Day 10: A Seemingly Crazy Claim – Part 4a

Did God visit Earth?

Bible References (NIV)

Devotional

Have you ever pretended to be something that you are not and got away with it? I’ve always been an honest type of person, but I certainly pretended to be more confident than I was when I was young. It’s difficult to sustain something that’s just an act!

Today we’re looking at Jesus and his claims, which are amongst the most radical ever made. To cut to the chase: Jesus claimed to be God visiting Earth!

This claim is so radical that some sceptics of the Bible have suggested that Christians have misunderstood Jesus. If we study the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see that Jesus often avoided making a direct claim to be the ‘Son of God’. He instead refers to himself as the ‘Son of Man’. Bible sceptics used this detail to suggest Jesus was actually trying to tell everyone he was just a man — not God. They suggest he only later on changed his mind and claimed to be God on Earth.

The video clip you are about to watch will explain more about this. However, to be clear, it’s abundantly clear at all times from the Gospels that Jesus knew exactly who he was. When Jesus was a teenager we’re told of him going missing on the annual family trip to Jerusalem. The family search party then finds Jesus in the Temple where he says to them, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). In one of the Scriptures you just read we see Jesus at the start of his ministry. He reads a portion of the Scriptures that predict the Messiah’s coming and then says, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” The claim was clear. There are many examples. Consider the paralytic lowered on a mat through the ceiling. Jesus claims to forgive his sin — while everyone present knows that only God can do that.

As you’ll soon hear in the video, there were reasons Jesus avoided stating his claim directly until near the end of his ministry.

An example of his more direct claims would be when he rode the donkey into Jerusalem just before his crucifixion (Mark 11:1-11). The crowds became excited — with celebrating, singing, dancing and the laying down of palm branches for him to walk over. Why? Jesus had intentionally fulfilled a prediction about the promised Messiah written in Zechariah 9:9. He was claiming to be the true King of Israel. To illustrate, imagine a throne that only the king could sit on — and then you go sit upon it. Your action would be a claim to be the king. That’s what Jesus was doing.

While this topic might seem silly to many students of the Bible, it’s important because we have to understand who Jesus was claiming to be before we can understand and know him. Also, God certainly could visit Earth as a human if he wanted to. God can do anything. The real questions are, Why would he — and did he?

Video clip: A Seemingly Arrogant Claim – Part 5b— 5mins

Reflection questions

  • In what ways did Jesus state his claim to be God in flesh?
  • What led some Western scholars in the prior century to doubt that Jesus was claiming to be God?
  • Why didn’t Jesus always state his claim directly?
  • What was the significance of Jesus quoting from the prophet Daniel (Daniel 7:13-15) at his trials (Mark 14:61-65)?
  • Why is it important to know for certain that Jesus really did claim to be God on Earth / the ‘Son of God’?

For prayer

“Thank you, God, for coming in Jesus. Thank you for reaching out not only through prophets and their writings, but also in person. You have done far more for us than we would ever have imagined. Thank you.”

related topics

coming up in our next devotion

Day 11: A Seemingly Crazy Claim – Part 4b

Have you ever held a belief that you later changed after coming across new information? Today we’re looking at Jesus’ resurrection, and you’ll be surprised to discover how many academics agree that the evidence says it happened.

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