Who is Jesus? Part 3: Who Did His Followers Say that He Was?

Who did Jesus’ followers believe that He was? Did His apostles believe that He was God? What did they write to teach others in the books of the New Testament?

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This is part three of a series of articles concerning, “Who is Jesus?” Part 1 was a look over who the Scriptures say He is, Part 2 was a look over who Jesus Himself said that He is, and for part 3 we’re going to look at who Jesus disciples or followers believed He was. Grab your Bible, open another tab, or get your Bible app ready, okay, let’s study!

I would like us to start with what one of Jesus’ disciples (an apostle) named Thomas said. Please turn to John chapter 20 and read from verse 24 to 31. I will post the part that I’m focusing on but always remember that the Scriptures are best understood in context.

A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”

 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”

 Thomas responded to him, “My Lord and my God! ”

 Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” – John 20:26-29 CSB

Before we go further, let’s look at the word translated as “responded” that word is “apokrinomai” the outline of its biblical usage is: 1. to give an answer to a question proposed, to answer 2. to begin to speak, but always where something has preceded (either said or done) to which the remarks refer. Strongs definition for this word is: to conclude for oneself, i.e. (by implication) to respond; by Hebraism to begin to speak (where an address is expected):—answer.

The meaning of the word is quite clear, Thomas was proclaiming that he has concluded for himself that Jesus was his Lord and his God. Some claim that Thomas was cursing but the meaning of the word ‘apokrinomai’ and Jesus’ response prove otherwise for Jesus said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” Jesus did not bless Thomas for cursing, He blessed Him for His proclamation of faith that Jesus was and is both Lord and God.

Paul wrote the book of Romans which is absolutely filled with rich doctrinal truths, including this,

The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, praised forever. Amen. – Romans 9:5

Consider these words written by Peter:

But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be intimidated, but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, ready at any time to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. – 1 Peter 3:14-15 CSB

Now, if you look at those verses all by themselves, I would understand if you don’t see that as Peter proclaiming Christ to be God but when you read 1 Peter 3:14-15 knowing that Peter was very familiar with this verse in the old testament and aware that his readers were also familiar with the old testament you gain a greater understanding of what Peter meant.

You are to regard only Yahweh of Armies as holy.

Only he should be feared;

only he should be held in awe.

– Isaiah 8:13 (These verses are even better in context.)

Peter used ‘Christ’ in place of ‘Yahweh’ while quoting this verse from Isaiah. It is clear that Peter believed that Jesus was God and encouraged people to regard Christ the Lord (the Lord, is what new testament Jew’s used instead of God’s name) as holy.

The writer of Hebrews used these Scriptures to show that he believed Jesus to be God:

but to the Son:

Your throne, O God,

is forever and ever,

and the scepter of your kingdom

is a scepter of justice.

You have loved righteousness

and hated lawlessness;

this is why God, your God,

has anointed you

with the oil of joy

beyond your companions.

 – Hebrews 1:8-9 CSB

Now, while I enjoy reading about the meanings of the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words that the Scriptures were originally written in, I do not know these languages and certainly don’t know how their sentence structuring or grammar rules work. Thankfully, other people do know these things and share the beauty of their meanings with us.

“The following rule by Granville Sharp of a century back still proves to be true: `When the copulative KAI connects two nouns of the same case, if the article HO or any of its cases precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or described by the first noun or participle; i.e., it denotes a further description of the first-named person.'” (A Manual Of The Greek New Testament, Dana & Mantey, p. 147)

“Basically, Granville Sharp’s rule states that when you have two nouns, which are not proper names (such as Cephas, or Paul, or Timothy), which are describing a person, and the two nouns are connected by the word ‘and,’ and the first noun has the article (‘the’) while the second does not, both nouns are referring to the same person.” – James White

The Granville Sharp rule applies to both Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1:

“while we wait for the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” – Titus 2:13

Simeon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have received a faith equal to ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. – 2 Peter 1:1

The Scriptures are clear that Jesus’ followers, His disciples, and His apostles did, in fact, believe, teach, and proclaim that Jesus is our Lord, God, and Savior. To Him be the glory forever, amen!

 

Featured Image by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

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About the Author

Jennifer Quinn is just a woman saved by grace and undeservedly blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Her focus is on her God and Savior, husband, children, homeschooling, and whenever she glances out the window... it's on her backyard chickens. She makes mistakes and sometimes looses focus on her Savior in the busyness and stresses of life. Fortunately her God is a patient and gentle teacher who can work even the stresses and messes of this life into something that points to and gives glory to Him. Her hope is that she might share a little bit of the wisdom and encouragement that God is teaching her with her sisters and brothers in Christ for their good and for His glory.