The Divinity of Jesus Christ, In Scripture and in his own words.

110513I have mentioned before that many years ago in seminary I was quite surprised to listen to some of my professors declare what I considered to be heretical things about Jesus Christ. They often said, he did not claim to be God, or he did not know he was God.

When I might meekly suggest a certain biblical text that more than suggested he darn well knew he was divine they seemed unimpressed and invoked dubious theories that denied the biblical text was a credible source.

Thankfully I had some other professors who were able to reassure me that the Divinity of Christ was not in question and that the Scriptures accurately what reported what Jesus himself actually said and did. It still shocked me that teachers who denied or questioned the divinity of Christ could openly teach in a Catholic seminary and am happy to report that those problems have long since been cleared up at the seminary I attended.

Yet, I must say, I am still bothered to hear that some college students still have to endure this sort of heresy, it is especially grievous to me that some of this still goes on at Catholic Colleges.

Never one to simply collapse under pressure or discouragement I took up the challenge to assemble the Biblical evidence as to Jesus’ Divinity. It is remarkably rich and consistent throughout all the New Testament Books as you shall see. In this article I give the scripture citations for the most part but cannot include most of the texts in the article since they are so numerous that they would eclipse the article itself. Perhaps at some point in the future I will publish a version with all the citations spelled out. For now, let these suffice to show forth a glorious scriptural affirmation of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

1. Clearly this is a dogma of the Faith (de Fide). The divinity and divine sonship of Jesus is expressed in all the creeds. This is perhaps most clearly stated in the Athanasian Creed (Quicumque):”…we believe and confess that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is God and man. He is God begotten of the substance of the Father before all ages and man born in time of the substance of His Mother. He is Perfect God and perfect man.”

2. There are many passages in the Old Testament that express the qualities of the coming Messiah, among them are some very exalted titles:

  • a prophet – (Dt. 18:15,18)
  • a priest – (Psalm 109:4)
  • a shepherd – (Ez 34:23ff)
  • King and Lord – (Ps 2; Ps 44; Ps 109; Zach 9:9)
  • a suffering servant – (Is. 53)
  • the Son of God – (Ps 2:7; 109:3)
  • God with us (Emmanuel) – (Is 7:14; Is 8:8)
  • Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Father of the world to come, Prince of Peace – (Is 9:6)
  • Eternal King – (Dan 7:14)

3. In the New Testament the Father attests to the Divine Sonship of Jesus – (Mt 3:17; 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lk 3:22; 9:35; Jn 1:34; II Pt 1:17)

4. In the Gospels the Lord Jesus gives Testimony to His own divinity and self knowledge. He is of noble stature and knows of his own dignity and power expressing it often in the following ways

