This is a talk looking at whether Jesus was just a prophet, or whether he really was the Son of God. This is not a complete talk, as there is so much that could be said or found out. But I pray it gives you (as it has to others), a guide to the kinds of things that prove Jesus was and is the Son of God, exactly who he says he is.
Was Jesus a prophet?
Yes! This is illustrated brilliantly by one of my favourite stories in John 4.
In this, a Samaritan woman is drawing water from a well. In the course of the conversation, as Jesus befriends her, Jesus tells her that she has no husband. She says this is true. This proves Jesus knew something about her that he could not normally have known (see also the story of the Rich Man). The Samaritan woman further testifies to him that he is a prophet. In verse 21, Jesus prophecies that God will send his Holy Spirit. We know this happened – in Acts 2, among other places in the Bible (and in our own lives).
But we also get more of a clue that Jesus is more than a prophet. Verse 10, he says, ‘If only you knew who was asking you for water..’ (symbolising he was something beyond the normal). Then she asks if he is greater than Jacob. Jesus replies that whoever drinks the water HE gives them will never thirst but will become a spring of eternal water (water representing spiritual life). So, again, we find out from Jesus that he is more than a prophet. Then the woman talks about the coming Messiah (v 25). In verse 26, Jesus tells the woman that he is the Messiah. The woman believes him and many people come to believe in him as the Messiah.. (see verses 39-42).
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.
"Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his flocks and herds?" Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I won't get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."
He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."
"I have no husband," she replied.
Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."
"Sir," the woman said, "I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem."
Jesus declared, "Believe me, woman, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."
The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us."
Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he."
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman's testimony, "He told me everything I ever did." So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, "We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world."
How was he a prophet?
Another example that Jesus was a prophet comes from the fact that Jesus knew that Judas would betray him..
When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"
Jesus replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."
Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
In Deuteronomy 18.15-19, we read the following:
The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. For this is what you asked of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, "Let us not hear the voice of the LORD our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die." The LORD said to me: "What they say is good. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.
In this, we read twice that God will raise up a prophet from 'among your brothers' (ie. the people of Israel). We learn that God will put his words into this prophets mouth, who will speak everything God commands. If people do not listen to this prophet, God will call them to account. There is no-one other than Jesus who can fit this description. He was a Jew, from the Tribe of Judah; we know that God was well pleased with him and put his Spirit in him (Mark 1.10-11); we know that Jesus was perfect and sinless; we know that one day, everyone will be judged by Jesus and he will separate those who he knows from those he doesn't, through people's acceptance and obedience of Jesus (John 5.24-30).
In Acts 3.17-26, we find that the prophecies of Moses are referred to by Peter and are given meaning in the person of Jesus:
"Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you. Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people.'
"Indeed, all the prophets from Samuel on, as many as have spoken, have foretold these days. And you are heirs of the prophets and of the covenant God made with your fathers. He said to Abraham, 'Through your offspring all peoples on earth will be blessed.' When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways."
What were prophets in OT / NT times?
How was Jesus different from this? Do the OT prophets predict Jesus? What do they say about ‘Messiah’?
http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/prophchr.html– prophecies of Jesus Christ as Messiah (lots of stuff!)
How did / does Jesus fulfil these prophecies?
http://mb-soft.com/believe/txh/proph.htm – this is an amazing list of the OT prophecies and how Jesus fulfilled them, absolutely amazing and very useful list that's more complete than I would have time to go into!!
What about the phrases ‘Son of God’ and ‘Son of Man’
John the Baptist spoke clearly about who Jesus was. In John 1.29-34, he calls Jesus, ‘the Lamb of God’ and testifies that Jesus is ‘the Son of God’. John had a flourishing ministry and his own disciples, but he knew he was just a messenger, a preparation for the true Messiah, Jesus..
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, 'A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel." Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, 'The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.' I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God."
In Mark 1.1-5, we read about the ministry of John the Baptist. We find that the prophecy in Isaiah 40.3 was being fulfilled:
"I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way" - "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.' "
So, we know that John the Baptist was the messenger, preparing the way. Preparing the way for who? For the Lord. We know John himself accepted and believed this, from Mark 1.7-8: And this was his message:
"After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
In Matthew 16.13-17, we hear from Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God:
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven."
What does Jesus say about himself? (eg ‘my father in heaven’ and to the pharisees, ‘I am he..’)
John 5.19-47. Jesus testifies he is the Son of God. We learn a lot from this. Jesus himself gives evidence of him being the Son of God, and points to John the Baptist's testimony as well.
Then we learn more from John 14.6-7:
Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
This search string from Bible Gateway gives you all the times that Jesus called God, ‘my father’ (46 times)
What did the disciples believe?
It is important to see what those closest to Jesus believed. These people were under no obligation to follow Jesus. In fact, in order to follow him they had to give up many things and pay a price. This was a price that some were unwilling or unable to pay. So this was no indoctrination, no cult that people couldn't escape from. The disciples could have left Jesus at any time.
We have already looked at the following Bible verses from another book, but let's look again at Mark 8.27-29:
Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, "Who do people say I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ."
Paul testifies that Jesus is the Christ throughout his writings – Corinthians, Romans, Ephesians etc
What about the whole ‘Trinity’?
In John 14, 15, 16, Jesus talks about himself, God and the Holy Spirit. We that Jesus is the Son of God, obeys his Father and was filled with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1). We also know that the Spirit brings glory to Jesus!
But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
The role of Jesus today in the lives of believers? In your life, personally..
Give your testimony of how you know Jesus has changed your life!