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Does Jesus claim to be God in the synoptics?

Postby Goodell » Wed Nov 01, 2023 2:58 pm

Does Jesus claim to be God in the synoptic Gospels?

I was listening to a Bart Ehrman interview and he said no to this question. Jesus apparently claims to be the Son of Man and the Messiah (anointed one) in the synoptics, both of which do not explicitly indicate divinity. I know these can be interpreted to mean God, but I’m asking about unequivocal claims. (I know in John he makes specific claims of being God.)

Re: Does Jesus claim to be God in the synoptics?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Nov 18, 2023 9:39 pm

I know that Ehrman is the "go-to" for anyone who wants to discredit Scripture. Even though he's a formidable scholar, I think his bias often takes over his objectivity.

I am studying Matthew right now. Matthew portrays Jesus as the Messiah from God, the true king, the Son of God, who has come to do the Father’s will in the power of the Holy Spirit. As part of that I did a study of Matthew's perspective on the deity of Jesus (I'm only up to chapter 8 so far). Does Matthew believe and write that Jesus is God? Here's what I found (and please, study and evaluate this yourself; I'm curious what you think):

    1. Matthew 1.18: Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This could be an indication that the idea behind this is that Jesus shares the divine essence.
    2. Matthew 1.23: Immanuel. Jesus is identified as “God with us.” Immanuel is not to be a name for Jesus, but rather to describe who He is: God in the flesh, living among us.
    3. John the Baptist is sent to prepare the way for Jesus (Mt. 3.3). The prophecy comes from Isaiah, and this person is preparing the way for “the Lord,” who is YHWH. Therefore Jesus is being presented as YHWH.
    4. Mt. 3.10: “The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” In the Bible, God is the one who will judge humanity; Jesus is presented as that judge, and therefore God.
    5. Matthew 3.11: Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. Jesus is the one who will create life in people and come to live inside them. He is the Lord who will judge humanity.
    6. Matthew 3.17. Remember that there is no one who is completely good except God (Mt. 19.17). When God the Father says, “with Him I am well pleased,” He is also saying Jesus is good. Therefore Jesus and the Father are of the same essence.
    7. Matthew portrays Jesus as the rightful king of Heaven (the kingdom of Heaven references and parables), implying He’s the King of Heaven, YHWH.
    8. The leper kneels before Jesus in Mt. 8.2. Joshua Leim writes, “It is too anemic to perceive Matthew as implying mere respect or obeisance. Instead, these (8.2; 9.18; 15.25; 20.20) offer depictions of true worship, forging a unity between 2.1-2 and 28.9, 17, where Jesus is the Son of the Father but is due the same worship that legitimately belongs to God alone.”

So, what do you think?

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