What does ‘Christ’ mean? The word comes from the Greek ‘Christos’, which means anointed. There is no doubt that Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit to do the works of God. Now, whether this anointing took place upon his baptism in the river Jordan or at the end of his forty-days’ fasting in the wilderness, where he overcame all temptations, we cannot be sure. We know, however, that if someone is anointed by God, he has been vested with power to do miracles. And there is no doubt that Jesus was anointed, i.e. baptized “with the Holy Spirit and with fire”.
Let us now examine what the Scriptures say about the characteristics and the offices that Christians attribute to Jesus.
I: Born of a virgin
It is an article of the Christian Creed that Jesus was born of Virgin Mary and that his Father was the Holy Spirit! Some people argue that believing or not in this doctrine would be irrelevant to one’s spiritual walk. In my opinion, this doctrine is not completely harmless. Indeed it has some negative...
side effects. The primary one is the presumption that since the rest of us are born of human fathers and not of the Holy Spirit, we cannot be like Jesus and we cannot do the works He did!
side effects. The primary one is the presumption that since the rest of us are born of human fathers and not of the Holy Spirit, we cannot be like Jesus and we cannot do the works He did!
But is this doctrine true? Let us contemplate on the following scriptures:
“This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.” (Matt. 1:18)
So, Joseph’s blood had nothing to do with Jesus. Yet, in order to support the prophecy that Jesus was a descendant of David, Matthew gives Joseph’s genealogy! And this is so important that he starts his Gospel with this:
“A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;(…) and Matthan begat Jacob;
And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matt. 1: 1-16)
The credibility of these scriptures is in much want. Jesus is either the natural son of Joseph or he was born of the Holy Spirit and he is not the son of David. He couldn’t have it both ways. But Jesus, of course, was not responsible for what was written about him long after his crucifixion…
To make things even worse, Luke referring to Jesus’ genealogy does not agree with Matthew. The discrepancy starts even with the father of Joseph! Here is the relevant scripture: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.” (Luke 3: 23)
Another instance that shows that even Mary had ‘forgotten’ the message of the angel Gabriel that she, by the Holy Spirit, would bear a son who would be called “the Son of the most High” is the following:
“Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.
After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Every one who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’
‘Why were you searching for me?’ he asked. ‘Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he was saying to them.” (Luke 2: 41-50)
Mary and Joseph did not understand what Jesus was saying to them! Was it so difficult to guess which Father was Jesus talking about? After all, Jesus was conceived ‘miraculously’… Had they forgotten such a great event?
Let us look at more scriptures on the subject:
“Philip found Nathanael and told him, ‘We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph’.” (John 1: 46)
Philip could have told Nathaniel that he had found Jesus, the son of Virgin Mary, but he didn’t. Apparently he had no idea about it and it wasn’t necessary for Jesus to be born of a Virgin!
“At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven’. They said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?” (John 6: 41-42)
The Jews knew that Joseph was the father of Jesus. It is impossible to believe that Joseph pretended to be the father of Jesus, if he knew that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Even if, for various reasons, he had to keep it secret when Jesus was a child, he should disclose the great truth now, when Jesus had launched his mission and was trying so hard to convince the Jews of his divine authority. It is amazing that the miraculous conception of Christ that the Jews didn’t know during Jesus’ lifetime was disclosed to the Greeks and Romans some three centuries later!
“When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there. Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked. Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things? And they were offended in him. (…)” (Matt. 13: 53-57a)
From these verses we learn that Jesus was not only Joseph’s son! He also had brothers and sisters! In other words, his mother Mary gave birth to other children beside him. Consequently she didn’t remain virgin, as the Christians believe.
For those who suggest that Joseph never made any intercourse with Mary, not even after the birth of Jesus, and that he was a widower, his other children being half-brothers and half-sisters of Jesus, I shall quote the following verses:
“Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son; and he called his name JESUS.” (Matt.1: 24-25)
The last verse implies that Joseph, after the birth of Jesus, knew his wife, i.e. he slept with her, and naturally Mary gave birth to her other children.
II: Son of God
The main line Christian Denominations believe that Christ is the only begotten Son of God. In fact this is a basic article of the Christian Creed.