  • Jesus indicates that he transcends the prophets and Kings of the Old Covenant
    • Jonah and Solomon – (Mt 12:41ff; Lk 11:31ff)
    • Moses and Elijah – Matt 17:3; Mk 9:4; Lk 9:30
    • King David – (Mt 22:43ff Mk 12:36; Lk 20:42ff)
    • He says that the least born into His Kingdom will be greater than John the Baptist who, till that time was considered the greatest man born of woman – (Mt 11:11; Lk 7:28)
  • Jesus teaches that he is superior to the angels:
    • That they are his servants who minister to Him – (Mt 4:11 Mk 1:13; Lk 4:13)
    • That they are his army – (Mt 26:53)
    • That they will accompany him at his second coming and do his will -Mt 16:27; 25:31; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26)
  • Jesus appropriates Divine actions unto himself and thus sets forth an assimilation unto the Lord God:
    • He declares it was He who sent the prophets and doctors of the Law (Mt 23:34; Lk 11:49)
    • He gives the promise of his assistance and Grace (Lk 21:15)
    • He forgives sins which power belongs to God alone (eg Mt 9:2)
    • He, by His own authority completes and changes some precepts of the Law. (Mt 5:21ff)
    • He declares Himself to be Lord of the Sabbath (Mt 12:8; Mk 2:28; Lk 6:5; Jn 5:17)
    • Like the Heavenly Father he makes a Covenant with His followers (Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20)
  • Jesus makes Divine demands upon his followers
    • He rebukes some for lack of faith in (Mt 8:10-12; 15:28)
    • He rewards faith in him (Mt 8:13; 9:2; 22:29; 15:28; Mk 10:52; Lk 7:50; 17:19)
    • He demands faith in his own person (Jn 14:1; 5:24; 6:40,47; 8:51; 11:25ff)
    • He teaches that rejection of him and his teachings will be the standard of final judgement (Lk 9:26; Mt 11:6)
    • Jesus demands supreme Love for him which surpasses all earthly loves (Mt 10:37,39; Lk 17:33).
    • He accepts religious veneration by allowing the veneration of falling to the feet: this is due to God alone (Mt 15:25; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 28:9,17)
  • Jesus is well conscious of His own power – Mt 28:18
    • His many miracles which he works in his own Name.
    • He transfers this power to his disciples
  • Jesus knows and teaches that his own death will be an adequate atonement for the forgiveness of the sins of the whole human race. (Mt 20:28; 26:28)
  • Jesus appropriates to himself the office of Judge of the world which according to the OT (eg Ps 49:1-6) God would exercise (eg Mt 16:27) . And His judgement extends to every idle word (Mt 12:36), will be final and executed immediately – (Mt 25:46)
  • Jesus is Conscious of being the Son of God.
    • Jesus clearly distinguishes his claim in this regard from his disciples relationship to the Father. When he speaks of his own relationship he says, “My Father” To the disciples he calls God, “Your Father” but, He never unites himself with them in the formula “Our Father” Thus a distinction is maintained. (Jn 20:17)
    • Jesus revealed himself to be Son of God first in the temple when he remarked to Mary and Joseph that He must be about his Father’s business (Lk 2:49)
    • Jesus claims to be both messiah and Son of God in the presence of the Sanhedrin (Mk 14:62). The Sanhedrin perceive this as a blasphemy.
    • Jesus tells a story of himself in the Parable of the Evil Husbandmen thus confessing himself to be the only Son of God.
    • He is aware of being one with the Father (“The Father and I are one.” (Jn 10:30,38) They Jews respond by accusing Him of blasphemy
  • Jesus indicates in John’s Gospel that
    • He is eternal “Before Abraham was I am” (Jn 8:58)
    • That He has full knowledge of the Father (Jn 7:29; 8:55;10:14ff)
    • He has equal power and efficacy with the Father (Jn 5:17)
    • He can forgive sins (Jn 8:11 et sicut supra)
    • He is Judge of the World (Jn 5:22,27 & sicut supra)
    • He is rightly to be adored (Jn 5:23)
    • He is the light of the world (Jn 8:12)
    • He is the way, the truth and the light (Jn 14:6)
    • His disciples may and ought to pray to the Father in His name, additionally they may to Him (Jesus) (Jn 14:13ff 16:23ff)
    • The solemn confession of the Apostle Thomas “My Lord and my God.” is acceptable and in fact, an act of Faith (Jn 20:28)
  • Other Scripture Passages on the Divinity of Christ
    • I John 5:20 – “And we know that the Son of God is Come and has given us Understanding that we may know the true God and may be in His True Son; this is the True God and Life Eternal.”
    • John 1:1-14 “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…..”
    • Phil 2:5-11 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped…and every tongue must confess to the Glory of God the Father that Jesus Chirst is Lord.
    • Rom 9:5 – “to them, (the Israelites) belong the patriarchs and of their race, according to the flesh is the Christ, who is God over all blessed for ever.”
    • Titus 2:13 “Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”
    • Heb 1:8 – “But to the Son (God says): Your Throne, O God is for ever and ever.”
  • In addition Scripture attributes Divine qualities to Jesus
    • Omnipotence manifest in the creation and the conservation of the World – Col 1:15-17; I Cor 8:6; Heb 1:2ff
    • Omniscience – Col 2:3 – In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge….
    • Eternity – Col 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together
    • Immutability – Heb 1:12; 13:8
    • Adorability – Phil 2:10; Heb 1:6

Well I hope you get the point. Those who claim that Jesus didn’t know he was God or never made divine claims just haven’t read the Scriptures. He is Lord. He is God. All things came to be through him and he holds all creation together in himself. Those who have denied his divinity will one day fall to their faces before his glory (Rev. 1:17).

Here is a powerful clip from John’s Gospel, the quotes are exact in this clip, there is no Hollywood addition

