The Deity of Jesus (Part 2)
June 5, 2018
by Peter Amsterdam
The Deity of Jesus (Part 2)
The first part of this series focused on how the glory and honor given in the New Testament to Jesus is the same as that given to God the Father. We worship, pray to, love, and obey Jesus in the same way we do so in our devotion to God.
This article will focus on attributes of God that are incommunicable, which in theology means that only God possesses them. There are many attributes of God that we, as human beings, share—though not in absolute fullness as God does. For example, God is love. While our essence isn’t love in the same sense that God’s is, we do love others, so we share a modicum of that attribute. However, there are three “omni” attributes which belong to God alone: omnipotence (God is all-powerful), omnipresence (God is present everywhere), and omniscience (God is all-knowing). We as humans don’t possess these attributes, but Jesus does.
Both the Old and New Testaments make reference to God as all-powerful and able to do anything that is consistent with His nature. God can’t lie, be tempted to sin, or deny Himself, because these things are contrary to His nature. He can’t do things which are logically impossible, such as making a square circle or making two plus two equal five. They are logically impossible because they would be contrary to the fixed laws that He created. However, anything that is logically or actually possible, God can do. He has unlimited authority and infinite power, and He can do all that He chooses to do.
His omnipotent power is referred to over and over in Scripture. Some examples are:
I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?2
The LORD does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.3
He does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth.4
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.5
We see the ultimate power of God in His act of creation.
I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself.6
Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him! For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.7
Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.8
You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything.9
Jesus said, With God all things are possible.10
Of course, Jesus’ birth was another expression of God’s omnipotence. Mary, Jesus’ mother, conceived a child without a human father.
The birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.11
God’s unlimited power was seen in His raising Jesus from the dead:
The immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.12
Jesus’ omnipotence is evidenced in His miracles, as He had the power to heal the sick, calm storms, walk on water, and raise the dead. While we’re told that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead, Jesus stated:
I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.13
The Father gave Jesus the authority to take up His life again.
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son gives life to whom he will.14
Throughout the New Testament, we read of the power and authority Jesus has.
Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”15
The apostle Peter wrote of Jesus, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.16
The apostle Paul wrote:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.17
Jesus, like His Father, is omnipotent.
Scripture teaches that God is present everywhere, that God is capable of being everywhere at the same time, and that His presence encompasses the whole of the universe. As such, He is free from all limitations of space and distance.
Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the LORD. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the LORD.19
Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.20
David asks rhetorically if there is any place where one can escape from the presence of God, and the answer is no. God is not limited by space, for if one goes to heaven or Sheol—which indicate places outside of physical space—God is there. His presence is everywhere at all times.
We read of God being present to individuals:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.21
Thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.22
He is also everywhere and in every situation at every time:
The LORD looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth.23
The same is said of Jesus. When He walked the earth, His earthly presence was limited to where His physical body was, but even then we see references to His omnipresence. Some Bible commentators write that during His time on earth He didn’t exercise His full power of omnipresence, but did manifest His ability to act in places that were distant from His physical location. For example, He healed the centurion’s servant without physically traveling to the centurion’s house to heal the man.24 He cast out a demon from the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman from a distance as well.25 When He first met Nathanael, He said:
“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”26
Jesus promised His disciples that after His ascension to heaven, He would continue to be with them.
Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.27
He also said:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”28
For Jesus to be present in every place, wherever two or three believers gather together, or to be with all believers on earth until the rapture, infers omnipresence.
The apostle Paul repeatedly referred to Christ being within believers.
Do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?29
It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.30
[I pray] that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.31
Christ in you, the hope of glory.32
Jesus’ presence is everywhere, and most wonderfully within us who believe. As the Father is omnipresent, so is Jesus.
God is not only all-powerful and present everywhere, He also is omniscient—He knows everything. Scripture expresses this in verses such as:
Great is our Lord, and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.34
He knows the secrets of the heart.35
He knows everything.36
He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.37
No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.38
Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.39
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.40
I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.41
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.42
Within the Gospels and the Epistles we read of Jesus displaying omniscience. He knew things which He couldn’t have naturally known, such as knowing that Lazarus had died before receiving notice of the event.43 He knew that the woman at the well had been married five times, though He had just met her.44 He spoke of future events which then came to pass. For example, He said that Judas Iscariot would betray Him.45 He told Peter that he would deny Him three times—to which Peter protested that he never would, yet he did.46 Jesus knew in advance that He would be arrested and crucified.47
Jesus also knew that before a generation passed, Rome would destroy the temple.
As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”48 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.49
Within about 35 years, Roman soldiers completely destroyed the temple.
We also read that Jesus knew what people were thinking:
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?”50
Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 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?”51
Twice toward the end of the Gospel of John we read that His disciples understood that Jesus knew everything.
“Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.”52
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”53
As the Father is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, so too is Jesus.
(To be continued in Part Three.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scriptures are from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
2 Jeremiah 32:27.
3 Psalm 135:6 NIV.
4 Daniel 4:35.
5 Job 42:2.
6 Isaiah 44:24.
7 Psalm 33:8–9.
8 Jeremiah 32:17.
9 Nehemiah 9:6 NIV.
10 Matthew 19:26.
11 Matthew 1:18.
12 Ephesians 1:19–20.
13 John 10:17–18.
14 John 5:19–21.
15 Matthew 28:18.
16 1 Peter 3:22.
17 Colossians 1:15–19.
19 Jeremiah 23:24.
20 Psalm 139:7–10.
21 Psalm 46:1.
22 Isaiah 57:15.
23 Psalm 33:13–14.
24 Matthew 8:5–9, 13.
25 Mark 7:25–30.
26 John 1:47–48.
27 Matthew 18:20.
28 Matthew 28:19–20.
29 2 Corinthians 13:5.
30 Galatians 2:20.
31 Ephesians 3:17.
32 Colossians 1:27.
34 Psalm 147:5 NAS.
35 Psalm 44:21.
36 1 John 3:20.
37 Job 28:24.
38 Hebrews 4:13.
39 Psalm 139:4.
40 Isaiah 40:28.
41 Isaiah 46:9–10.
42 Romans 11:33–36.
43 John 11:11–15.
44 John 4:16–18.
45 Matthew 26:20–25.
46 Matthew 26:34–35, 69–74.
47 Matthew 16:21.
48 Mark 13:1–2.
49 Mark 13:30.
50 Matthew 9:4.
51 Mark 2:6–8. See also Luke 6:8.
52 John 16:30.
53 John 21:17.