Many people have no issue with Jesus or Christianity when Jesus is considered simply an enlightened teacher or prophet and Christianity just one of many paths to God. However, when you tell these same people that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh (John 1:1; 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16) and that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6) — in other words, through God himself for in Jesus “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9) — they will reject this truth, protesting that Jesus was no more than a prophet (Muslims), or that he was just a man like any other (atheists and pretty much everyone else besides Muslims), while oftentimes exclaiming “hatred”, “intolerance” and “extremism” as programmed by the mainstream media.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
While God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), unfortunately an overwhelming majority believe that truth is relative — an oxymoronic proposition since such a statement is, in and of itself, absolute and, therefore, affirms the absolute nature of truth that’s being denied.
As God’s word tells us — that is, Jesus himself as he is the literal Word — to those who seek after signs and worldly wisdom, Jesus is foolishness and a stumblingblock.
Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. (Isaiah 8:13-15)
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:22-24)
What separates true Christianity from all other “paths” is a belief that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, that he is the Christ; the Messiah; the King of kings and Lord of lords; the way, the truth and the life; the light of the world; the Word of God; the God of the whole earth; the Alpha and Omega.
Related: 135 Names & Titles of Jesus
When one understands the truth of this, it is clear that there are only two paths in this world: the broad and the narrow. The broad is wide enough to accommodate all religions and paths that do not acknowledge Jesus as God manifest in the flesh; the narrow has room only for those individuals who know Jesus as Lord and Saviour.
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
In this world of relativism — an antichrist doctrine that is born out of rebellion against God — many refuse to accept that there is only one way to God. However, just as unbelievers are without excuse, as God can be known by those things He created, they are also without excuse regarding the divinity of Jesus as there is much evidence of this in Scripture, including the myriad ways that Jesus referred to himself.
When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush he refers to himself as I AM, a name that points to His eternal existence.
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. (Exodus 3:13-14)
The scribes and Pharisees would have been familiar with this scripture, and so when Jesus told the Jews that Abraham rejoiced to see his day they replied, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?” (John 8:57) In answering the Jews, Jesus confirmed, by use of the present tense, that he was one and the same as the eternally existent I AM who spoke with Moses. This enraged the Jews who immediately took up stones to stone him.
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (John 8:58)
Beyond this clear I AM statement, Jesus said “I am he” a number of times. Again, this refers back to the LORD in the Old Testament, as we can see in the following verses from Isaiah:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? (Isaiah 43:10-13)
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last. (Isaiah 48:12)
In the New Testament, when Jesus is answering the scribes and Pharisees who brought him the woman taken in adultery, he tells them that they must believe that “I am he” and, a few verses later, that when he is crucified they will know that “I am he”.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. (John 8:28)
The book of John is a wonderful testimony of Jesus being God manifest in the flesh, the one and only Saviour of mankind. These seven “I AM” statements express more specific attributes of the great “I AM” of Exodus.
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12)
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. (John 10:9)
I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? (John 11:25-26)
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. (John 15:1)
When the Jews asked Jesus directly if he was the Christ, he told them “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30) — an answer that could not be plainer and the result of which was that the Jews, again, took up stones to stone him.
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (John 10:22-31)
When Jesus stood before Caiaphas and the Council he clearly affirmed his divinity. And it was this very affirmation that enraged the Pharisees and caused them to accuse him of blasphemy, as was recorded in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. When the high priest asks Jesus whether he is the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus not only affirms that he is by replying “Thou hast said” (Matthew), “I am” (Mark), and “Ye say that I am”, (Luke), he also affirms that he’s the Son of man. [Note: “Thou hast said” and “Ye say that I am” are both Greek idioms for “yes”.]
But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:63-64)
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. (Mark 14:61-64)
Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. (Luke 22:67-70)
Jesus’ affirmation that he was the Christ, the Son of God and the Son of man left no room for doubt as to who he was. The high priest and Pharisees would have, through their knowledge of the scriptures, understood that each of these affirmations pointed to his divinity.
The Christ is the Greek word for Messiah, yet when standing face to face with the one whom they claimed to be waiting for, the high priest and Pharisees refused to accept him.
The Son of God denotes that Jesus was of God or of the same nature as God which is, of course, a divine nature and equal to being God. Not only did Satan and the demons know Jesus to be the Son of God, but Jesus had also previously referred to himself as such (John 10:36).
The Son of man is how Jesus referred to himself 80 times. In doing so, he connected himself directly with the Messianic prophecy in Daniel 7:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13-14)
When Pilate questioned Jesus he asked a very specific question: “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Just as when he faced his accusers, Jesus affirmed the question with another Greek idiom, “thou sayest” (Matthew 27:11).
While the scribes and Pharisees didn’t ask this of Jesus directly, they witnessed His entry into Jerusalem riding upon the foal of an ass, a clear fulfillment of prophecy, and one that also confirmed Jesus as both King and Saviour:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. (Zechariah 9:9)
As we can see in the New Testament, Jesus himself affirmed and confirmed his divinity throughout his ministry. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear this was to be embraced, but for those without understanding, who had eyes and saw not, and ears and heard not (Jeremiah 5:21), it was cause for great outrage, an outrage that led to the crucifixion of God in the flesh. Almost two thousand years later nothing has changed. There are those who rejoice when they hear the gospel and learn that Jesus was God manifest in the flesh, however, the vast majority reject Jesus, often with indignation and vehemence. There are those who say they believe in God, as well as those who declare they have a relationship with Him, but as soon as the name Jesus is mentioned they recoil as someone in darkness being suddenly exposed to an intense light.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:1-5)
Until the very last day, those in rebellion against God will continue to consider Jesus foolishness and stumble at His name. Yet, these are they who will be confounded and ashamed for, as it is written, every knee will bow to Jesus and confess him as Lord, and as God (John 20:28).
Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:21-23)
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
Addendum: Titles of Jesus and God
Here are a handful of important titles of Jesus that are used to refer to God in the Old Testament. For simplicity, only one reference is cited for both the Old and New Testaments, however, these are not the only references for these titles.
Creator Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-3
First and Last Isaiah 48:12 and Revelation 1:17-18
Holy One Isaiah 43:15 and Acts 3:14
I AM Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58
Judge Isaiah 33:22 and Acts 10:42
King of Israel Isaiah 44:6 and John 12:12-13
Lord of lords Deuteronomy 10:17 and Revelation 17:14
Saviour Isaiah 43:3 and Luke 2:11