Jesus is Not All-Powerful, and Not All-Knowing
Christians and Muslims agree that God is all-powerful and all-knowing. The Gospels show that Jesus was not all-powerful, for he had some limitations. Mark tells us in his gospel that Jesus was unable to do any powerful work in his hometown (ch. 6, vv. 5-6). Mark also tells us that when Jesus tried to heal a certain blind man, the man was not healed after the first attempt, and Jesus had to try a second time (see Mark ch. 8, v. 22-26). Therefore, although we have the utmost love and respect for Jesus, we need to understand that he is not the all-powerful God.
Had Shabir read more carefully he would have discovered the fallacy in his argument. Let us quote Mark in context and see why Jesus was unable to perform any miracles in his hometown:
"Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. 'Where did this man get these things?' they asked. 'What's this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles! Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?' And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, 'Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.' He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people AND HEAL THEM. And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits." Mark 6:1-7
The point that Mark is making is not that Jesus could not perform miracles because of his lack of power, but due to the people's lack of faith. Hence, Christ would not perform a miracle to please the unbelieving crowds. Yet, Mark is quick to mention that Jesus did perform a few miracles of healing before departing. He even mentions Jesus' ability to grant authority to his disciples to perform miracles such as casting out demons! If anything, this reinforces the point that Jesus is in fact all-powerful!
In relation to the blind man not seeing immediately notice what the following commentaries state is the purpose behind Mark recording this episode:
"The importance of this story for Mark is that it anticipates the opening of the eyes of the disciples. This is the second in a pair of incidents that only Mark records (the first one is 7:24-37) and that fulfill the OT messianic expectations of Isa 35:5-6. Mark uses both incidents to lead up to the full revelation of Jesus' messianic dignity to the disciples (8:27-30). Their eyes too were opened, not by human perception, but by the miracle of God's gracious revelation- which was as much a miracle as the opening of the blind man's eyes." (Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III, Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary Volume 2: New Testament [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids MI, 1994], p. 166)
The St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible, one that Shabir highly recommends states:
"8, 22-26: Jesus' actions and the gradual cure of the blind man probably have the same purpose as in the case deaf man (Mk 7, 31-37). Some commentators regard the cure as an intended symbol of the gradual enlightenment of the disciples concerning Jesus' messiahship."
That Christ's miracles often served to illustrate certain spiritual truths can be seen from the Gospel of Mark itself. After Jesus' second miraculous multiplication of food where he fed four thousand men, Mark records:
"Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side. The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 'Be careful,' Jesus warned them. 'Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.' They discussed this with one another and said, 'It is because we have no bread.' Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: "Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember? When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?' 'Twelve,' they replied. 'And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?' They answered, 'Seven.' He said to them, 'Do you still not understand?'" Mark 8:13-21
Christ expects the disciples to see the spiritual significance behind his miraculous feeding of the multitudes. Interestingly, this conversation immediately precedes the healing of the blind man. This reinforces the point made above that the blind man's healing signified the gradual enlightenment of the disciples.
Finally, Shabir's argument is self-refuting. Seeing that he believes that it was God who empowered Jesus to perform these miracles, this implies that God was unable to do any powerful work in Jesus' hometown. It also implies that God who was working in Christ needed to heal the blind man twice before enabling the man to completely see. Obviously, neither Shabir nor Mark believes this to be the case.
Mark's Gospel also reveals that Jesus had limitations in his knowledge. In Mark ch. 13, v. 32, Jesus declared that he himself does not know when the last day will occur, but the Father alone knows that (see also Matthew 24:36). Therefore he could not have been the all-knowing God.
Some will say that Jesus knew when the last day will occur, but he chose not to tell. But that complicates matters further. Jesus could have said that he knows but he does not wish to tell. Instead, he said that he does not know. We must believe him. Jesus was a man of truth.
Some may say what Shabir claims, but informed Christians do not. The fact is that the Holy Bible teaches that Jesus is God who became man without ceasing to be divine. Hence, the one person of Christ was both divine and human at the same time. As such, he had both a divine consciousness as well as a human one. In his divine consciousness he was all knowing, a fact we shall shortly demonstrate. In his human consciousness he was not and had to grow in wisdom and knowledge. What Christ knew in his divine consciousness he did not know in his human consciousness. Christ at times chose not to relay certain information he had in his divine consciousness over to his human consciousness, such as the above example cited by Shabir.
Furthermore, Christ would also speak at times from his divine knowledge, and at other times he would speak from the perspective of his human knowledge.
The Gospel of Luke also reveals that Jesus had limited knowledge.
