The argument over the nature of Jesus was already going on during the years of His ministry on earth (Mt 16:13-16). In fact, it was because of this very issue that He was crucified (Lk 22:66-71). And that argument has continued over all these centuries and still rages as strong as ever in our generation. Some say Jesus was just a rabbi who never actually claimed to be divine. It was Paul, John, the author of Hebrews, or maybe even unknown scribes centuries later who turned Him into a God, they say. But in real life great ideas come from great people, theyre not cobbled together by committees or lesser souls, because you cant produce something greater than you are. Actually, later generations and interpreters tend to diminish the greatness of the original ideas, not improve them. They might muddle clear teaching or add bizarre elements, but they cant produce genius. That only comes from geniuses.
So who is responsible for starting the idea that Jesus is divine? Im convinced it was Jesus Himself. It wasnt Pauls fault or Johns or the author of Hebrews or some second-century scribe. If were going to blame somebody for this concept that God begot a Son who became a man, then lets blame the right person. And Im convinced the person to blame is Jesus Himself. The apostles were just good students who were relaying to us what their Teacher had taught them.
1. Lets see where this started
Luke 2:39-52 12 years old
Luke 3:21, 22 Youre My beloved Son
Luke 4:16-22 Today this Scripture has been fulfilled
Luke 5:20-24 Friend, your sins are forgiven you
John 5:17, 18
calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
because You, being a man, make yourself out to be God.
John 19:6, 7 We have a law and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God
Luke 22:66-71 Are you the Son of God then? And He said to them, Yes I am.
He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures
2. Was the conversation on the road to Emmaus forgotten?
No, it was treasured and became the foundation of apostolic preaching.
Acts 2:25-36; 3:22-25; 4:11, 25, 26; 7:37, 56; 8:30-35; 13:33-37, 47; 15:15-18; 17:2, 3; 26:21-23
3. Why did the author of Hebrews dare to give such bold interpretations to these Old Testament passages?
I believe we have here in Hebrews (1:5-14; 2:6-8) a list of some of the passages Jesus taught Cleopas and another disciple as they walked toward Emmaus (Lk 24:13-25). He would have quoted passage after passage and then said something to the effect, The person it speaks of is Me!
Heres an example of Jesus explaining Psalm 110 (Mt 22:41-46)
So as we read this portion of Hebrews I believe its as if we had been invited to walk along and listen to Jesus reveal how these prophetic passages speak of Him. And what we hear Him say is earth-shaking: Israels Messiah is no one less than Gods pre-existent divine Son, literally the One who created the heavens and the earth.
4. The question facing us
So as we read this passage and let its radical claims amaze us, we are forced to answer an important question: Who do we believe? Do we believe those who claim He was merely a man whom others turned into a God, or do we believe Jesus claims to be both divine and human?
Lots of people respect Him and like His teachings but that is not enough because Jesus said we must believe:
In who He is (Jn 6:28-40)
And in what He has done to save us (Jn 6:41-59)
- Eat My flesh
drink My blood
- Trust My sacrifice for you on the cross. Receive it and take it into your heart by faith
As we can see, these claims have always been unpopular (Jn 6:66). The question facing us is will we also withdraw and not walk with Him anymore, or will we say, I have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God (Jn 6:69).
Do you believe Gods Son became a man?
Do you believe Gods Son died for your sins?
Do you believe God the Father accepted His Sons sacrifice for you and raised Him from the dead?
Do you believe He is the Lord to whom the Father has commanded all to submit? Have you genuinely bowed your knee to Him and continue to submit to Him as Lord?
If youve said yes then listen to what the apostle John says to you:
1 John 5:9-13 and in light of his words:
Do you believe that because of Gods Son you now have eternal life, and will not come into judgment but have already passed out of death into life? (Jn 5:24)
The early Jewish Christians faced several awkward doctrines. Here is a list of four: 1) divinity of Christ; 2) a crucified Messiah (1Co 1:23; Lk 9:44, 45); 3) the evangelization of the Gentiles (Ac 22:21, 22); 4) the resurrection of the dead (Ac 17:32; 23:6; 24:15, 21; 26:6-8). Why do you think these would have caused much arguing in Jewish homes and synagogues?
What are some of the awkward doctrines that modern-day Christians have to defend?