The first time we find the term Son of God in the New Testament is in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 1 and verse 35:
“And the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most High will overshadow you; therefore the holy (child) which will be born of you shall be called son of God.”
I have translated this verse directly from the original Greek version where, unlike the English versions, the article ‘the’ before ‘son of God’ does not exist. Also, the word ‘son’ is not written with capital ‘S’. This verse is, in my opinion, the most important for the student of Christianity.
We must also take notice of the verb ‘call’. The child shall be called ‘son of God’. The scripture doesn’t say, ‘the child will be the Son of God’.
Let us now examine other scriptures to see if the term ‘son of God’ were common in the Bible.
“And you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my first-born son, and I say to you, Let my son go that he may serve me; (…)’.” (Ex.4: 22-23a).
Here Israel is called not just ‘son’ but ‘first-born son’. And what does God expect from a son? According to this scripture, He expects service.
“You are the sons of the Lord your God; (…).” (Deut. 14: 1a) Apparently, all Israel are called ‘sons of God’.
“But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, ‘Go and tell my servant David: Thus says the Lord, (…) I will raise up your offspring after you, (…) He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father and he shall be my son. (…)’.” (2 Sam. 7: 4-5a, 12b, 13-14a)
This is a reference to Solomon, David’s son, who was to build a house for the Lord. As a result, he would become God’s son. It was common in Old Testament times for those who cared about the worship of Jehovah to be called sons of God.
“He (the Lord) said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father’.” (1 Chr.28: 6)
According to the writer, God actually chooses whom to adopt! In the spiritual sense, God is not the Father of everybody, but only of those who are special to Him, i.e. those whose heart is after God! As to who makes the first step, whether it is man of his own free will who first decides to be spiritually adopted by God, or if God predestines some to be the spiritually elect, I do not have the answer. To me, this is a mystery.
“For he said, ‘Surely they are my people, sons who will not deal falsely’; and he became their Savior. (…) You, O Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer from old is your name.” (Isa. 63: 8, 16b)
Here Isaiah puts words in the mouth of God calling all Israel sons. The prophet believes that God is the Father and Redeemer of all Israel.
“I myself said, ‘How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’ I thought you would call me ‘Father’ and not turn away from following me.” (Jer.3: 19)
Jeremiah, speaking on behalf of God, says that He (God) would like to treat the Israelites as sons and give them a desirable land so that they would follow Him and call Him Father.
“For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.” (Jer. 31:9b)
Here is one more verse in which God claims to be a father to Israel. Moreover, He considers the tribe of Ephraim as his first-born, since Jacob (whom the angel renamed ‘Israel’) had blessed him with his right hand, putting him ahead of Manasseh. (Gen. 48)
“Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not my people,’ they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.” (Hos. 1: 10)
Hosea prophesies that the people of Israel will be called ‘sons of the living God’, although it was said to them before, ‘you are not my people’. In other words, divine adoption is not a permanent state. One could lose his status as son of God if he rejects the Lord’s commandments.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.” (Hos. 11: 1)
Once again God, supposedly speaking through Hosea, calls Israel, ‘my son’.
All the verses I quoted above reveal the passion of Jewish prophets to make Israel sons of God. They longed for God to be Israel’s Father. We also saw certain anointed kings being called sons of God. It was natural then for Jesus Christ to be called Son of God, more so since he often referred to God as his Father.
There is yet another verse in the Old Testament where all the people of Israel are called not just sons of God but even gods:
“I said, ‘You are gods, and sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you die as men, and fall like one of the princes’.” (Psa. 82: 6-7)
Naturally, if all men are sons of the Most High, they must partake in His divine nature, i.e. they must be potentially gods, although they don’t know it.
– Let us now see what the New Testament says about divine sonship, and particularly what Jesus said about himself and his heavenly Father. Did he claim to be the unique, the only begotten Son of God?
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (…) And the tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread’.” (Matt. 4: 1,3)
In the beginning of Jesus’ mission, the devil, having taken the permission of the Holy Spirit, tempted Jesus in what he had claimed to be, i.e. Son of God. If Jesus considered himself to be the Second Person of the Holy Trinity and equal to God, as Christians believe, the tempter would challenge him on this.
