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Ryan Sim - June 8, 2015
Day 22 – Jesus Claimed to be God in Human Flesh
From Series: "Christianity 101"
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Yes, Jesus claimed to be god. That is a claim that no other leader of a major world religion has made.
Jesus didn’t go around standing on street corners shouting, I am God in language that plain and simple, but when you look at what he taught and claimed, he was conscious of, and claiming to be God in some more subtle ways.
And he was subtle for good reasons.
In the Jewish culture of his day, saying he was God would have been considered blasphemy – a crime punishable by death.
So he showed it in all sorts of interesting ways:
- Spoke of himself using “I AM” sayings – a deliberate hint to the Jewish name of God – Yahweh, which means “I am”
- Said he was one with the Father
- Said he was the Son of God.
- Said he had the power to forgive sins
- Said he was greater than the temple – the most important place of worship for the Jews,
- In the gospel of Mark, Jesus is asked directly by some religious leaders “Are you the Christ (anointed one), the Son of the Blessed One ?” Jesus said “I am …”
- And more.
All at great risk to his own hide.
Jesus was making an incredible claim, claiming to be God incarnate—which means God in the flesh or as a teen once said in a way only teens can: “God in a bod”.
The word Christians have traditionally used is God “incarnate” – God in the flesh.
I once heard someone explain the incarnation (the claim that Jesus is actually God in the flesh) this way. Some of you may remember the cartoon Calvin and Hobbes.
Well, Calvin is a little 5 year old boy, named after the great 16th century theologian John Calvin and Hobbes is the stuffed tiger named after the British philosopher and they are always having these philosophical discussions about life and the universe. And so one day these two cartoon characters start asking themselves how they got inside the cartoon strip.
And so Calvin says, “Gee I wonder how we got here in the first place, living in two dimensions, and speaking in speech bubbles.” And Hobbes says well my bet is that there was giant ink bottle in the sky that spilled over one day and the drops of ink fell randomly on some paper and here we are.”
“You’ve got to be joking” says Calvin “No way—we are too intricate a cartoon strip to just be the product of a random ink spill—there must be a master cartoonist who though us up and wanted to draw us.” “That’s ridiculous” says Hobbes “you’ve got no proof.” And so they go back and forth.
Outside the cartoon strip is Jim Waterson the cartoonist and he thinks listening to this conversation—how can I let them know that I exist and that I drew them. If I tried to enter the cartoon strip in my three dimensions and spoke English, that would totally blow them up—it just wouldn’t work.
So what I am going to do is I am going to draw myself into the cartoon. I am going to limit myself to 2 dimensions and I am going to speak in speech bubbles so they can understand me and know that I am the cartoonist and that I drew them.” And so this is what he did.
This is an illustration of the incarnation—the coming to earth of God in human flesh, in the man Jesus, so that we could come to know who God is. This is the first claim that Jesus makes about himself.
Question: Why do you think God came to earth in human flesh? Why not just appear as a spirit, voice from heaven, or otherwise?