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Is Jesus God?

Very often Muslims argue that “Jesus is never reported as saying “I am God” in the gospelS, and therefore try to refute the deity of Christ. Muslims and those who deny the deity of Christ needs to recognize that in order to understand the deity of Christ they have to interpret the claims of Christ from the perspective of Jewish context. Let me reiterate the words of Peter Kreeft about Jesus in his book the philosophy of Jesus “He was not a Gnostic or a New Ager. He was not a Modernist or secular humanist. He was not a Marxist or socialist. He was not a Platonic philosopher. He was not a Brahmin pantheist. He was not an Aryan racist. He was not a social worker or a pop psychologist or a pagan myth or a magician. He was not a Democrat or a Republican; in fact, he was not an American. He was not a libertarian or a monarchist or an anarchist or a radical or a neoconservative. He was not a medieval or a modern man. He was a Jew”. To interpret the claims of Christ and understand the self understanding of Jesus, one has to put his legs in the shoes of early Jewish disciples and see through their eyes or worldview.

One’s worldview determines one’s interpretation of text. Muslim approaching the Gospel interprets the claims of Christ from Islamic perspective rather than Jewish perspective and therefore they come to wrong conclusions. Their whole notion of how can God have a son or with the title “son of God” is based on misunderstanding that God has a biological son.

He is not a Biological Son but Spiritual Son.
He is not a Temporal Son but Eternal Son
He is not one out of many sons but Unique Son.
He is not a distinct God but Distinct person in the Trinity
He is not Only fully God but also fully Man
He is one person with two natures (Divine-Human)

Jesus (God the Son) is one in essence with the Father and the Holy Spirit who together constitute “One God” rather than “three Gods “as there is only One God in the worldview of Jesus with only difference that Islam Posits God to be a “Singular Unity” whereas Christians affirms God as a “Plural Unity”. A family is a plural unity and if that family commences a business in partnership with another family than that could be said that one family has associated another family as partner. In the same way A God who is a Plural Unity is not associating himself with another God as partner. That is why in the Old Testament God repeatedly says “there is no God besides me” therefore the whole idea of “shirk” is not applicable to the God of Bible as the God of bible never affirms the existence of other gods and goddesses as he Alone is True God.

Now let us examine the claims and actions of Christ from the Jewish perspective.

Jesus forgives sins : There are many instances in the Gospels where Jesus forgives sins particularly in the episode of healing of the paralytic. Mark 2:3-12; Luke 5:18-26; Matthew 9:2-8; we find the Pharisees mentioning "Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?" Let me put the whole logic in syllogism

Premise 1 : Only God forgives Sins
Premise 2 : Jesus forgives Sins
Conclusion : Therefore Jesus is God

Jesus has authority on the Nature : While in the boat disciples encounters a storm and were terrified. At that moment Jesus calms the storm simply by a command. Matthew 8:23-27;27The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" The Jews believe God is creator and sustainer of the universe and only he has authority upon the creation. Unlike pantheist they did not believe creation and creator to be one and divine. Hence when Jesus stills the storm they are perplexed about his identity. Let me put it in syllogism.

Premise 1 : Only God has authority upon creation
Premise 2 : Jesus exhibits authority upon creation

Conclusion : Jesus is God

Jesus accepts worship: when Satan tempted Jesus and asked Jesus to worship him, Jesus said “it is written you shall worship and serve God alone”. Yet Jesus accepted worship at many times.
Despite the fact that both the Old and New Testaments forbid worshiping anyone other than God (Ex. 20:1-4; Deut. 5:6-9; Acts 14:15; Rev. 22:8-9), Jesus accepted worship on at least nine occasions. These include worship from:

1. a healed leper (Matt. 8:2)
2. a ruler whose son Jesus had healed (Matt. 9:18)
3. the disciples after a storm (Matt. 14:33)
4. a Canaanite woman (Matt. 15:25)
5. the mother of James and John (Matt. 20:20)
6. a Gerasene demoniac (Mark 5:6)
7. a healed blind man (John 9:38)
8. all the disciples (Matt. 28:17)
9. Thomas, who said, “My Lord and my God” (John20:28)

All of these people worshiped Jesus without one word of rebuke from him. Not only did Jesus accept this worship, he even commended those who acknowledged his deity (John 20:29; Matt. 16:17). This could only be done by a person who seriously considered himself to be God.

