Did Jesus Christ himself claim to be God and that we should worship him?
When he was teaching in the synagogues and temples wheretheJews went, did
he teach the following fundamental beliefs? 1. Trinity 2. His supposed
divinity 3. That salvation will come through his blood. What didhe mean
in John 17:3-4 where he said that he has finished the work that he was
sent to do even before he was crucified? When asked by the rich young
ruler as to what he should do to attain eternal life, Jesus replied that
he should “keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17 He is reported to have
said that those who handed him to Pilate had greater sin. (John 19:11).
Can we conclude from this that the crucifixion was a sinful act and
therefore it can never be blessed by God?


The answer is that Jesus did indeed claim to be God. Jesus was somewhat
circumspect about this. He did not go about every day declaring loudly,
“I AM God.” He was cautious because he was aware of the timing. He must
die on a Friday?on the eve of the Passover?in Jerusalemin order to fulfill
the prophecies of the Messiah. To declare publicly that he was God was to
court an early death, as you will see in the passages below, but he left
it abundantly clear in his discourses with the apostles who he was. For
example, in John 8:58, Jesus said about himself, “I tell you the truth,
before Abraham was born, I AM.” Here Jesus took the name YHWH, the name
God gave to himself when he spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14. (It is worth
noting that the book of John uses the Greek equivalent, whereas Jesus
spoke in Aramaic?a close kin of Hebrew). Like it says in John 8:56, “At
this they took up stones to stone him.” They did so because they were
very clear on what Jesus had claimed?to be deity. Another example is
found in John 10:30. Here Jesus simply says, “I and the Father are one.”
Again, the Jews picked up stones to stone him, saying they did so
because, “You, a mere man, claim to be God.” Notice, Jesus did not
correct them on this! As for worship, Jesus did not demand that people
bow to him while in the body, but he did not refuse it either. For
example, when Thomas saw him for the first time after the resurrection, he
said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.”

You ask if Jesus taught the trinity. The answer is yes and no. The word
trinity does not appear in the Bible. It is unlikely that Jesus used this
word. Nevertheless, he clearly saw himself as the only begotten Son of
God?as the Messiah. He claimed to be God in the flesh. About the Holy
Spirit, one could perhaps argue that Jesus never actually said that the
Spirit is God. Nevertheless, this is the most reasonable interpretation
of what he said, for several reasons. First, he identifies the Holy
Spirit as the Counselor in John 14:16, calling him the Spirit of truth.
Here he refers to the Counselor, the Spirit as “he”, clearly identifying
the Holy Spirit as a person who is sent from the Father. John 16:7-11
continues in the same vein, describing the Holy Spirit as follows: “When
he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and
righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe
in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father?” To
top it off, in his last words to his apostles and other followers, Jesus
commanded that they baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). I believe these passages conclusively show
that Jesus saw the Holy Spirit as, like him, being deity and part of the

I sense a note of skepticism in the tone of your question. I understand
that you may have been taught differently. I respectfully ask you to
consider the evidence I just presented to you. If you want more material,
you can go to the power point section of the web site and look at the
outline and power point on Jehovah?s Witnesses, which has many more
passages on this topic.

As for salvation in and through his blood, I believe that this could not
have been more eloquently stated than in the Last Supper. You can look at
any of the Last Supper accounts to find this. I will use Matthew. “Then
he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from
it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for
many for the forgiveness of sins.” Many other passages can be mentioned
which show conclusively that Jesus knew his death was to be for the sins
of the whole world. I have a feeling that someone has given you the false
impression that Jesus never said his blood was given for our forgiveness.
You should be very skeptical of this person/author, as this is very hard
to sustain in view of the evidence!

Next, let me discuss John 17:3-4. This prayer was given on the night he
was betrayed and killed. Jesus has completed his work. All that is left
is for him to actually be killed. To argue that this implies he did not
see his death on the cross as part of his work is to grotesquely distort
and manipulate his words. Jesus stated repeatedly that his goal was to
die in Jerusalem(for example Luke 13:33). On the night he was killed,
Jesus is realizing his goal. Consider the words he uttered on the cross,
as he died. “It is finished.” (John 19:30). This should put to an end
any specious claim that Jesus did not envision his death on the cross as
part of his mission.

Of course we can assume that the act of killing Jesus was sinful. The
Jewish leaders who plotted to murder Jesus were acting out of jealousy,
hatred, bitterness and selfishness for their own position. I do not
understand your last question. Obviously, in view of the Old Testament
prophecies, and in view of the statements of Jesus, God intended for this
to happen. Many times God used the sinful acts of people to his own ends
in order to bring salvation to his people. The crucifixion itself was not
necessarily a sinful act. The soldiers were following orders. It was
the motives of the men who brought it about which were sinful. Peter
points out in Acts 2:22-24 that God miraculously turned this hateful deed
into an act of mercy for all men and women. “This man was handed over to
you by God?s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of
wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised
him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death.” Later, Peter
told the crowd on the day of Pentecost that through this death and through
repentance and baptism on our part for being responsible for his death, we
could receive forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:36-38). Clearly, although God
did not want his Son to be killed, he allowed it so that, through the
death of Jesus Christ, we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
This is the gospel message.

John Oakes, PhD

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