“And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, two demoniacs met him, coming out of the tombs, so violent that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, saying: What have you to do with us, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before our time?” (Matt. 8: 28-29)
Here we have the demons, speaking through the demoniacs of Gergesenes, addressing Jesus, whom they had not seen before, as Son of God, acknowledging that he had power over them. Notice that they didn’t address him as God.
“Blessed be the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matt.5: 9)
Jesus said that all peacemakers shall be called sons of God. Peace is so important for the welfare of mankind that those who endeavor to establish it among men shall be called sons of God.
“But I say to you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may become sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matt. 5: 44-45)
Another sure way to become sons and daughters of our heavenly Father and manifest some of His qualities is to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blaspheme; because you, being a man, make yourself God.’
Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your law, “I said, you are gods?” If he called them gods to whom the word of God came – and the scripture cannot be broke – do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, “You are blaspheming,” because I said, “I am the Son of God?” If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father’.
Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.” (John 10: 31-39)
Through the above verses we see that Jesus, trying to defend himself before the Jews, who accused him of blasphemy, did not assert that he was the only begotten Son of God. On the contrary, he reminded them the verse from the Old Testament where God said to all Israel, ‘you are gods’. Then he went on to say that he was consecrated by the Father to come to the world with a mission and in this capacity he was the Son of God. It remains for us to discern if Jesus was the Son of God or a Son of God. The following scriptures will help us to answer this question.
“And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother’.” (Mark 3: 34-35)
Jesus calls all those who do the will of God, brothers and sisters. In other words, whosoever does the will of God is a son of God, just as Jesus was.
“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’.” (John 20: 17)
By these words Jesus asserts, once again, that God, his Father, is also God and Father of his disciples. Apparently, he does not claim to be anything different from his disciples.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the body you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Rom. 8: 13-14)
In this verse Paul is absolutely clear on this matter. Who are the sons of God? The answer is: those who are led by the Spirit of God. If we want to become sons and daughters of God, we must think, speak and act as the Spirit of God leads us. We all have the potential to become God’s sons; but how many of us are prepared to deny ourselves and totally surrender our will to the Holy Spirit as Jesus did?
“It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified together.” (Rom.8: 16-17)
Jesus is an heir of God. If he were God himself he couldn’t become an heir. Someone who owns a property cannot inherit it. He already possesses it. And all those for whom the Spirit of God bears witness that they are children of God are joint-heirs with Christ.
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Rom. 8: 19)
The whole creation longs for the revealing of the sons of God. St. Paul is talking about those who live sacred lives, going about their Father’s business; those who lay down their lives for the benefit of humanity; those who uphold the principles and values of God; the peacemakers; the embodiments of love, truth and power; the light of the world.
“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples, a light to enlighten the gentiles and for glory of your people Israel’.” (Luke 2: 25-32)
Simeon, a righteous and devout man, had read the scriptures and waited for the long-promised Messiah, someone who would be sent by God for the consolation of Israel. Indeed Israel, now more than ever, was miserably harassed and oppressed by the Romans and hence in need of an anointed leader, a Messiah. Of course, as we all know, this kind of ‘Messiah’ is still expected today by the Orthodox Jews…
It is interesting to notice in the above verses that the Holy Spirit was upon Simeon. Yet, he failed to discern that this baby, “the Lord’s Christ”, wouldn’t be “for the glory of your people Israel”, since the Jews would reject him as Messiah.
“And there was a prophetess, Anna, (…); she was of a great age, (…). She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him (the child Jesus) to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” (Luke 2: 36-38)
Here we have another eyewitness, Anna, a prophetess, a woman who worshipped and prayed in the temple day and night. As the rest of the Jews, she, too, was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. This prophetess recognized the redeemer of Jerusalem in the face of the child Jesus. However, as we all know, Jerusalem, instead of being redeemed, was totally ruined during the Jewish rebellion against the Romans in 66-70 A.D.
“Break forth together into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem.” (Isa. 52: 9)
In this, as well as in most prophecies of the Old Testament, it is clear that Isaiah expected the Lord to redeem Jerusalem. The Jews never expected a Messiah who, by his death, would ‘pay for the sins of the whole world’.
The Christians believe that the following verses speak of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on the cross. Let us study them carefully.
