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Lesson 2: The Mystery of His Deity *

Introduction: In my limited exposure to history and world religions, the claims about Jesus seem unique. Judaism is either waiting for a Messiah or has lost interest in the subject. Islam's highest claim for someone who once lived on earth is "prophet." The "god-king" claims of many earthly rulers never seemed to extend beyond their life here. People expected that the next ruler would occupy the same spot as "god-king." Jesus makes unique claims which are backed by the Old Testament - a book accepted by Jews, Muslims and Christians. Let's plunge right into our Bible study see what the Bible has to say about the Deity of Jesus!

  1. Ancient of Days

    1. Read Micah 5:2. This is a Messianic prophecy, and we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. What does this text say about the length of time of Jesus' existence? (His "origins" are "from old, from ancient times.")

    2. Read Isaiah 9:6. What apparent contradictions do you see within this verse? (It is filled with contradictions. The "son" is called "Father." A "child" is called "God." One who is "born" is called "Everlasting.")

      1. Can you logically resolve these serious contradictions?

        1. If so, how? (The son/father contradiction is easy. I am both a son and a father. We have seen in history children who were called gods. Born/everlasting is tough. It would have to refer to someone who existed before they were born.)

  2. Creator of the Universe

    1. Read Hebrews 1:1-3. What does this text say about Jesus' existence before His birth in Bethlehem? How ancient is He? (It says that God made the universe through Jesus. He made the place before He was born there!)

      1. Many scientists believe that there is one grand unifying theory of the universe ("GUT"). I believe this. God is a law of order, and the most pedestrian person can see an underlying order to things. (What do you know, the sun came up this morning. How unexpected!!) I'm always on the alert for GUT clues. What GUT clue do we find here, and what does it have to do with Jesus' Deity? (It says the word of Jesus currently "sustains" all things. Some universal word power emanates from Jesus that sustains all life.)

    2. Read Hebrews 1:4-5. Is Jesus a created being like the angels? (The text clearly says that Jesus is not an angel who was promoted or adopted to become the Son of God.)

      1. What do you make of the language that Jesus "became ... superior" and that he "inherited" His name? (My suggestion is that this has to do with the incarnation. When Jesus-God became man, lived a perfect life, died for our sins, and was resurrected, He got "promoted" in some way. He did something that no other member of the Trinity had done. He did something that no one but God could do. He defeated sin. Surely there is some sort of recognition for that!)

    3. Read Hebrews 1:6. Is this proof that Jesus did not eternally pre-exist, that He was "born?" (No. We previously learned that Jesus created the place where he was born, thus for Him being "born" and pre-existing are compatible. Note especially that it refers to Jesus being born into the "world" and not the "universe." This reinforces the idea of His human birth.)

      1. Read Colossians 1:18 for another suggestion about the meaning of Jesus being "born." What new meaning does this suggest for the term "firstborn?" (Paul refers to the Jesus' resurrection as "firstborn from among the dead.")

    4. Read John 3:16 in the King James Version. Is this word "begotten" proof that Jesus was born and did not eternally preexist? (The author of the lessons on which these studies are based goes into a long explanation of the Greek word (monogenes)and the way John uses the underlying term. I think that explanation is right, but I also think there is a much more simple answer: Jesus was born of Mary. Thus He was "begotten." On the other hand, the Bible clearly states that Jesus existed before He was begotten by Mary.)

    5. Read Hebrews 1:7-9. If Jesus is fully God, how can He be "set above" His "companions" the angels? Why would He need to be "set above?" (Again, I think the whole series of texts is arguing that Jesus is given special honor because He overcame sin. If you look back at Hebrews 1:3-4 it creates a sequence: Jesus provides purification for sins and then sits down at the right hand of God. It seems that at this point some special honor is conferred upon Jesus. I believe this is what is referred to in the "set above" language of Hebrews 1:8. No angel died for our sins. God died for us!)

    6. Read Colossians 1:15. How does Jesus compliment the rest of the Trinity? (God is invisible. Jesus is the visible image of God.)

      1. Is this meant in more than a visual sense? (Yes. When Jesus came to earth He revealed the character and love of God.)

      2. This text also refers to Jesus being "firstborn." Does this refer to His birth as a human or His resurrection?

    7. Read Colossians 1:16-17. This text clearly states that Jesus is the Creator of the universe. Notice the last phrase of verse 16: "and for Him." How was our universe (including us) created for Jesus? (If you create something, you own it. You take pride in it. If you create free moral agents, you create people who can love you.)

      1. A darker thought passes through my mind. Was our world created for the purpose of showcasing the clash between good and evil? Was it intended to be the ground on which Jesus would show that God was fair and loving and worthy to be chosen over Lucifer?

        1. Would the answer matter to your faith? (Read Romans 9:20-21.)

      2. Remember my GUT comments? What does the text mean when it says ( Colossians 1:17) "in Him all things hold together?" (Jesus emanates some power which is also the "glue" of the universe.)

    8. Consider the overall impact of these texts. What do we know about Jesus? (He is no mere man. He is no mere angel. He is the Creator who at this very time continues to sustain the universe!)

  3. Victor Over Sin

    1. Read Revelation 19:11-16. Just close your eyes and imagine this scene! Who is this Warrior? Who is the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords?" (Verse 13 reveals that His name is "the Word of God.")

      1. Who is the "Word of God?" (Read John 1:1-3 and skim John 1:14-35. John, who also wrote the book of Revelation, identifies Jesus as "the Word." The identification is unmistakable. Jesus is the Warrior on the white horse, He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords of Revelation 19.)

    2. Read Revelation 19:19-21. We have learned that Jesus is our Creator. We know that He died for us so that we can have eternal life. What other fact do we learn about Jesus? (He is the "Finisher." He destroys sin, the advocates of sin, and unrepentant sinners.)

    3. Friend, whose side would you like to be on in the battle between good and evil? If you have not chosen to give your allegiance to Jesus as your God, the time to do so is right now. The argument for His side is overwhelming.

  4. Next week: The Reality of His Humanity.
* Copr. 2008, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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