Serving the High Plains

Old objections to Christianity answered

I’m seeing an objection in short videos recently. It is an old Muslim argument, although non-Muslims make use of it, against Christianity: “Jesus never said he was God.”

The charge is that Christians have wrongly raised Jesus of Nazareth to the level of divinity. We’ve made him our God, contrary to his own teachings and will. That’s the assertion.

Part of the objection may be freely admitted. The Bible never records Jesus saying the words, “I am God.”

(As an aside, before I address that in earnest, I’ll point out that Jesus is never recorded saying the words, “I am a prophet,” but the Muslims believe that is the clear teaching of the Gospels. We all go through the same process of reading and then summarizing what is written.)

Part of the issue is that the teaching style of Jesus was rarely on-the-nose and direct, especially as the topic at hand became more significant. He did a lot of teaching through stories and object lessons. The frustrating thing is that he didn’t always come right out and say what the point was. This was on purpose.

He wants you to think about what he’s said and work through it yourself. This meant that his audience was (and is) filled with two types of people: the ones who get it and ones who don’t, or rather won’t. He’ll walk around a point, motioning to it the whole time, and expect you to look at it on your own.

So, he’ll tell you he’s the light of the world. He’ll tell you he’s the way, the truth, and the life. He’ll let you know he’s coming back one day to raise everyone from the dead and judge them, assigning to each one the appropriate reward in the afterlife. He’ll claim the authority to forgive the sins of all people. He claimed to have existed in glory before the foundation of the world. He’ll demonstrate his authority over disease, death, demons, and the processes of the created world.

But, what does he do after these things leave his own disciples stunned, asking, “What sort of man is this?” He’s silent. You figure it out.

You’ve got the former prophets promising that the Messiah to come would be called the Mighty God, and that he would take his rightful place on the throne of heaven, with authority over all things. Jesus loved pointing to David, for instance, who referred to the coming king as his Lord. Jesus challenged his opponents to tell him what that meant, and they couldn’t, or wouldn’t.

To crowds who knew and loved the 23rd Psalm, Jesus pictured all the people of God as a flock of sheep, and then claimed to be their good shepherd, not as if hired to do the job by their owner, but as the owner himself. Who owns God’s sheep?

So, sure, the point is taken. You won’t find a place where the Lord says, “I am God.” Maybe he thinks your brain is sufficient to add all of this up on your own. The issue is never that God hasn’t given us enough evidence or information: it’s that we don’t like what he’s given.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

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