Luke says that Jesus increased in wisdom (ch. 2, v. 52). In Hebrews too (ch. 5, v. 8) we read that Jesus learned obedience. But God's knowledge is always perfect, and God does not learn new things. He knows everything always. If Jesus learned something new, that proves that he did not know everything before that, and he was not God. Can he become God later? No! Because there is only one God, and He is God from everlasting to everlasting (see Psalms 90, v. 2).
Shabir commits a categorical fallacy as well as the fallacy of false dilemma along with a straw man. Inherent in Shabir's argument is the mistaken notion that Christians believe that Christ was but God. In reality, Christ was also man at the same time. Hence, Christ learned obedience, grew in wisdom and knowledge in relation to his humanity. Yet, Christ as God was omniscient and immutable. Both Luke and Hebrews affirm this point. Notice for instance what Luke records:
"All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Luke 10:22
For a man to claim to know God in the same manner that God knows him and also claim the sovereign right to reveal God to whomever he pleases is either blasphemy or makes the person God!
"In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven." Hebrews 1:1-3
"But about the Son he says, 'Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.' He also says, 'In the beginning, O Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.'" Hebrews 1:8-12
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." Hebrews 13:8
The inspired author of Hebrews presents Christ as the Agent of creation, the sustainer of the universe as well as the exact imprint of the Father's nature. The author also applies to the Son an OT passage (Psalm 102:25-27) which originally refers to Yahweh as Creator. The author presents Christ as the Immutable One, the very Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe. Hence, to the author of Hebrews Jesus, along with the Father and Holy Spirit, is Yahweh God.
Someone may say that Jesus was God but he took the form of a servant and therefore became limited. Well, that would mean that God changed. But God does not change. He said so Himself in Malachi ch. 3, v. 6. Jesus never was God, and never will be. In the Bible, Yahweh alone is God and Yahweh declares:
"Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am Yahweh . . . " (Isaiah ch. 43: vv. 10-11).
Correction. God does not change in his essential nature and attributes as well as in his divine purposes. As far as Christ is concerned his Deity never ceased nor changed. The only thing that was different at the Incarnation is that Christ added a human nature to his immutable divine nature, without having the two natures mixing.
Secondly, Shabir commits another fallacy by quoting Isaiah 43:10-11, namely the fallacy of assuming that Christians believe that Christ is another God apart from Yahweh. Informed Christians do not believe this; rather, we believe that the identity of the one true God Yahweh includes the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words, we believe that the three Persons are the one true God and that there are no other gods or saviors besides the Triune God.
Some will say that Jesus had two natures, that he was both man and God at the same time. They will say that the limitations we pointed out are limitations in the human nature of Jesus, but his God nature is still unlimited. Notice that the Bible never confirms that Jesus had these two natures. This is a desperate solution offered by those who do not wish to believe what the Bible plainly says. The plain teaching of the Bible, as we have shown, is that Jesus was not God.
The problem is not that the Holy Bible does not teach that Jesus had two natures, since it certainly does. Rather, the problem lies with Shabir's unwillingness in accepting this scriptural truth. Here are the passages which support Christ's dual natures:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:1, 14
"As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things... 'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!'" John 8:40, 58
Christ is man and at the same time He existed before even Abraham ever came to be.
"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law," Galatians 4:4
Christ preexisted as God's Son and was then sent into the world to be born from a woman. Hence, Christ is both divine and human.
"For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form," Colossians 2:9
The term for "dwell", katoikei, is a present participle denoting continuous action or existence. Paul affirms that Jesus continues to exist as absolute and perfect Deity in bodily form.
Noted Christian scholar, Dr. Robert Morey, indicates:
"... The verb katoikei 'dwells' is in the present tense and indicates that Christ was, is, and always shall be the embodiment of Deity... It is, thus, a mistake to restrict this verse to the incarnation. If Paul had the incarnation in mind, he would have written the verb in the aorist tense. But the present tense clearly indicates that absolute deity resides bodily in Christ permanently... The embodiment may have begun at the incarnation, but it is an ongoing reality in heaven where the glorified body of Jesus resides until His return to judge the living and the dead." (Dr. Robert Morey, Trinity-Evidence and Issues [Grand Rapids, MI; World Publishing Inc., 1996], pp. 359-360)
Greek grammarians Fritz Rienecker and Cleon Rogers state:
"to settle down, to be at home (Col. 1:19). The pres. act. ind. tense indicates the continually state and points to the pres. reality." (Rienecker & Rogers, Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament [Grand Rapids, MI; Zondervan, 1980], p. 573)
William Hendriksen affirms,
"Paul uses the present tense. He does not say that the Word became flesh but that the fullness of the Godhead dwells or is dwelling in Christ. And surely that indwelling did not just begin with the incarnation. It is an eternal indwelling." (Morey, Trinity, p. 360 bold emphasis ours)
Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest translates Col. 2:9 in the following manner:
"Because in Him there is continuously and permanently at home all the fullness of absolute deity in bodily fashion." (Ibid., p. 358)
Hence, while in heaven Jesus perpetually remains the God-man.
