He has many rivals, but no equals
June 5, 2019
The deity of Jesus of Nazareth is a central theme of the Bible. The historic Christian teaching is Jesus Christ is the Son of God, fully divine and yet fully human at the same time. He is the Creator, come to walk in the form of a creaturely human.
The lines of evidence for this are many and varied. I don’t have space to document them all here, but I will catalog some.
In the first category of evidence, Jesus is directly called God in several places. (John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:6; Hebrews 1:8, etc.)
Next, he is given titles that are only appropriate to God, such as King of kings; Alpha and Omega; the Way, the Truth, and the Life; and, Eternal Father (or, father of eternity.)
Third, the Bible attributes qualities to Jesus that only God has, like uncreated eternity; the ability and right to judge the hearts of all people; and, being the source of all life, the creator of all things visible and invisible.
We also see him doing things only God may properly do. He receives worship (John 20:26-29). He demonstrates his authority to forgive sin (Mark 2:1-12). Even demons (Matthew 8:28-32) and natural forces (Mark 4:35-41) must obey him. Of course, the fact he raises people from the dead, including himself, proves his mastery over issues of life and death.
One idea that naturally flows from all of this is that Jesus Christ is unique. No one is like him because there is no one like God. No one else is qualified to be what he is; the narrow path; the light of men; the straight gate; the one mediator between God and man.
Believe in this man, the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved.
Believe it not, though, and suddenly there is a vacancy at the top of the authority stack. In the organizational chart of the universe, the name of Jesus belongs in the top space. If you scrub that name out, you’ve simply created a vacuum. Some other name, or names, will rush in to fill it. This is inevitable. Somebody exists in that top space in your thinking. Maybe it’s your own name. That’s pretty widespread. Maybe it’s a rival god.
Historically, when Jesus is not considered to be that one, unique bridge between ourselves and God, it is common for human governments to fill that role. This is documented in the Bible, but it’s plainly seen everywhere in the world around us. Without the God-Man, people begin to see their governments as the closest thing to deity. It’s no accident every pagan king has been lauded as a god.
It is predictable that in a culture that rejects Christ, the government will be increasingly glorified. It will be the righter of all wrongs; the benevolent savior of every victim; the provider and protector; the guarantor of life and liberty. Its word will be truth itself, and its symbols, songs, and holy days will be honored with religious fervor.
But Jesus is Lord. His name is at the top. Scrub as you will, you can never really erase it.
Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at