Recently I read the claim, put forward by a clergyman, no less, that Jesus never stated that he was the divine son of God. This writer would have us believe that what we have are Jesus’ “daily and constant declarations about how to be human and how we are to imitate him in his humanity.”
Jesus was most certainly human. But to imply that this cancels his claim to deity is is to misread the New Testament and to misunderstand Jesus’ plain words about his divine nature. If we take the Bible seriously we cannot escape the conclusion that it teaches us that Jesus is both God and man.
Even our Lord’s favorite name for himself, “Son of man,” is a messianic title taken from the Old Testament. It implies his ideal and perfect humanity. It also teaches his lordship, kingship, and ultimate rule over the whole world in a divine kingdom that will never be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-15).
So as we enter a new year let it be with the intention of keeping Jesus in the central place in our lives. “In all your ways acknowledge him” (Proverbs 3:6). “Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:11). Jesus even said that we are to honor him in the same way that we honor the Father in heaven. “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23).
In responding to his critics in John chapter 8, Jesus repeated the claim that he came from the Father, God, who sent him. “I stand with the Father who sent me” (v.16). “My other witness is the Father who sent me” (v. 18). “He who sent me is reliable” (v. 26). “The one who sent me is with me” (v. 29). “I have come from God” (v. 42). “He sent me” (v. 42).
Jesus also stated that his teachings came from God. “What I have heard from him I tell to the world” (v. 26). “I speak just what the Father has taught me” (v.28). “I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence” (v. 38). “I know him (the Father) and keep his word” (v. 55).
In John 14 Jesus said that we are to believe in him with the same faith that we reserve for God. “You believe in God; believe in me” (v. 1) “No one comes to the Father except through me” (v. 6). “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (v. 9). “I am in the Father and the father is in me” (v. 10). “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).
These are astounding claims. If they are true then in this new year of our Lord 2022 we must respond with some resolutions. With the disciple Thomas we must worship him as “my Lord and my God” (John 20:28). We must obey him as he told his followers, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching” (John 14:23). When we pray to God, we must approach him in the name (on the authority) of Jesus. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” (John 15:24). Added to these is the great commandment: “Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12).
Many African American churches have “watchnight” prayer services on New Years’ Eve. There is testifying, singing, preaching and, and as midnight approaches, fervent prayer for the new year that is ahead. What a great way to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus in the new year! It would not be a bad idea if every new day in 2022 began with our heartfelt declaration: “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
Pastor Randy Faulkner