Who Do Men Say That I AM?

In Judea at the time of Christ, many people expressed varied opinions about an influential young preacher who went about performing miracles and healing the sick as he taught the scriptures on hillsides and in their Synagogues. Some said he was a charlatan, a worker of magic tricks and even possessed of the devil; others that he was one of the prophets reincarnated. Jesus’ disciples must have been suspicious that he was the Christ, but may have been hesitant to say as much. So Jesus brought up the subject of his identity himself.

Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of manG444 am?
Mat 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Hear what the Old and the New Testaments say about the Son of Man –

Old Testament Witnesses

Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end,H7093 upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

“end” (H7093 qêts) BDB Definition:
1) end
1a) end, at the end of (of time)
1b) end (of space)

An interesting passage telling us that among others, Jesus will bear the title “everlasting Father.” Now, how can that be you may well ask? How can Jesus have the title “father” when he’s the Father’s son? That’s a great question, one I don’t have an answer for at present.

Dan 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Dan 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominionH7985 is an everlastingH5957 dominion, which shall not pass away,H5709 and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.H2255

Note that the Son of man (always refers to Jesus) was brought before the Ancient of Days (the Father), thus it would appear that Jesus and the Father are two separate entities. This verse states that Jesus will be given a dominion and a kingdom over all nations which will never pass away (‘remove, depart, be taken away’).

New Testament Witnesses

Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? (via crucifixion) who is this Son of man?G444

Joh 5:25 Verily, verily (truly, truly), I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 
Joh 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself;
Joh 5:27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.

Mat 8:19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
Mat 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

In this Matthew passage, Jesus calls himself the “Son of man.” The term “Son of Man” was a Messianic title assigned to Jesus Christ –

Jesus uses it as a concealed Messianic title. Jesus in his early ministry, except at the very start in John 4, abstains from calling himself Messiah. This term suited his purpose exactly to get the people used to his special claim as Messiah when he is ready to make it openly. [Robertson’s Word Pictures]

Son of man – This means, evidently, Jesus himself. No title is more frequently given to the Saviour than this, and yet there is much difficulty in explaining it. The word “son” is used in a great variety of significations. See the notes at Mat 1:1. The name “Son of man” is given to Jesus only three times in the New Testament Act 7:56; Rev 1:13; Rev 14:14, except by himself. When he speaks of himself, this is the most common appellation by which he is known. The phrase “Son of God,” given to Christ, denotes a unique connection with God, Joh 10:36. The name “Son of man” probably denotes a corresponding unique connection with man. Perhaps the Saviour used it to signify the interest he felt in man; his special love and friendship for him; and his willingness to devote himself to the best interests of the race. It is sometimes, however, used as synonymous with “Messiah,” Mat 16:28; Joh 12:34. [Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible]

Of His Kingdom There Shall Be No End

Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

“no end” (G5056 telos) Thayer Definition:
1) end
1a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
1b) the end
1b1) the last in any succession or series
1b2) eternal
1c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
1d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose
2) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods)

Mat 1:21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS:G2424 for he shall save his people from their sins.

An aside: The name “Jesus” was not derived from the Greek god Zeus! Jesus is the English transliteration of the Greek (Iēsous) translation of the name Joshua, which means “Jehovah is salvation.” Joshua was the famous captain of the Israelites and Moses’ successor (Act 7:45, Heb 4:8).

Heb 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
Heb 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
Heb 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Rev 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
Rev 14:14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

To all who have been told or taught that Jesus isn’t GOD – the Father calls him GOD, and permits angels to WORSHIP him! If Jesus wasn’t GOD, then the Father wouldn’t have said so. Many scriptures affirm that while Jesus was temporarily ‘made a little lower than the angels’ having been ‘clothed with a human body,’ He was raised in a glorified body, the same as all born again believers will get when Jesus returns. Jesus was only subordinate to his Father in heaven because he took on a human body (John 1:14) and dwelt upon the earth. Before Jesus’s human body was crucified and died, it was just a fleshly body like ours, unfit for Eternity. It had to be glorified or made ‘eternal’ which was accomplished when Jesus arose from the grave. At no time was Jesus anything less than fully GOD (Cols 2:9).

There are those teaching that since Jesus was ‘sent’ to earth by his Father, he wasn’t God because the one doing the sending is greater than the one being sent. One group who teaches this is the Jehovah’s Witnesses who appear to be Christian until you discover that they deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ; the very “test” of whether the spirit behind a religious organization or an individual is antichrist – 2 Jn 1:7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.G4561 This is a deceiver and an antichrist.G500 To ‘come in the flesh’ means he became incarnated in a human body.

