Who is Jesus? God, Son of God, Savior, Prophet

Who do we pray to? Who is listening to our hearts?

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LOS ANGELES, December 23, 2014 — Is Jesus God? In the Christian context, it is an interesting question. To be a Christian seems automatically to say that the answer is “yes.” Philippians 2:6 describes Jesus from this perspective: “being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God …”

We see bumper stickers, t-shirts and signs all the time saying “Jesus is God,” or “Jesus is Lord.” If we are Christians, how can we question that this is so? Yet question we should.

I am a Christian; I believe those things written in the Bible. Still, many Christians confuse Jesus’ relationship to God, or more specifically the Son’s relationship to the Father. We often hear Christians pray to Jesus, asking Jesus for blessings and forgiveness of sins. This is common in Christian culture, yet in point of fact, praying to Jesus is unheard of in scripture.

A possible exception is at the end of Acts 7, when Stephen is being martyred. At the moment before his execution by stoning commences, he sees a vision of Jesus “standing at the right hand of God;” and, while being stoned “as he was calling on God and saying ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’” Yet is Stephen really praying to Jesus here? Or is he praying to God, upon whose right hand Jesus sits, and who has sent Jesus before him to receive Stephen’s spirit?

The beginnings and endings to the epistles that comprise most of the New Testament often incorporate words of prayer, sometimes as in Romans chapter 1, where Paul writes, “First, I thank God through Jesus Christ for you all,” concluding in chapter 16 with, “to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” At the beginning of Colossians Paul writes in verse 3, “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Peter writes towards the beginning of 1 Peter, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” distinguishing and separating God and Jesus. But in the first verse of 2 Peter he writes, “to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ,” identifying Jesus as God, before saying in the very next verse, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord,” distinguishing them again.

Peter is not offering prayer in 2 Peter, but regardless, this is perhaps where some confusion enters in. And it would take someone much more educated in the ancient scriptural languages than I to say what is and is not lost in translation. But it is not my argument that Jesus is not God. I do believe that Jesus is God. The question is, in what sense?

For God the Father is described as acting through Jesus, and we are described as reaching God the Father through Jesus.

But in all cases, Jesus’ power, should you believe in it, is derived from the Father and not from Christ himself. For proof of that we need do no more than consult the words of Jesus, who said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me.” (John 12:44). Thus Jesus himself draws the distinction.

Eddie Griffin made a Jesus joke once, one of the few I had to like, impersonating Jesus’ reaction to those who pray to him personally for blessings, saying “no, no, no … that’s Pop’s job.”

Ultimately the difficulty is definitional. The Bible clearly shows that God and Jesus are one. In this the Father and Son are one, and both are God, or facets of him. But many define the word “one” as the word “same” when these words have different definitions. Jesus is God as my face is me. You speak to me through my face, and in that my face and I are one. It is a part of me. But remove it from me and it is no longer me. It is merely animated by what I am.

God hears prayer regardless. But this issue is not a theological trifle. It is spiritually important in moving Christians away from treating God as a blessings ATM and towards living a sanctified existence. For our relationship to Jesus according to scripture is not to ask him for anything as the source of power, for he unto himself is not. It is to imitate his perfect submission to the Father, becoming one with him and Jesus, to receive the salvation that the Father has wrought through his Son’s sacrifice on the cross.

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  • RameshZee

    Very Interesting point of view.

    All religions point to the One Creator. That thought would unite humanity.
    But some of their followers very aggressively drive the point to offer our prayers to their son, or the messenger. And this is what causes division in society….

    • Kamil Shaikh

      A subtle right point of view, because you conclude saying that Jesus is not to be worshiped but still you agree to believe that Jesus is GOD. You contradict to your own statements. You try to justify this by an analogy of “My face is me, take the face off and the ‘Me’ doesn’t make sense’. This sounds really absurd to me because if in compariosion to your analogy if Jesus (pbuh) was the face of GOD then during his existence on this earth The GOD was was inexistence in the Heaven. This is not acceptable because when you think on this as a mere human being( who believes to be created by one GOD. The GOD, same for Christians, Muslims and any other being in this universe) and not just as a Christian (who believes in the concept of trinity. The concept introduced by the churches and not at all by Jesus(pbuh) it doesn’t justifies or qualifies Jesus (pbuh) to be GOD. Jesus (pbuh) was the prophet/messenger ( like the prophets before him, Adam, Noah, David, Abraham, Moses, peace be upon them all) sent by GOD. There are four statements which qualifies one to be GOD in the entire universe and beyond it.
      1) He is only one, and only one.
      2) He is eternal and absolute.
      3) He has no Son and he is Son to none.
      4) There is non/nothing like him, not a bit.