33 Replies to “The Divinity of Jesus Christ, In Scripture and in his own words.”

  1. If I may be so bold as to make a few more inclusions;
    You indicate that He said He was eternal upon saying that before Abraham was, Also, “I am” in Exodus 3:14 was indicated as a name of God when He said, “I am has sent me to you.’ ”
    Then in Mark 10:17&18 – and again in Luke 18:18&19 – He is addressed as “Good Teacher” and responds with a statement that only God is good. Some take this as a statement that He is not God and, so it may appear if one would be willing to leap to an erroneous conclusion by using insufficient data instead of admitting to the possibility of having insufficient data and, therefore, looking at the response in an inductive way – as well as the (potentially) oversimplistic deductive way.
    An example could well be if I were to say that people call me a, and address me as, taxi driver but; how could that be so because a taxi driver in the province in which I live must have a physician certified driver medical, a higher rated driver licence than a commuter needs, a criminal record check and; in the city in which I live; must also have proof of having passed a criminal record check? And, after all that have employment driving a licenced taxi.
    Then, I could answer my own question by pointing out that I do, indeed have all this things, and worked today – 5 November 2013 transporting people and some of their posessions – helping several with their mobility assisting devices – etc.
    So; we could see that Christ not only used the ruler’s simple question to assert that He and the Father (with the Spirit) are One but, subjectively included the query since, so called “good teachers” guide their students to knowledge with thought provoking questions … rather than give them facts which they may learn from or just memorize to pass tests.
    A Good and Perfect Teacher indeed.

    1. I agree with you. Jesus never claimed to be God. He did and said things that would lead us to believe and understand that He is God.

    2. This theological question… the fact that doctrinal error was being taught at the seminary is only a small problem within the Catholic church, and this has been going on for years. In the 1960s many of my friends attended Catholic schools. The Nuns in grade school taught then that the entire Bible was true. These young minds trusted their teachers. Then in High School the Priests and brothers taught them the first eleven chapters were myths etc. My friends became confused, and hurt… cause Nuns don’t lie, but they did! If the eleven chapters are myths what about the more than 20 books in the Bible which treat these stories as historic events? Now you have a major problem, for now even the prophets and Jesus himself were deceived. Then the church further corrupts truth by introducing traditions which aren’t seen in scripture and in some cases undermine the Word. Jesus told the religious leaders in his day, not to do this, but the church did not listen. Now we watch the church being “downside” throughout the world… small wonder.

  2. You are no shrinking violet, Monsignor! I’m glad you challenged your professors and researched the truth for yourself.

  3. Msgr. Pope, thank-you for your excellent article. This simple but direct teaching about Jesus and who He is would make an excellent RCIA teaching tool or even homily.

  4. Thanks again Msgr. While I was teaching the “Liturgical Year” to my 4th grade students I found out that they did not know that Jesus was born in a stable. OYE! They were pretty bored with the Liturgical Year but very interested in the nativity story. The Gosple is compelling. Now I have to figure out how to teach what I am supposed to teach (from the Sadlier “We Believe” book) while also teaching the Gosple. Thanks for the apologist tools!

    Gabriel: don’t forget the rest of that quote in Ephesians:
    [28] So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife, loveth himself. [29] For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church: [30] Because we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. (Douay translation)
    Make sure that you love your wife in the same way that you love yourself (which includes listening to her). We are Catholic – not the Taliban.

    1. Almost regret not saving GABRIEL’s comment. True he did mention only the first part but; how can adding only the second of three complete the context?
      31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NIV
      Saint Paul sums up with a reminder of the woman being created as a helper as mentioned in Genesis 2:20 and not just having the part about coming one flesh later in the Genesis chapter in verse 24.
      I don’t see how the, fairly recent, Taliban doctrine can be used to substitute the old and ageless of the Book of Genesis.

      1. I use the Taliban as an example of what happens when a doctrine is taken out of context. As far as I know there is nothing in the Koran which would justify the treatment that women suffer at the hands of the misogynistic Taliban.
        It is my experience that many Christian men use that first part of the quote in Ephesians to “lord it over” a wife. Kind of like a “my way or the highway” deal. If you are loving your wife as you love your own body this would not be the attitude that a man would have towards his spouse! I agree that there ought to be a hierachy in a family and if there is a point of dispute, then someone would have to have the last word…okay, the husband then! It has never come to this in my 15 year marriage. My husband trusts me to make most of the decisions, we tend to think very much alike AND we repect each other. We are adults.
        The hierachy exists in the Church as well. Jesus gave the “keys of the kingdom” to Peter and his successors (the Popes). So even if I disagreed with the Pope, I would still need to be obedient to him.
        So St. Paul seems to be establishing a hierachy within the family which is needed if things are to run peacefully. Family administration if you will….

  5. This is a wonderful piece, Monsignor. I agree with Anne Marie – this is an excellent teaching tool.

  6. Sorry that this is not relevant to your excellent article but it is relevant to today’s readings at Mass. You seem to have a rival in the art of alliteration. I discovered an article on the internet today. It includes this bit.
    The structure of our text can be summarized in this way:
    (1) Verse 25—The Setting
    (2) Verses 26-27—The Demands of Discipleship
    (3) Verses 28-32—The Decision of Discipleship
    (4) Verses 33-35—The Distinctive Nature of Disciples
    It is written by someone called Bob Deffinbaugh. Perhaps he should change his first name to David.