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being (Greek- hyperchon) in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!" Philippians 2:5-8
The term for "being" in Greek is in the present participle and implies a continuous existence or abiding reality. Rienecker and Rogers indicate,
"The word [huperchon] expresses continuance of antecedent state or condition." (Ibid, p. 550)
"The present participle huperchon stands in a sharp contrast with all the aorist which follow it, and therefore points in the direction of continuance of being: Christ Jesus was and is eternally 'in the form of God.'" (Hendriksen, A Commentary on the Epistle to the Philippians [London; Banner, 1963] p. 103, n. 82)
Dr. Morey states,
"... The verb huperchon is a present active participle and means that Jesus was the 'essence of God' not only before His incarnation but after it as well. At no point before or after His incarnation did Jesus cease to be the essence of God... Before His descent from heaven, Jesus Christ was the essence of God. During His time on earth, He was the essence of God. After His ascension back to heaven, He was the essence of God. And today Jesus is still the essence of God. As Wuest points out, 'This is the impact of Paul's use of the present participle.'" (Morey, pp. 336-337)
Hence, this and Colossians 2:9 are perhaps the strongest proof for Jesus' dual natures.
"While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 'What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?' 'The son of David,' they replied. He said to them, 'How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him "Lord"? For he says, "The Lord said to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.'" If then David calls him "Lord," how can he be his son?' No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions." Matthew 22:41-46
The only way for the Messiah to be both David's Lord and son is if he were both God and Man at the same time. This is precisely the answer Jesus himself gives in Revelation:
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16
Again, the only way for Christ to be the root and offspring of David is if he was both God and man at the same time. This clearly establishes that the Holy Bible does in fact teach that Jesus had dual natures.
This dual-nature solution complicates matters further still. Take for illustration the fig-tree episode in the Gospels (see Mark ch. 11, vv 12-25). Mark tells us as follows:
"Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs" (Mark 11:12-14).
Jesus then put a curse on the tree, so that no one could eat fruit from it again. The tree withered from the roots by next morning.
Now, it is clear from this passage that Jesus had a lot of power to curse the tree and make it wither from its roots. It is also clear that Jesus' knowledge was limited on two counts. First, he did not know that the tree had no fruit until he came to it. Second, he did not know that it was not the right season to expect figs on trees.
Proponents of the dual-nature theory will have to admit that the power to curse was in Jesus' God nature. They will have to also admit that his lack of knowledge was due to his human nature. They will have to then conclude that the God nature acted at the behest of the limited knowledge stemming from the human nature.
First, a nature does not act a person does. So Shabir commits another straw man fallacy here. It is the one person of Christ that chose to function in relation to either his divine nature or his human nature.
Second, there is a very reasonable explanation why Jesus would curse the fig tree before the season for figs. Messianic Believer David Stern comments:
"... If Yeshua's cursing and drying up the fig tree had been a petulant reaction to disappointment because he couldn't satisfy his hunger, it would be unworthy of anyone, let alone the Messiah. But Yeshua is making a point by means of prophetic drama, acted-out parable (possibly Lk 13:6-9). Tanakh examples include Yirmiyahu, who bought and broke a clay bottle (Jeremiah 19), and Yechezk'el, who made and then burned up a model of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 4-5); for a later New Testament instance see Ac 21:10-11.
Even out of season a fig tree in leaf- it must have been in leaf to be seen in the distance (v. 12) - holds forth the promise of fruit. The normal early season for figs in Israel is June, but the early unripe fruit (Song of Songs 2:13) begins to show itself even before the spring leaves appear on the branches, often before Passover.