“(The) Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (…)
And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
But you shall be named Priests of the Lord; men shall call you ministers of our God; you shall eat the riches of the gentiles, and in their glory you shall boast yourselves. (…)
And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people; all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord has blessed.” (Isa. 61: 1-2, 4-6, 9)
Once again, Isaiah speaks of someone who would redeem Israel, a Messiah, who would proclaim liberty to the captives. If we assume that the scripture refers to captives of sin then it would be difficult to explain the verses that speak of the repair of waste cities, of strangers who will serve the Jews and of Jews who will eat the riches of the Gentiles. In my opinion, these scriptures speak of the restoration of Israel, something that we have seen happening in our days.
“Behold, my servant, whom I upheld; my elect, in whom my soul found delight; I have put my spirit upon him; he will announce judgment to the nations.” (Isa. 42: 1)
The prophet here speaks of a servant who will announce judgment to the nations. In Biblical language, nations are the Gentiles, i.e. all peoples except of the Jews. If the scripture spoke of a redeemer of mankind from the so-called original sin, then the Jews should have been included in this prophecy.
Let us now see what the New Testament says about the Messiah and especially what Jesus himself said about his mission.
“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matt. 5: 17)
Here Jesus affirms that he came to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament, and had no intension of abolishing the law. The question is how he interpreted those prophecies. Did he believe himself to be the redeemer of all mankind or just of the Jews? The following verses answer this question.
“And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.’ But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, ‘Send her away, for she is crying after us.’ He answered, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Yes Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.” (Matt. 15: 22-28)
The words of Jesus leave no room for misunderstanding. He claimed that he was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. These only were the children of God! The others, i.e. the Gentiles, were dogs! How diminishing for the nations! Because of this verse, the enemies of Christianity attribute to Jesus a chauvinistic spirit. Jesus, of course, meant that the idolatrous Gentiles were no different to animals in their understanding of spiritual things. In any case, no matter how hard the Christian theologians have tried to justify this scripture, the truth is obvious: Jesus did not think of himself as a universal Savior, a Redeemer of mankind from the “original sin”.
“And when his family heard about this, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, ‘He is out of his mind’.
And the teachers of the law, who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons’.” (Mark 3: 21-22)
Part of Jesus’ mission had to do with delivering the lost sheep of Israel from demons. Yet, because of this, his family thought he was out of his mind. Worse still, the teachers of the law said that Jesus was possessed by Beelzebub, and that by his power he was driving out demons!
And what did Jesus say to them? In the next two verses he answers to their accusations.
“And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come unto you.” (Matt. 12: 27-28)
So then, even the sons of the Jews were able to cast out demons! And, of course, they did this not by Beelzebub but by the Spirit of God, just as Jesus himself was doing. Moreover Jesus said that the casting out of demons was also the verification that the kingdom of God had come upon them! Here it is explained which is the nature of God’s kingdom! Jesus believed the kingdom of God to be spiritual, manifesting in the heart of man when the Spirit of God expels the evil spirits from there.
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law complained to his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’ And Jesus answered them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance’.” (Luke 5: 30-31)
These verses verify that Jesus did not believe that he had come as a universal Savior of mankind from some original sin that had poisoned all humans. If he did, he would have confessed so. He came only for the sick, the sinners, the demon-possessed, and all those who couldn’t make it in life. Such people needed a doctor!
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” (Acts 10: 38)
In this verse Luke confirms which was Jesus’ mission and by whose power he fulfilled it. His mission was to do good, to heal the sick and deliver those who were oppressed by the devil. And Jesus did all these things because God was with him, and not because he was God, the second person of the Holy Trinity. The same works did the Apostles and all men of God throughout history.
“But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, (…).
‘Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works, wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know, (…)”. (Acts 2: 14a, 22)
Here is one more verse that verifies that Jesus was only an instrument of God. Through Jesus, God did signs and wonders!
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14: 1-2)
Where did Jesus go after his death? Did he go to take his place on the right hand of the Father and govern the Universe with Him and the Holy Spirit? No! According to his words, he went to prepare a place, another mansion, for his followers! If this is true, then in the spiritual realm there are many mansions, many departments, where probably each Master gathers the souls of his followers! This is what we understand from the words of Jesus, although personally I believe that the many spiritual mansions refer rather to different stages of spirituality.
