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Who is Jesus?
Part I of the Series. Bible study on Jesus as God.

One of the most important aspects of His identity is that He's God. Interestingly, it's the most difficult to grasp and explain, since we've never possessed the attributes of deity.

Jesus Is God
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (Jn. 1:1).

In this passage, John isn't setting forth a polytheistic doctrine, that there are multiple Gods which we worship. Rather, he is stating that Jesus is divine, in perfect fellowship with Jehovah, though a separate person.

This is made clear when we understand John's use of the definite article, which identifies Jehovah apart from the Word, in John 1:1. (The definite article isn't translated in this passage relating to the word "God").

A more literal translation of John 1:1, translating the definite article with "God", would read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God. . . ." (Jn. 1:1).

In the latter part of this verse ("and the Word was God"), the absence of the definite article before "God", along with the preposition, expresses the deity of Jesus as the Word, though He's a separate person from Jehovah.

When we say "Jesus is God," we don't mean that He's the same person as the Father. Rather, we mean He's divine, possessing the same divine attributes of the Father, as one of the three persons of the Godhead.

  • "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9, NASB).
  • " For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9, NKJV).

Jesus: Equality With God
When writing to the Philippians, Paul addresses the divine qualities of Jesus, saying, "who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Phil. 2:6).

The word translated "equality" is isos, denoting equality in quantity and quality. Therefore, Paul tells us the qualities of Jesus were equal to God. In other words, as he stated early in the verse, Jesus was "in the form of God" before His incarnation, namely that He was divine, and a member of the Godhead.

Jesus' Eternal Existence
Isaiah, prophesying of the birth of Jesus lists a number of descriptive names, one of which is "Everlasting Father" (Is. 9:6).

Then Jesus, after his birth, confessed His deity before the Jews with the phrase "I am" (Jn. 8:58), similar to the phrase used by Jehovah in Exodus 3:14, "I AM WHO I AM."

Jesus used the phrase "I Am" to express His divine quality of eternal existence.

In the context He said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad" (Jn. 8:56).

The Jews responded and asked, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham" (Jn. 8:57)?

Jesus replied, confessing His eternal nature as deity, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am" (Jn. 8:58).

Jesus' Divine Power
In Isaiah 9:6, not only does the prophet foretell of Jesus' eternal existence, he also tells about His divine power as God.

  • "For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Is. 9:6).

In the New Testament, Paul says Jesus is "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24), as the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18).

As a result, "the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God" (1 Cor. 1:18).

Therefore, in Revelation Jesus refers to Himself as the Almighty. "'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty'" (Rev. 1:8).

Other Phrases Expressing Jesus' Deity
Although this article isn't exhaustive regarding the divine terms identifying Jesus, three others are noteworthy:

  • "Our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
  • "The image of God" (2 Cor. 4:4).
  • "The Holy and Righteous One" (Acts 3:14).

To be continued.