Read: John 5:18-29
“I believe in Jesus, but I think He was just a good moral teacher.” “Jesus never really said He was God. People just misunderstood Him.” I’ve heard these arguments against the divinity of Christ many times, but they’ve never made sense to me.
When we read the New Testament, we see that Jesus made many claims that He was God. In this passage, Jesus claims power over two main things that Jews considered to only be in the power of God. Jesus claims the power over death, the power to raise people to life (v. 21), and the power of judgment (v. 22).
He also describes the differences between Himself and His Father. Both are equal. Both are, together with the Holy Spirit, one God. But at the same time, they have differences. In today’s passage, Jesus is saying that He subjects himself to the Father, as a son to a father. As a son imitates his father, so Jesus does the things he sees his Father doing.
In v. 24 Jesus says, “Whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgement, but has passed from death to life.” He foreshadows His message in chapter 14 that He is the way, the truth, and the life. It is only through hearing His word and believing in Him that eternal life can be gained. What’s more, He clearly says that this journey is from death to life. It is not good to bad, but dead to living. He says again in v. 25 that the voice of the Son of God goes out to those who are dead (those who do not believe in Him), and only those who hear can have life which He will give. Here Jesus is claiming that the power He possesses can only be that of God Himself. He very clearly draws a line in the sand, saying that if you believe in Him you will have eternal life, and if not, you will remain dead in your sins.
A person who was merely a good moral leader would not be able to honestly make this claim. In his book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis responds to this doubt by saying that Jesus’ life and teaching leave three options: He was a liar leading people astray, He was mentally unstable, or He was and is Lord of all.
Where do you stand? Which do you believe about Jesus? Take time today to think and pray through this question. Even if you have already committed yourself to Christ as Lord, take time to acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior of your life.