We know that Yeshua expects God's people to put forth the fruit of righteousness, and that unproductive branches are thrown in the fire (Mt 7:16-20; 12:33; 13:4-9, 18-23; Yn 15:1-8). Thus, the drying-up of the fig tree is an acted-out warning. In keeping with Proverbs 27:18 ('He who tends a fig tree will eat his fruit, and he who serves his master will be honored') Yeshua here is teaching his followers what it means to serve their master, God: it means simply to have the kind of trust that comes from God (v 22), and that they will wither away if they don't. Yeshua neither acts from pique nor performs arbitrary miracles like a magician; every one of his supernatural acts has spiritual significance." (Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary [Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarksville Maryland, Fifth edition 1996], pp. 95-96)
F. F. Bruce adds:
"The other miracle is the cursing of the barren fig tree (Mk. xi 12 ff.), a stumbling block to many. They feel that it is unlike Jesus, and so someone must have misunderstood what actually happened, or turned a spoken parable into an acted miracle, or something like that. Some, on the other hand, welcome the story because it shows that Jesus was human enough to get unreasonably annoyed on occasion. It appears, however, that a closer acquaintance with fig trees would have prevented such misunderstandings. 'The time of the fig is not yet,' says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears. The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March, they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of fore-runner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig-tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time of figs came. For all its fair foliage, it was a fruitless and a hopeless tree." (Bruce, Are The New Testament Documents Reliable? [Intervarsity Press; Downers Grove, Ill, fifth revised edition 1992], pp. 73-74)
Noted Evangelical scholar Craig S. Keener makes the following observation:
"At Passover season in late March or early April, fig trees are often in leaf on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. At this time of year, such fig trees contained only green early figs (Arabs call them taqsh), which ripen around June but often drop off before that time, leaving only green leaves on the tree. A leafy tree lacking such early figs, however, would bear no figs at all that year," (Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew [Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, July 1999], p. 504)
What was thought to be an argument against the veracity of the Scriptures, turns to be a very strong argument for it! This exemplifies the minute accuracy of the Synoptic Gospels, both in time and place, i.e. this took place during the month of Passover, figs located on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives etc. This provides evidence for an early dating of Matthew and Mark - or, at the very least, shows that they were dependent on very old and early material - well before the fall of Jerusalem. After all, the knowledge of these horticultural details would most likely have been lost or unknown to authors writing after the destruction of Jerusalem.
Furthermore, as Stern stated, the cursing of the fig tree is an acted-out parable. In the OT the fig tree symbolizes national Israel:
"I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, AND THEIR LEAVES WILL WITHER. What I have given them will be taken from them.'" Jeremiah 8:13
"You may say, 'The LORD has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,' but this is what the LORD says about the king who sits on David's throne and all the people who remain in this city, your countrymen who did not go with you into exile- yes, this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will send the sword, famine and plague against them and I will make them like poor figs that are so bad they cannot be eaten. I will pursue them with the sword, famine and plague and will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth and an object of cursing and horror, of scorn and reproach, among all the nations where I drive them. For they have not listened to my words,' declares the LORD, 'words that I sent to them again and again by my servants the prophets. And you exiles have not listened either,' declares the LORD." Jeremiah 29:15-19
"When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, IT WAS LIKE SEEING THE EARLY FRUIT ON THE FIG TREE. But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved... Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring."" Hosea 9:10, 16
"What misery is mine! I am like one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave. The godly have been swept from the land; not one upright man remains. All men lie in wait to shed blood; each hunts his brother with a net. Both hands are skilled in doing evil; the ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire- they all conspire together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day of your watchmen has come, the day God visits you. Now is the time of their confusion. Micah 7:1-4
"All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater." Nahum 3:12
Hence, Christ sought after what the OT says Yahweh was searching for, namely the spiritual fruit that national Israel owed God. Yet, instead Christ found them spiritually dead.
"Then he told this parable: 'A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, "For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?" "Sir," the man replied, "leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down."'" Luke 13:6-9
Seeing that Christ found no fruit, God would now intervene and bring destruction upon the nation:
"He then began to speak to them in parables: ‘A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, "They will respect my son." But the tenants said to one another, "This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours." So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.’" Mark 12:1-9
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'" Matthew 23:37-39
"As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace-but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.'" Luke 19:41-44
"So they stirred up the people and the elders and the teachers of the law. They seized Stephen and brought him before the Sanhedrin. They produced false witnesses, who testified, 'This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us.'" Acts 6:12-14
Although these Jews were trying to falsely accuse Stephen, there was some truth to what they said since Jesus did speak of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.
This means that Shabir's entire premise that Christ's divine nature acted at the behest of his limited human nature collapses completely. Hence, no further comment is necessary.
But God does not act on ignorance. Surely He would know, as Mark knew, that it was not the season for figs, and that when fig season arrives that tree will provide fruit for God's creatures. Why would God curse a good tree which he created? Some would like to believe that the tree was barren and therefore deserved to be destroyed. But, if Mark was right, the reason the tree had no fruit is "because it was not the season for figs" (Mark 12, v. 13).
It is not God who is acting in ignorance but it is Shabir's ignorance about fig trees that leads to such assertions. See above for the answer.
These Bible references clearly show that Jesus was not the all-powerful, all-knowing God. But there is more, much more. Please read on.