      I would request you to watch vedios of Dr. Zakir Naik on YouTube, explaining who is Jesus.

      Thanks and Regards,
      Kamil Shaikh

      • Skeptic NY

        I would request a few things. 1) Empirical testable evidence that a god or gods exist and 2) empirical testable evidence that this – as of yet unproven god – is the god you describe at the exclusion of all other claimed gods. It says so in the Qur’an or it says so in the Bible or my ancient ancestors thousands of years ago said so is not evidence. I’ve heard Dr. Naik speak and it’s basically the same as what Christians say “it says so in my ancient book therefore it’s true”. That – flawed illogical intolerant circular reasoning – my friend is the root cause of most of the misery in the world.

  • Jonathan Leibowitz

    As part of its war against Christianity, Obama’s marxist regime has actively obstructed Christians from National Day of Prayer events.

  • Adam Pastor

    Jesus is indeed Lord however he is certainly not Almighty GOD!
    As confirmed by Philippians 2.11:

    And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, TO THE GLORY OF GOD THE FATHER.

    And as you rightfully pointed out, Mr. Wood, “praying to Jesus is unheard of in scripture;” this is confirmed by the fact that Jesus, our Lord and Master, taught us how to pray – he taught us to pray to the ONE GOD his Father. [Luke 11.1ff; Matthew 6.9ff]

    I assume you are quoting from the King James Version Bible (or the NKJV). Therefore, take another look at Acts 7:59. You will see that the word ‘God’ is actually in italics. This denotes that this word was added to the English text – i.e. the Greek word for ‘God’ is not in the Greek text of this verse. The English translators added the word ‘God’ hence the reason for the italics.

    So we really have “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

    Of course, in this context, Stephen is actually seeing Jesus, the Son of man, at the right hand of Almighty God, and therefore he is speaking to Jesus.

    So what is Stephen’s testimony? Acts 7.55-56 :- But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

    So Stephen indeed saw the glory of the ONE GOD and he also saw the ‘man’ Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2.5) at the right hand of GOD in fulfillment of Psalm 110.1

    Jesus is literally GOD’s right hand man (Psalm 80.17).

    So Peter who clearly confessed Jesus as both ‘Lord & Christ’ (Acts 2.36) never ever called Jesus ‘GOD’

    If there was any doubt about Peter’s theology one only had to look at verses 16 and 17 of the aforementioned 2 Peter Chapter 1 i.e.

    2 Pet. 1.16-17 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of “our Lord Jesus Christ”, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from
    “God the Father” honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him “from the excellent glory”, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

    Peter clearly sees Jesus as both Lord and Christ, and identifies the ONE GOD the Father as ‘the excellent glory’ from whom Jesus, the Son of the ONE GOD, had to receive honor and glory!

    Clearly Peter does not believe that Jesus is Almighty God. So 2 Pet 1:1 is speaking of the righteousness that comes from BOTH God AND Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Savior.

    And of course 1 Peter 1.3 clearly reflects Peter’s theology as also confirmed by Paul (2 Cor. 11.31, Eph 1.3, Rom. 15.6, 2 Cor 1.3, Col 1.3)

    The ONE GOD is both the GOD and Father of Jesus the Christ our Lord.

    The Bible indeed shows that God and Jesus are one. They are one in the sense of unity and purpose. Our Lord Jesus goes on to pray that his followers be ‘one even as he and the Father are one’
    (John 17.11,21-23)

    And lastly, it should be evident that the immortal GOD cannot die (1 Tim 1.17, 6.16).

    So in conclusion, to us (Christians) :-

    there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him;

    and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
    (1 Cor. 8.6)

    For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
    (1 Timothy 2.5)

  • You say the “The Bible clearly shows that God and Jesus are one” but when reading the Bible I can only see the opposite except when God and Jesus would not be telling the truth on several occasions.

    • jaydeon02

      You’re just using good common sense and even if biblical writers and Jesus said that he was God, they’re wrong. I once had a stupit preacher tell me when I asked him who spoke from heaven saying, “you are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” the preacher told me it was Jesus voice boomeranging back to him from heaven. Some people will say anything to justify their misguided belief.

      • You seem to think I consider Jesus to be God but I am just indicating that the Bible clearly shows that he is Not God, but the son of God, like you and I are also sons of God and sons of man. The only thing Jesus is the only begotten beloved son of God because God placed him in a special way in the womb of the young woman Miriam (Mary, Maria)