IV: One with the Father
“I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30)
Perhaps there is no other scripture in the Bible more misunderstood than this one. What did Jesus actually mean? Did he mean that he was God himself, as Christians believe? The following verses will help us clarify the issue.
“Do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does the works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves.” (John 14: 10-11)
Jesus admitted that he did not speak on his own authority. He spoke on behalf of his Father who dwelt in him. It was also the Father who did the miraculous works of Jesus. Who was that Father? It was the Spirit of God! The next verse verifies it:
“But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matt. 12: 28)
So then, being in the Father means being in the Spirit. But this wasn’t a unique situation for Jesus only. We all have the potential to be one with the Father. How?
“If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” (John 15: 10)
Jesus abided in God’s love because he kept God’s commandments. We can do the same. Primarily, as the following scripture confirms, if we love one another then God abides in us. In other words, by loving one another we are in the Father and the Father is in us, i.e. we are one with God, who is Love!
“Beloved let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. (…). No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. (…) God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” (1 John 4: 7, 12, 16b)
The recipe, then, is simple and straightforward: to abide in God we must abide in love! Then we will be one with Jesus and one with the Father.
V: Inferior to the Father
“If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.” (John 14: 28b)
The verse is very clear on this: the Father is greater than the Son. So, Jesus does not support the doctrine of equality of three persons in the Holy Trinity.
“My sheep listen to my voice; (…) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10: 27a, 29)
Once again Jesus declares that the Father is greater than all.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” (Matt. 24: 36)
If the three persons of the Holy Trinity were equal and inseparable, as the Christians believe, then there couldn’t be any secrets among them. Whatever the Father knew the other two persons would also know. But the above verse leaves no doubts on this. There are things that only the Father knows!
“As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. (…)
The Jews answered him, ‘Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?’
‘I am not possessed by a demon’ said Jesus, ‘but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it, and he is the judge’.” (John 8: 40a, 48-50)
The truth that Jesus came to tell the world was not his own! He heard it from his Father! And Jesus was not seeking glory for himself. Let them who praise and glorify Jesus contemplate on these scriptures...
“And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone’.” (Mark 10: 17-18)
Jesus even denies that he is good! He says that God alone is good!
What more evidence do we need that Jesus did not believe himself to be God?
“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority; but I speak just what the Father has taught me. And He who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone; for I always do what is pleasing to Him’.” (John 8: 28-29)
So, it was the Father who taught Jesus the truth! And Jesus did nothing on his own authority. We have already seen a similar affirmation of Jesus in John 14:10. By these words Jesus confirms that the Father is greater than he, and he implies that if he didn’t do what was pleasing to God, the Almighty would abandon him!
“In that day you will ask nothing of me. (…) And I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father.” (John 16: 23a, 26b, 27-28)
This scripture answers clearly to those who believe that we cannot approach directly the Father in prayer but only through the name of Jesus, as mediator. Here Jesus instructed his followers not to pray to him when he leaves this world.
“Jesus answered, ‘My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (...) Why are you trying to kill me?’
‘You are demon-possessed’, the crowd answered. ‘Who is trying to kill you?’
Jesus said to them, (…) Why are you angry with me for healing the whole man on the Sabbath? Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” (John 7: 16-17, 19b, 20, 21a, 23b, 24)
If one chooses to do God’s will, i.e. to follow the guidance of the inner man, or the spirit within, then the same will know that Jesus’ teaching was not his own; it wasn’t human teaching but divine. The spirit of man, being a ray of God’s Spirit, confirms to us which teaching is of God. However, only those who are prepared to do the will of God discern this. The others, who look for easy solutions without effort and pain, will follow every wind of doctrine that serves their selfish interests, deceiving and being deceived.
Jesus considered himself a prophet. His disciples and the crowds, who followed him during his ministry believing his message, also considered him a prophet. The following scriptures testify to this:
“Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following; for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13: 33-34)
As a prophet whom God sent to the Jews, Jesus longed to gather Jerusalem’s children together and guide them to the right path. However, they were not willing. Worse still, they planned to kill him in Jerusalem, as they had done to many other prophets before him.
