The Trinity (IIId)

The NT Witness: Responses to Jesus in the Gospels


After discovering that the data of the Synoptics, and that of the Gospel of John supported the view that Jesus understood Himself (and claimed to others) to be God, we now turn to how those AROUND Jesus understood His claims, words, actions--do the historical records indicate that Jesus was commonly understood as making claims to deity.

We will organize the passages around WHO DID THE RESPONDING: God, other spiritual beings, enemies or antagonists, the general populace, His friends, followers, disciples. This will give us a broad-base of responses, to see if these responses indicate that Jesus somehow claimed to be God.

Responses by God:



Responses by spiritual beings:



Responses by antagonists or enemies:



Responses by the general populace:



Responses by friends and followers:



Summary: This data is consistent with the self-understanding and claims of Jesus we have seen so far. From the intimate words of the Father about His beloved Son, to the consistent responses of Jesus' enemies with cries of "Blasphemy", there is no doubt that Jesus made exorbitant claims to be God. The very actions/words of the demons betray a knowledge of His authority that goes WAY BEYOND what had been historically revealed up to that point. Jesus is called "God" and literally given divine worship--without the slightest hint that this was improper or blasphemous.

It is interesting that in the latter rabbinical writings, echoes of the Jesus/Pharisee interactions occur (CTM:62,302-304).

Major sections of the Rabbinx are attributed to Rabbi Eliezer, who was a disciple of Rabbi Johanan ben Zaccai. Ben Zaccai must certainly have seen, heard, and known Jesus. He died an old man before 80 A.D., and lived mostly in Jerusalem. Many of the questions raised in the rabbinical literature are directed at Rabbi Eliezer, which makes sense, given his discipleship under one of the main sources of tradition about Christ in the Rabbinix. (CTM:352)

The claims to deity of the Son of God on earth are well attested from His own words and from the responses of those with whom He interacted--and these interactions STILL continue throughout history.


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