  7. That idea was, surely, a product of the unhappy hermeneutics of seeking the “historical Jesus” as distinct to the “Jesus of the faith”, an approach which Pope Benedict XVI deplored so much. Thankfully, such frameworks of reading the faith are being been abandoned in recent years.

  8. This post does a good job of setting out the Biblical basis for the divinity of Christ.

    The problem is that there are many other Biblical passages that can be cited that appear to suggest that Christ is less than divine and that He is inferior to God the Father. I am not saying that these passages trump the ones that Monsignor has cited. I am merely saying that making one’s point by quoting scripture is problematic because both sides can cite many passages to support their different viewpoints. This devolves into a Biblical quotation game that no one can win.

    Surely a better approach at justifying the divinity of Christ would be to emphasize the fact that the Holy Spirit guides the Church and that Church authority is therefore the ultimate arbiter in these matters rather than reliance on passages in scripture. After all, Augustine himself said that he would not believe the Gospels if the truth of the Gospels was not supported by the authority of the Church.

    1. Did you notice I quoted from the Council?? Further, I would argue that you live in rarefied air and that in this current Century, as opposed to the 5th Century, say, Scripture necessarily carries important weight. I have here quoted not just a few verses, but rather, assembled a vast body of evidence that your “battle of the quotes” concern could not sustain. .

    2. 1 Timothy 3:15
      “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

      I used to be baffled by the passages you refer to until I read Chapter 11, of Book I, of On the Trinity, by St. Augustine.–available for free on-line. Those passages you refer to can be used to argue that the Catholic Church gives the only reasonable account of all that Jesus says about Himself.

      Also, an argument can be made that the bible itself demands a Church with teaching authority. For example, the above quote from Timothy and that, though the bible doesn’t lend itself to misinterpretation, it doesn’t resist when some knucklehead feels compelled to do so.

  9. Let me toot you’re own horn: Dude, you’re way awwwwwseome, bro! This is a godsend, my brother. There are so many in this day age-and I speak of Catholics!-who do not believe Jesus is God; sad and very disturbing, to say the least. And if they do not believe that Jesus is God then why would they even believe the Eucharist as His real presence? It’s no wonder that so many no longer attend Mass. I wonder if a survey should be done on the entire Catholic population in the USA asking just two simple questions: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity incarnated as a man? 2) Do you go Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation? It would be interesting to see if there’s any connection between the two. Bet your bottom two cents there is! I’m not sure what’s it going to take to get them back home but there without a doubt a great apostasy taking place before our eyes. Makes me wonder if the BVM was hinting at this at Fatima in some form or another? May I use this wonderful post for preaching and teaching? They would do well to make you a bishop someday, or at the very least the head of the New Evangelization in the country! Keep up the good, holy work!

  10. This is a keeper, Monsignor. I saved it. Thank you for your fine effort in putting these citations together and passing them along to your readers.

  11. Great clip! How much more powerful—and frightening—to see it enacted without an edit. Terrific reminder that those words are there for a puporse.

  12. My question is why were these heretic professors allowed to be teaching at all in the seminary.? Seems like this is a major problem of heretic’s teaching our youth in what is suppose to be a true Catholic environment at grade, and high school as well as at the college level. Seems like secular colleges are safer for our youth then so called Catholic colleges. And the Jesuit colleges seem to be the worst of the so called free thinkers.

  13. For those of us who already believe in the Deposit of Faith what Monsignor has penned is truth. For many others….. I have seen movies,heard statements in which “Jesus” was used as a swear word.
    I was taught by my Catechist long ago that “Jesus”, “Jesus,Mary and Joseph” are prayers(ejaculations he called them).
    For example those creatures who designed and put out the Matrix trilogy of movies may have read the Bible. Their intention was to seek fresh ideas for their movies. Are they Christians? I doubt. Does the output of the Magisterium pop up on thier conscious screens(=affect thier next action)?
    For many persons the very teaching of the divine is irrelevant(think the gospel of prosperity or the gospel that Jesus is a champion of the poor and hence every rich person or corporation is a sinner and must apologize for being rich by giving away wealth).
    Am I judging someone? Maybe. Do we have friends. Yes. The very act of choosing a friend is passing judgement. Accepting the truth the Monsignor has stated is a choice and a judgement.