“For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (John 4: 44)
“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in his own house’. And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matt. 13: 57-58)
In the previous two verses Jesus leaves no doubt to us that he considered himself a prophet and nothing more. That’s why he was not surprised that he could not do many miracles in Nazareth, his hometown. His family as well as his compatriots did not take him seriously. Some might have been jealous of him. This was usual for a prophet and it is verified throughout the ages. It is almost an axiom. Other prophets, before Jesus, had not been accepted by their own people. He couldn’t be an exception.
“When the people saw the sign which he (Jesus) had done, they said, ‘this is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!’” (John 6:14)
The sign was the feeding of the multitudes with five barley loaves and two fish. Indeed the Jews expected a prophet to come to the world, and some recognized him in Jesus.
“When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, ‘Who is this?’
The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee’.” (Matt. 21: 1-11)
Apparently, the crowds that believed and followed Jesus who was riding on a donkey, in his triumphant entrance to Jerusalem, considered Jesus a prophet.
“And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.” (Luke 24: 19- 20)
These are the words of two of Jesus’ disciples on their way to a village called Emmaus, after his crucifixion. Even his disciples considered Jesus as a mighty prophet and nothing more!
VII: Son of man
Jesus frequently referred to himself as Son of man. He obviously wanted to emphasize that he was born as man. The title is also used in the Old Testament. In the vision of Ezekiel, the prophet is addressed as son of man many times. I shall quote only one such case:
“And at the end of seven days, the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me’.” (Ezek.3: 16-17)
There are many instances in the life of Jesus recorded in the Bible where he appears to have all the characteristics and the weaknesses of a son of man. I shall quote here a few of them, leaving the analysis and comments to the reader.
“On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’. And Jesus said to her, ‘O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come’.” (John 2: 1-4)
Immediately after this conversation with his mother, Jesus performed his first miracle, i.e. he turned the water into wine, although he had said that his hour had not yet come!
“But she came and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ And he answered, ‘It is not fair to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs’.” (Matt. 15: 25-26)
“On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he (Jesus) was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again’. And the disciples heard it.” (Mark 11: 12-14)
“Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Matt. 23: 27)
“Then he turned towards the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house, you gave me no water for my feet; but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased kissing my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.” (Luke 7: 44-46)
“This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. (…)
Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 11:2, 12: 1-3)
“Peter turned and saw following them the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had lain close to his breast at the supper and had said, ‘Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?’ ” (John 21: 20)
“He said to them, ‘But now, let him who has no purse take it, and likewise a bag. And let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one. (…) And they said, ‘Look, Lord, here are two swords’. And he said to them, ‘It is enough’.” (Luke 22:36, 38)
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
When some of those standing there heard this, they said, ‘He’s calling Elijah.’
Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. But the rest said, ‘Leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.’
And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.” (Matt. 27: 45-50)
As I close the chapter on Christ, I would like to stress one more time that my intention to make this blog was not to disturb other peoples’ faith, nor to offend the Christians’ dearest name of Jesus. My aim is to serve the Truth. I believe that humanity is caught up in a spiritual warfare, in a perpetual war between truth and lies, between light and darkness. This war is taking place first and foremost in the spiritual realm and is transferred on this earth through the various contending religions and philosophies.
This spiritual warfare is not going to stop until the Truth prevails. Never mind what efforts the World Council of Churches and other religious and philosophical organizations make, in order to establish peace and understanding among the nations, they will always fail. Religious deception, i.e. lies, can never form a sound foundation for peace in the world. Lies covering up each other and presented as truths cannot become the light of the world. Truth cannot coexist peacefully with lies. That’s why Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace but a sword”. (Matt. 10: 34)
The unfortunate thing is that all the wars that were waged in Jesus’ name had nothing to do with the propagation of the truth he had spoken. They originated in deception around his name, nature and mission, and that’s why they had been disastrous for humankind.
Last I want to quote a statement, supposedly made by Jesus, which terrifies any Christian who would attempt to break the chains of deception and embrace the truth: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me”. (John 14: 6) Now, if this were true, then God would be unjust and should answer to countless human beings who lived before, during the lifetime and after the death of Jesus, but never heard of him!