1Jn 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

To be ‘sent’ has several meanings in the Greek, primarily ‘apostello’ (from which we get the word Apostle) and ‘pempō.’ (G649 apostello) From G575 and G4724; set apart, that is, (by implication) to send out (properly on a mission) literally or figuratively: – put in, send (away, forth, out), set [at liberty]. (G3992 pempō) Apparently a primary verb; to dispatch (from the subjective view or point of departure, whereas ἵημι hiēmi [as a stronger form of εἶμι eimi] refers rather to the objective point or terminus ad quem, and G4724 denotes properly the orderly motion involved), especially on a temporary errand; also to transmit, bestow, or wield: – send, thrust in.

Jesus was sent into the world to fulfill the scriptures regarding him, to redeem mankind from sin and death, and to fulfill all righteousness. You could say that he was ‘set apart’ for a special mission. However, his being sent didn’t at all detract from his Godhood. Look at it this way, a mail carrier is ‘dispatched’ to collect and deliver mail to a another locality. Is his nature altered by being sent on that mission? Jesus willingly chose to leave his glory in heaven to become a flesh and blood human being, and yes he was subordinate to his father, but that subordination didn’t change his nature. Jesus was, is, and will always be fully God.

The term ‘trinity’ isn’t in the Bible, but the term “Godhead” is.

Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

(G2305 theiotēs) From G2304; divinity (abstractly): – godhead.
(G2320 theotēs) From G2316; divinity (abstractly): – godhead.
(G2316 theos) Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with G3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively a magistrate; by Hebraism very: – X exceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].

In this Godhead, Jesus and the Father mutually indwell one another in perfect unity.

Joh 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?

“in” (G1722 en) A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), that is, a relation of rest (intermediate between G1519 and G1537);

I find G1537 to be quite interesting – A primary preposition denoting origin (*the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote):

*Recall that a root G4724 of the Greek definition pempō (sent), had in it the idea of ‘orderly motion’ in the sending. It only seems to be saying that Jesus proceeded out from the Father.

Even the Jews who weren’t always correct in their interpretations, acknowledged that when Jesus called God his father, he was “making himself equal to God” –

Joh 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

“father” (G3962 patēr) Apparently a primary word; a “father” (literally or figuratively, near or more remote): – father, parent.

“Father; not in the sense the Jews so called him, and all good Christians are licensed to call him; but patera idion, his proper Father, or his own Father; by which (as they truly said) he made himself equal with God. Nor did he by that alone make himself equal with God, but he ascribed also to himself a cooperation with God, in works proper to God alone…”[Matthew Poole’s Commentary]

Another solid refutation of teachings that Jesus isn’t God, or that he wasn’t a divine being before he “came in the flesh.”

Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word,G3056 and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh,G4561 and dweltG4637 among us, (and we beheld his glory,G1391 the glory as of the only begottenG3439 of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Scriptures clearly state that Jesus, the Son of man and Son of God (these two titles denote the dual nature of Christ; fully God and fully man) was “with God in the beginning” of Creation – Joh 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Joh 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Jesus existed before Abraham, who had died centuries earlier, was born. “I AM” means the ever-present, ever-existent God, who had no beginning and has no end. When Moses stood before the bush burning with God’s presence he asked him what his name was and God answered, “I AM THAT I AM” (Exo 3:13 & 14).

Joh 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

Joh 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Joh 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Joh 14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:

Jesus did nothing independently of his Father because he and his Father think and act as ONE. They’re so close they know each other’s thoughts and intentions at all times. The closest state of “oneness” humans can experience is in marriage where they become “one flesh”(Mt 19:5).  Strong’s Definition: “one”(G1519 eis) of one mind.

Joh 8:28 Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.

Whom do men say – He asked his disciples this question, not because he was ignorant what the people thought and spoke of him; but to have the opportunity, in getting an express declaration of their faith from themselves, to confirm and strengthen them in it: but see on Luk_9:20 (note). Some, John the Baptist, etc. By this and other passages we learn, that the Pharisaic doctrine of the Metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls, was pretty general; for it was upon this ground that they believed that the soul of the Baptist, or of Elijah, Jeremiah, or some of the prophets, had come to a new life in the body of Jesus. [Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible]

(ii) This passage teaches that our discovery of Jesus Christ must be a personal discovery. Jesus’ question is: “You–what do you think of me?” When Pilate asked him if he was the king of the Jews, his answer was: “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” (Jn 18:33-34).

Our knowledge of Jesus must never be at second hand. A man might know every verdict ever passed on Jesus; he might know every Christology that the mind of man had ever thought out; he might be able to give a competent summary of the teaching about Jesus of every great thinker and theologian–and still not be a Christian. Christianity never consists in knowing about Jesus; it always consists in knowing Jesus. Jesus Christ demands a personal verdict. He did not ask only Peter, he asks every man: “You–what do you think of me?” [William Barclay’s Daily Study Bible]

So, who do YOU say that the Son of Man is? May I suggest that you don’t wait too long to decide.

 

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