Four Thoughts on the Deity of Christ in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospels


by Rob Lundberg

Internet debates.  You gotta love them! (Not really).  Every so often you will get a person in a social media thread for a news line rail out and try and bash a believer’s Christian faith about the authenticity of the Bible.  No matter what line you are responding on to skeptics and “egg breaker’s” challenges, someone is bound to say that the gospel writers were not the original writers or that Jesus’ deity is a fabrication that came well after the gospels were written. 

With church and culture going in the direction that they are going, we are seeing challenges to Jesus’ deity in the gospels from both corners of the dialogue. Even the false teachers coming out of the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement that would say that Jesus forfeited his deity to be obedient to the will of the Father. In other words, some teachers state that Jesus was fully human but was not God while in his earthly life; but was obedient to the will of the Father.[1]

With the fact that all three of the Synoptic Gospel writers address different audiences[2] they also harmonize with one another in the accounts. For the purposes of this post, allow me to share four points showing Jesus being fully God in these three gospels.

Jesus forgave sins.  We know that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22. Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary was the final payment for the sins of those who would trust in Him. But Jesus also forgave sins.  We see this in Mark’s gospel (circa AD 52), “When Jesus saw their faith He said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, ‘Why does this fellow take like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:5-7).  Jesus’ critics show enemy attestation[3], declaring His deity by forgiving the sins of the paralytic.

Jesus spoke in the context of the same authority as YHWH.  Someone declaring themselves to be God leads to interesting conclusions. One might think a regular human being making such a claim as delusional or disturbed. The Jews back in the New Testament times thought the same thing.  The Old Testament prophets prefaced their remarks by saying “The Lord says.” Jesus taught by saying “I say.” Seventy times, in the gospels, Jesus taught by saying, “Truly, truly. . . .” many times pertaining to heavenly, spiritual or godly issues.  In those instances, He demonstrated that he knows what God the Father knows. Please see Matthew 18:3; Mark 3:28; Luke 23:43.

Jesus performed miracles on His own authority. We see that in the Old Testament, miracle workers would ascribe a miracle they performed to God.  The power of God would be upon the Old Testament prophet and God would work His miracle power through the man. In the Gospel of Matthew, we see Jesus on His way to heal the centurions’ servant, Jesus said, “I will go and heal him.” Matthew 8:5-7  We know that only God heals. If Jesus healed on His own authority, Jesus is ________?  G-O-D

Jesus did things God did. God in the Old Testament performed miracles.  A miracle is an act of God, conveying a message from God that points to His existence. Jesus performed miracles of healing, multiplying food, raising the dead, as well as other types of miracles,  But in Luke 8:22, we see Jesus exercising His power over nature, by calming the storm. Only God can do that.  We see this also in the Old Testament in  Psalm 107:28-30 which describes the Lord rescuing merchants caught in a storm.  In calming the storm in the gospel accounts, Jesus implies His deity with His actions.

Conclusion.

While I am not a total secessionist with regards to the gifts, I do believe that there is a context where God works miracles and works through the person. Jesus was fully God and fully man in His earthly ministry.  Jesus never emptied Himself of His deity but being God in human flesh, took on flesh to be one of us. Can He use us to do something like what He did?  Possibly.  But there are no healing ministries today. Much of the alleged healing that goes on in crusades today, from the research after the event, are psychosomatic. That is not to say that God cannot heal today, but when He does, He gets the glory, not the showman or his/her ministry.

Jesus is fully God and fully man, as I just mentioned. The gospel writers were eyewitnesses and received some of their information from other eyewitnesses in Herod’s court who saw and were impacted by Jesus.
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Notes

[1] Bill Johnson from Bethel Redding embraces this heresy, writing for Charisma Magazine Bill Johnson explains, “While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divine powers and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God. If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us. Jesus is the only model for us to follow.” 

This statement by Johnson demonstrates a lack of understanding for apprehending the kenotic passage in Philippians 2:5-11. Johnson in just this statement alone is committing heresy by denying Jesus is fully God and fully man in His earthly life.

[2] One scholar makes an emotional issue on how the gospels may conflict with one another using the analogy of how a husband and a wife may describe certain events. This is a faulty analogy due to the fact that each of the gospels writers, to include John, wrote to different audiences.  Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience, Mark to a Roman audience and Luke to a Greek audience.  John’s gospel addressed the life and work of Jesus on a global scale by demonstrating His miracles.

[3] Enemy attestation according to Gary Habermas and Michael Licona is when we have the following scenario, “If testimony affirming an event or saying is given by a source who does not sympathize with the person, message, or cause that profits from the account, we have an indication of authenticity.” Please see, Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 37-38.

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Rob is a blogger, writer and public speaker with a love for equipping believers using apologetics, sharing the truth of Christ with the lost, and openly welcomes questions and objections from those that are genuinely seeking truth. 


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