One of the common misconceptions about Jesus is that He never claimed to be God, and that the Jews never believed the Messiah would be “God”. The reality is neither of those assumptions are true.
The part about Jesus claiming to be God is easy to demonstrate from the Scripture, since Jesus took the name of God for Himself, made Himself “equal with God” in the eyes of the Jews, accepted worship as only God was allowed, and forgave sins as only God could. In the eyes of the people around Him, Jesus clearly made Himself out to be God, and they specifically tried to kill Him for it a few times.
However, I’ve always believed (because I heard a rabbi say this once) that the Jews never looked for the Messiah to be Divine.
Turns out that isn’t exactly accurate either. The Essenes were expecting it. And here is a link I found describing it. (Take note the reference to Melchizedek, corresponds to the teaching about Jesus in the New Testament book of Hebrews).
Although the Bible never uses the term, and never sets aside any passage to explain it, the idea of the “Trinity” has been a pretty key doctrine for Christianity for a long time. It can be found in various early creeds and teachings, and basically explains that God is one God, but revealed to mankind as three: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit.
Arguments are made by some that Jesus never claimed to be God, but in fact, according to the Bible He did several times and did so in unmistakable ways. He took the name of God for Himself, He claimed the power of God for Himself, He claimed the authority of God for Himself, and flat out said He was equal with God in clear enough terms that many of those present tried to kill Him for blasphemy. So clear is the teaching in the Bible that Jesus is God, the Jehovah Witnesses -who do not believe in the Trinity- went to the trouble to develop their own Bible, which specifically has changed the passages of the New Testament dealing with Jesus as God. It is accurate to say then, that the Bible presents Jesus as God, with the lone exception being the version of the Bible printed by the Jehovah Witnesses in 1961.
Muslims and Jews would simply claim this is a heresy to the truth. Both the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament), and the Qur’an teach that God is one God. So does Christianity of course, but Christians believe in the Trinity, which adds that God is also three. On the surface it is contradictory, but in the expression and understanding of God, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wouldn’t believe in any other way. Continue reading “The Trinity: It’s the Whole Point”