The God-man: Fully God (According to His Deeds)
The following is an edited transcript of the TheoTalk episode with the same title.
People often associate Jesus with his miracles. And rightly so.
In Luke 4, Jesus affirmed he was God’s Messiah by quoting from and applying to himself a Messianic prophecy from Isaiah 61, which declared that when Messiah came, he would conquer the curse of sin and its effects. And so, through his restorative, renewing, healing miracles, Jesus demonstrated he was who he claimed to be: God’s Messiah; the King who had come to reestablish God’s righteous reign upon the Earth. But he also showed he was something more.
Though God had, throughout history, called others to perform miracles in his name, and though Jesus performed miracles through the power of the Holy Spirit, a handful of Jesus’s miracles demonstrate he possessed a divine authority no mere prophet or representative of God could. They show Jesus possessed within himself the capacity to do what only God could do. In this lesson, we’ll consider two of these miracles.
The first takes place in Mark 2, as Jesus is healing people in a home that became so crowded, so packed with people, nobody else could get in, at least not through the front door. So the friends of a paralyzed man who really wanted him to be healed by Jesus hauled him onto the roof of the house, cut a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down.
…when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic “son, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there questioning in their hearts. Why does this man speak like this? He is blaspheming. Who can forgive sins, but God alone?(Mark 2:5-7, ESV)
This is a fair question. After all, only the one who is sinned against can forgive another’s sin against him; which means, by claiming to forgive this man’s sins against God, Jesus was claiming to be God himself. Look what happens next:
and immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier to say to the paralytic, “your sins are forgiven” or to say, “rise, take up your bed and walk. (Mark 2:8-11, ESV)
In a sense, this is a trick question from Jesus, designed to make sure they didn’t miss what he was doing and, therefore, who he was. Notice Jesus didn’t challenge their assertion that only God can forgive sins, because that’s true. But, at the same time, he wanted them to recognize that the only one who has authority to forgive sins (God) is also the only one with the authority to remove the consequences of sin’s curse; for example, this man’s paralysis, which wasn’t the result of a specific sin he committed, but mankind’s fall in Eden.
And so, proving that he, himself had authority on earth to forgive sins as only God can, Jesus turned to the man he had just forgiven and said to him, “rise, pick up your bed and go home.” So this man went away healed, not only physically, but, more importantly, spiritually, since his sins had been forgiven by the God-man, Savior-King who possessed, as only God does, complete authority over sin and its effects.
A second miracle pointing to Jesus’s deity takes place in John 11, where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, after declaring he had, within himself the power to do so, something only God could claim. And yet, Jesus says in John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In other words, I myself am the source of life. Therefore, he continues into verse 26, ”Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live. And everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”
Then, to back up his remarkable claim to be the source of life, after praying to the Father, whose life giving nature Jesus embodies, and whose bidding he always does, Jesus cried out with a loud voice in verse 43, “Lazarus, come out!” So, we see in verse 44, “…the man who had died came out and was alive again.” All and only because Jesus, the God-man, Savior-King, who possesses life in his being as only God does, called this dead man to live again.
In do doing, Jesus demonstrated He truly was/is “Immanuel,” “God with us,” the God who became one of us to lift us from our fall, restore to us a right relationship with him, and reestablish God’s righteous reign upon the Earth.
Next time, we’ll get a taste of how the New Testament apostles affirm with the Old Testament, together with the words and deeds of Jesus, that he was and is the one-and-only God-man, Savior-King, who came to make us and all things new.