Jesus excludes himself from others : When disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray Jesus said “when you pray, Pray like this “ Our father in Heaven”. Jesus is not telling them “Let us pray” as the prayer contains a plea for the forgiveness of sins, which is not applicable to Jesus.

Jesus always distinguished his relationship with God as unique type. He always addressed God as “my father” and “Your father” and “My God” and “your God”. Never had he mentioned our father or Our God.
Jesus use of Parables for himself:Jesus also declared his deity implicitly through parables. In several of his parables, Jesus depicts himself in the role of God. For example:

• In responding to the Pharisees’ complaint that Jesus is receiving and dining with sinners (Luke 15:2), Jesus tells three parables—the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son (Luke 15:4-32). The implication is that Jesus is doing what the Old Testament says God does: he is a shepherd who goes and finds what is lost, and a forgiving father who welcomes home repentant sinners (Ezek. 34:11; Ps. 103:8-13). (Incidentally, the Pharisees are represented by the complaining older son in the parable of the prodigal son. The Pharisees, like the older son, mistakenly think they deserve the father’s gifts because of their good works. So this parable not only affirms the deity of Christ but also teaches that salvation is a free gift that cannot be earned, only accepted.)

• In Matthew 19:28-30, Jesus declares that he—the “Son of Man”—will rule on the glorious throne of Israel at the renewal of all things, and that his followers will rule with him. He then immediately teaches the parable of the workers and the vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16). That’s where the kingdom of God is represented by a vineyard owned by an employer. The employer pays all workers equally, regardless of time worked, thereby communicating that God’s grace is not based on any kind of merit such as length of service (“the first will be last and the last will be first”). Jesus is represented by the employer who owns the vineyard and dispenses grace freely. This equates him with God because, in the Old Testament, God owns the vineyard (Isa. 5:1-7). (As we have seen, his use of “Son of Man” is also a claim to deity.)

• Jesus refers to himself as the “bridegroom” on several occasions (Mark 2:19; Matt. 9:15; 25:1; Luke 5:34) including in the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13). Since the Old Testament identifies God as the bridegroom (Isa. 62:5; Hos. 2:16), Jesus is equating himself with God. There are several other instances of Jesus implicitly claiming deity through parables. While we don’t have space to treat them all here, Philip Payne concludes, “Out of Jesus’ fifty-two recorded narrative parables, twenty depict him in imagery which the Old Testament typically refers to God.”

(taken from “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist” by Norman Geisler)
Jesus claims “I AM”. In Old Testament God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Ex. 3:13-14). Jesus in the Gospel of John says “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds (John 8:56-59).I AM is the self-existent One. He has no past or future because he is eternal. He’s not in time. Jesus was claiming to be that eternal, self existent One, and that’s why the Jews picked up stones to stone him.

Jesus claims “oneness with God” : In John 10:30 Jesus says “I and father are one”.
Peter Kreeft says “If a Jew said to his rabbi, “I justdiscovered that I’m God,” the rabbi would rend hisclothes and cry, “Blasphemy! Insanity! Arrogance!Idiocy!” But if a Hindu said that to his guru, theguru would smile and say, “Congratulations. Youfinally found out. Welcome to the ranks of theenlightened.” That is what we find in the passage from john 10: 31-32 Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, 32but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

As I conclude the article I want to quote Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek from the book “I don’t have enough faith to be an atheist :

Imagine your neighbor making these kinds of claims: “I am the first and the last—the self-existing One. Do you need your sins forgiven? I can do it. Do you want to know how to live? I am the light of the world—whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. Do you want to know whom you can trust? All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Do you have any worries or requests? Pray in my name. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. Do you need access to God the Father? No one comes to the Father except through me. The Father and I are one.” What would you think about your neighbor if he seriously said those things? You certainly wouldn’t say, “Gee, I think he’s a great moral teacher!” No, you’d say this guy is nuts, because he’s definitely claiming to be God. Again, no one has articulated this point better than C. S. Lewis, who wrote: I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish things that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would rather be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to

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