Is Jesus God? Ask one of the criminals who hung with him at Calvary

CalvaryThis is a common question, and I believe that it is a worthy one. Most often, I see it asked by those of the Muslim faith: “If Jesus is God, why didn’t He say it?”

The answer is simple: the very understanding of the Christ in the historical period was that the Christ would be the Holy One of Israel. The One who would rightly take his place in the Kingdom of God and rule forever. In sum, the Holy One of Israel is God Almighty, Himself.

Don’t believe me? Look at one of the criminals in Luke 23. He’ll testify for me.

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

The second criminal knew exactly who the Christ was.

So, why didn’t Jesus say He was God? He didn’t have to.

It would be like reading a trial transcript where I was the plaintiff attorney, and during questioning of a key witness, I made mention: “I’m a lawyer.”

How would you respond if you read that in a trial transcript on the third day of trial? How would you respond if you were the one that I was questioning?

2 Comments

  1. Scott Scott
    June 2, 2010    

    As you know, I’m a believer.

    But isn’t the thief’s question more an example of Pascal’s Wager than true belief?

    • robreedesq robreedesq
      June 2, 2010    

      @Scott: we’re talkin two different things… I’m talkin mind and you’re talkin heart. I don’t know the heart of either of the two on the crosses next to Jesus… BUT, their statements (both of them) indicate their belief that the Christ would be God.

      As Jesus responded to the one who you say was merely Pascal wagering with “you shall be with me today in Paradise,” ill take that as a good indicator that this guy’s heart was in the right place. 🙂

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In May, 2005, Rob was a secular, Jewish, thirty-something, Los Angeles, personal injury attorney whose idea of getting up early on a Sunday was getting up for the third quarter of the first televised, NFL games.

Thirsting on the idea of playing in a band for the first time in a decade, Rob finally accepted his neighbor's request to get up at seven-in-the-morning on Sundays in order to participate.

Eleven months later, his world was turned upside down by Jesus. Instantly, he began leading songs on the worship team and, today, he now leads that same LIFEhouse worship team in which he was initially invited to join as a non-believer.

God is cool like that.