THAT ONLY GOD CAN DO.
The deeds of Jesus also match deeds only attributable to God. Jesus is the creator of the world (John 1:3, Col. 1:16-17) and will judge all humanity (John 5:22-23). When Jesus forgave the paralytic’s sins in Luke 5:20, the Pharisees rightly complained saying, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Jesus answered their question by performing a miracle in order to prove that he had the power to forgive sins against God. Lastly, Jesus holds the power over life and death, including His own (John 10:18), a power reserved for only God alone (Ecc. 12:7).
5. JESUS SHARES THE SEAT OF GOD—THAT IS JESUS SITS ON GOD’S THRONE.
In a courtroom, one can always expect to see the judge’s bench raised higher than any other seat. That is to communicate the judge as the presiding authority in the courtroom. Seats and thrones are important symbols that communicate the authority of the holder and we will refer to them interchangeably. So when we speak of Jesus’ seat or Jesus’ throne, it also connotes the authority bestowed on Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus is exalted above even the heavenly creatures (Phil. 2:10, Heb. 1:6, Eph. 1:21). Jesus sits on the throne reserved for God alone (Rev. 22:1, Matt. 25:31) and He shares ruling authority with the Father by sitting at His right hand (Heb. 8:1, Heb. 12:2).
While this is a very quick synopsis of their argument, I think Bowman and Komoszewski have done a great job in this book showing why Jehovah’s Witnesses and others who claim that Jesus was something less than the Creator God fail. The Christians have recognized Jesus as God from the time that He walked the earth; the scriptures leave us no other options as to His identity.