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Johonnie Theology and The Triune God Part II
|"...who soever believes on Himshall not perish." (John 3:16
The theme of Christ's divinity is woven into the very fabric of John so tightly that to remove it would reduce the book to nonsense. Without that it makes no sense as to why they tried to stone him. The conflicts with the Phrisees make little sense and become just a petty difference of interpritaion over the law that could never eplain why they wanted to crucify him. Without that theme the book loses all its internal consistancy. Almost every chapter focusses on this theme, all the long dialagoues are centered on it, it runs form the prolgoue to the end where he passes on the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and where Thomas says "my Lord and My God."
Here is a thumbnail sketch of His own claims in the order in which they appear.
Jesus own Claims about himself
3:16 the famous passages is placed in the mouth of Jesus (yes, placed, see the Bible page for details of my liberal view--i admitt t redaction of the text, but the basic texts can be cross referenced with even non-canonical Gospels). That famous passage being "for God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him shall shall not perish but have everlasting life."
He also said "I am..." The Messiah Jn 4:26,
The chapters 6-8 take up a running dialogue over the Jesus statements about being the bread of life and the one who came down form heaven. There are far too many to go into here.
(John 6: 31-39)
"Jesus said the work of God is this, believe on the one he has sent""So they asked him what miraculous sign will you do give that we may believe?..."I am the bread of life, he who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. ...for I have come down from heaven not to do my will but the will of him who sent me, and this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me...
John 6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes
to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
John 6:40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees
the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will
raise him up at the last day." (NOTE: Jesus says I WILL RAISE HIM UP)
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws
him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
John 6:48 I am the bread of life.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any
one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I
shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
John 6:57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the
Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.
John 7:37-39 (RSV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and
proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.
He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart
shall flow rivers of living water.'"
Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him
were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because
Jesus was not yet glorified.
The significance of his saying this at the Fest of booths is that the preists would pour water on the alter and this symbolized the Holy Spirit. He's claiming to give the Holy Spirit to those seeking God. No mere messenger would clam to do that!
John 8:12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the
world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the
light of life."
John 8:23 He said to them, "You are from below, I am from above; you
are of this world, I am not of this world.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before
Abraham was, I am."
This is the sacred name of God that was revealed to Moses. Those listening understood because they picked up stones to stone him at that moment. Otherwise, why try to stone someone just for saying he's as Old as Abrham or that he exists (If I am isn't the name of God). See the next page for more on this verse.
John 10:9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved,
and will go in and out and find pasture.
Making himself the focual point of belief, the object of faith. Faith is in him. No mere messenger, wise man, sage, prophet, teacher, or patriarch ever took on that sort of role.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his
life for the sheep. (Compare to Psalm 23)
Why are they his sheep? If he were just a messenger they would be God's sheep.
John 10:30 I and the Father are one."
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He
who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
Why would a mere messenger be the resurrection and the life. Surely this is a role that only God could fulfill, he's making himself the focual point of faith and the source of salvation.
John 13:13 "You call me `Teacher' and `Lord,' and rightly so, for
that is what I am. (NOTE: Only God is Lord to the Jews. See
Deuteronomy 6:4 "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD).
John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father
in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own
authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me
that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for
the sake of the works themselves.
John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me,
and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you
can do nothing.
John 17:9-10 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world
but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; all mine
are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.
John 20:28-29 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said
to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are
those who have not seen and yet believe."
The entire Gosopel is laced with such excluciviistic claims. Jesus makes himself the object of faith, he makes himself the focus for human belief. He takes on authority that ony God could have, and that no mere messenger would ever claim for himself, and the entire sense of the Gospel of John would fall apart if we extract those calims.
The Synopitics are also full of such claims.
Jesus' Synoptic Calims about himself.
Mark 2.5ff: When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." 6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...."-
Lk 7.48-49: Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." 49 The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"-
Mark 2.28: So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath."--
How could anyone but God be the "Lord of the Sabbath?" The Sabbath is the most holy day, it symbolizes salvation itself (the Sabbath rest--see Hebrews). God is "The Lord" so how could anyone else be Lord of the Sabbath?