  14. “He accepts religious veneration by allowing the veneration of falling to the feet: this is due to God alone (Mt 15:25; 8:2; 9:18; 14:33; 28:9,17)”–This is strengthened by:

    Revelation 19:9-10: “9 And now the angel said to me, Write thus: Blessed are those who are bidden to the Lamb’s wedding-feast. All this is true, he said; it is God’s own utterance. 10 Thereupon I fell at his feet, to worship him. But he said, Never that; keep thy worship for God; I am only thy fellow servant, one of those brethren of thine who hold fast the truth concerning Jesus.”


    Revelation 5:7-8: “7 He now came, and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne, 8 and when he disclosed it,[1] the four living figures and the twenty-four elders fell down in the Lamb’s presence.”

    Also, in the Gospel of John, Jesus says that He has the power to raise Himself from the dead and that He will raise Himself from the dead.

    John 10:17-18: “17 This my Father loves in me, that I am laying down my life, to take it up again afterwards. 18 Nobody can rob me of it; I lay it down of my own accord. I am free to lay it down, free to take it up again; that is the charge which my Father has given me.”

    John 2:19-21: 19 Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.[4] 20 At which the Jews said, This temple took forty-six years to build; wilt thou raise it up in three days? 21 But the temple he was speaking of was his own body[;] . . .”

    Then, He did raise Himself from the dead (all four Gospels).

    Great quote from the Athanasian Creed.

    Thanks for this excellent post.

  15. I had an argument with a priest about Jesus and his divinity.
    He was sticking to St. Paul’s words that when he became man he “emptied himself” of his divinity and became as we are.
    This argument went on for a while with the priest claiming that my argument was with St. Paul and not with him.
    My response was to ask the priest where he got his authority from to hear confessions and to forgive sins, since if his authority came simply from Jesus as a man, then he had no authority at all, and his forgiveness of people’s sins was simply bogus.
    That shut him up.

  16. This morning’s reading from Luke’s Gospel includes the statement that a man must love Jesus more than any other persons, even wife & family. Of course, if your spouse or other relatives are an occasion of sin for you, and their behavior (if that’s the cause) will not change, then you need to avoid them.
    The actual reading IMHO is a bit fuzzy, as one of the languages (Aramaic? or Greek?) apparently has no word for “prefer”, thus the overstatement “hate” is used.

  17. I am busy reading a book written by Msgr. George Agius. It is from 1928. It is the only book ever written in the English language on the subject. This much I know I will come away from his book knowing.

    It is clear to the Apostles that Jesus is the The Christ. It is clear to the Apostles that The Christ is God Himself. It is clear that the Apostles ensured that Christian Orthodoxy was sent forth because they were sent forth. It is clear that the Church ensured that Christian Orthodoxy was recorded

  18. What is the name of this movie above, I would love to see it? Someone please let me know the name or series so I can watch it , thanks

  19. Thank you Msgr., when I looked it up in Amazon, I saw a few other movies. How are they as far as going along with the bible and being accurate. Thanks and God bless you.

    1. I am not sure what other movies you mean. But as for The Gospel of John, it is an exact reading of the text with no variations. I think they are using the New English Bible Translation, a favorite of Fulton Sheen.

  20. I may sound like a heretic but I don not believe there is anything in Msgr’s list of references that clearly supports the allegation that Jesus and God the Father are one and the same person….

    1. No one claims this. The Father and Son and the Holy Spirit are three distinct persons of the Trinity. I deleted the rest of your comment, because this blog does not exist to promote specious and or dubious interpretations of scripture, not in accord with the sacred magisterium of the Church which clearly proclaims that Christ is divine rooting this teaching both in sacred Scripture, and Tradition. The Biblical evidence I presented here, is an overwhelming testimony of many many verses which demonstrate comprehensively that Jesus Christ is divine, That he is God the Son.

      The two most notable instances where Jesus claims to be divine, to be God are:

      Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” “I AM,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked. “You have heard the blasphemy!” (Mk 14:61-64)

      Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple. (Jn 8:58)

      Again, the evidence I have presented is overwhelming and your stance against Jesus’ claim of divinity and the veracity of this dogma appear to be a form of stubbornness of which I can only warn you (and others who have written contrary to this teaching) in the very words of Jesus:

      Jesus said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I have told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (Jn 8:23-24)

  21. excellent defense of Jesus Christ Divinity……the single most important truth concerning our salvation.
    He puts the perfect face on the God we cannot see….to know what God’s like we do not look at a priest,
    bishop, cardinal or the pope….we stare right into the words and life of God’s only Son. The cloud that
    came upon the mountain that day had a VERY SIMPLE message….”this is My Son…listen to Him”

    “Daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ”…the
    Catholic Church needs to return to that simple beginning. Its not about rules, traditions or rituals….
    its about devotion to a person….The Lord Jesus Christ… receive His salvation and forgiveness!!!!!

Comments are closed.