Mark 9:42: "And if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, - (Notice that He is endorsing Himself as an appropriate object of religious faith! A rather important clue as to deity--cf. Jer 17.5: This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man.)
Mark 12.35-37: While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, he asked, "How is it that the teachers of the law say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declared: "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet."' 37 David himself calls him 'Lord.' How then can he be his son?"--
Mt 7:21-23: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23 Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'--
Again he is making himself the object of faith,and he's claiming aruthority over divine judgement of people's eternal destiny. What mere messenger could take such authority?
Mt 11.10: Jesus applies the Mal 3.1 passage to John the Baptist, which would put Jesus in the role of YHWH in those passages (e.g. 'the LORD will come to His temple').
Mt 12.6: "I tell you that one greater than the temple is here. 7 If you had known what these words mean, `I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent. 8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."--
[The Jews did not have the notion of Messiah as Greater than the temple or as Lord of the Sabbath. He could not be Lord of the Sabbath without being God because only God could be Lord of the Sabbath--the speicial Holy rest, one of the 10 commandments]
Mt 18.20: For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."--
Lk 19.43ff: "The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. 44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."-(note: son of man is not an admittion that he is only man, it refurrs to the vision of Daniel (book of Daniel) of one "Like unto a son of man" sitting on a throne..." It was a designation for the Messiah. This was a euphemism for Messiah, see the section on Messiah page 1, Messiah Divine.
Many Anti-Trinitarian groups argue that Jesus is just the empodiment of God's plan for salvation (they interprit logos as merely an idea in the mind of God). Thus, Jesus is just a messenger (this is pretty much the Christadelphian line). But look at the calims he's making, what mere messenger ever made such claims? What Prophet ever dared say "One who is greater than the temple is here." These claims contradict what God says about his own glory. Jesus procliams himself the focus of religious devotion ("I am the way,the gate, the door"). But God says "I will not give my glory to another. Either Jesus was right with God, which means he had to be God, or he was usurping God's rightful glory.
Bauckham compares Phillipians 2:10-11 with Isaiah 45:22-23 (which it
obviously alludes to):
"so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
In heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue should acknowledge
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father." (Phillipians 2:10-11)
"Turn to me and be saved,
all the ends of the earth!
For I am God, and there is no other.
By myself I have sworn,
from my mouth has gone forth in righteousness
a word that shall not return:
'To me every knee shall bow,
every tongue shall swear'." (Isaiah 45:22-23)
Concerning these verses, Bauckham states:
"We should note the characteristic Old Testament and especially
Deutero-Isaianic assertion of the absolute uniqueness of YHWH: 'I am God and
there is no other.' This passage in Deutero-Isaiah depicts - indeed it is
the passage in Duetero-Isaiah which depicts - the eschatological
demonstration of YHWH's unique deity to the whole world. This is the point
at which the one Creator of all things Sovereign over all things proves
himself to be so, acknowledged as both only God and only Saviour by all the
ends of the earth which turn to him in worship and for salvation. The
Pilippians passage is therefore no unconsidered echo of an Old Testament
text, but a claim that it is in the exaltation of Jesus, his identification
as YHWH in YHWH's universal sovereignty, that the unique deity of the God of
Israel comes to be acknowledged as such by all creation. Precisely
Deutero-Isaianic monotheism is fulfilled in the revelation of Jesus'
participation in the divine identity."[Richard Bauckham, "God Crucified:
Monotheism & Christology in the New Testament" 1998, p. 52-3]
Also, what of the fact that Paul, in 1 Cor. 8:6, is taking the Shema, the
classic statement of the uniqueness God, and adapting it to include the
Lordship of Jesus? Bauckham says "It should be quite clear that Paul is
including the Lord Jesus Christ in the unique divine identity. He is
redefining monotheism as christological monotheism. If he were understood as
adding the one Lord to the one God of whom the Shema' speaks, then, from the
perspective of Jewish monotheism, he would certainly be producing not
christological monotheism but outright ditheism. The addition of a unique
Lord to the unique God of the Shema' would flatly contradict the uniqueness
of the latter."[Ibid. p. 38.]
Johonine Theoloyg and Triune God 3