Indeed, continue to read our responses which expose the fallacies inherent in Shabir's reasoning. Before concluding this section, we present the following lines of evidence from Mark's gospel which support that the Evangelist clearly believed that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh.
Jesus is pictured as Yahweh with John as Yahweh's Messenger
"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in Isaiah the prophet: 'I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way'- 'a voice of one calling in the desert, "Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him."' And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie." Mark 1:1-7
John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Christ. Yet, according to Mark John was the messenger of Yahweh who was predicted to go ahead of the Lord to prepare for his coming. This implies that Jesus is Yahweh since John came to prepare the way for Christ. John also testifies that he is not worthy to even untie the thongs of Christ's sandal, implying that Christ is deserving of greater honor than the Baptist, as well as testifying that Christ is more powerful than he could ever be.
Jesus Performs Divine Functions
"I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit." Mark 1:8
Christ has the authority to baptize individuals with the Holy Spirit, a function the Old Testament attributes to Yahweh God:
"'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.'" Ezekiel 36:24-28
"'You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the LORD your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed. Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the LORD your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.'" Joel 2:26-32
Jesus Has Authority To Forgive Sins
"... And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men... And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, `My son, your sins are forgiven.' But there were some of the scribes sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, `Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?' And immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, said to them, `Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, "Your sins are forgiven"; or to say, "Arise take up your pallet and walk"? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' - He said to the paralytic - `I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go home.' And he rose and immediately took up the pallet and went out in the sight of all; so that they were all amazed and were glorifying God, saying, `We have never seen anything like this.'" Mark 2:3, 5-12
The scribes correctly understood that for Jesus to claim that he could forgive sins meant that he was identifying himself as God. Instead of correcting their understanding, Jesus reinforces it by affirming his authority to both heal and forgive the paralytic. This is astonishingly reminiscent of what the OT attributes to Yahweh:
"Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases," Psalm 103:2-3
Jesus is Lord Over the Sabbath
"Consequently, the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath." Mark 2:28
For Jesus to override Sabbath restrictions, claiming to have authority over it, meant that he was claiming Yahweh's authority for himself. Seeing that the Sabbath was instituted for the service of Yahweh meant that no one except Yahweh could override Sabbath regulations. (cf. Leviticus 2:23) Hence, Jesus does what God alone can do.
Jesus Has Authority Over Demons and Nature
"Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 'What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!' 'Be quiet!' said Jesus sternly. 'Come out of him!' The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, What is this? A new teaching-and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." Mark 1:23-27
During the time of Christ, it was believed that if demons knew a person's name they would be able to control him at will. Here, the demons knew Christ yet were utterly powerless in his presence. This implies that Jesus is all-powerful, exhibiting power that was unparalleled at his time. This is why the crowds were astonished that Christ had power over the demons and could make them obey him. Furthermore, the demons themselves admit that Christ had power to destroy them.
"Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, 'You are the Son of God.' But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was." Mark 3:11-12
Here, we find even demons falling down in homage before the presence of the Son of God.
"When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, 'What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!' For Jesus had said to him, 'Come out of this man, you evil spirit!'" Mark 5:2-8
Once more we find the demons falling down in worship before Christ, confessing him as the Son of God and admitting that he has the power to destroy them.
"Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care if we drown?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, 'Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?' They were terrified and asked each other, 'Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!'" Mark 4:36-41
Again, Jesus' ability to control the waves and storms is remarkably reminiscent of what the OT says Yahweh can do:
"You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations. Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy. Psalm 65:5-8
"For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." Psalm 107:25-27
"Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!" Proverbs 30:4
Jesus has sovereign power and is able to delegate authority to others
"Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve-designating them apostles-that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons." Mark 3:13-15
"And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits... They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. Mark 6:6-7, 12-13
"John said to Him, 'Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to hinder him because he was not following us.' But Jesus said, 'Do not hinder him, for there is no one who shall perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me.'" Mark 9:38-39
Scripture clearly teaches that miracles occur solely through the power and authority of God. Yet, we find that Jesus is capable of empowering individuals to perform miracles and wonders in his name. This is an implicit witness to the deity of Christ. This affirms that Christ is omnipotent and omnipresent since he is able to empower his followers to perform these wonders wherever they may be.
Jesus is the Unique Son of God and the Divine Heir
"And He began to speak to them in parables: 'A man PLANTED A VINEYARD, AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT, AND DUG A VAT UNDER the wind press, and built a TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. And at harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. And they took him, and beat, and sent him away empty-handed. And again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some, and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, "They will respect my son." But those vine-growers said to one another, "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!" And they took him, and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard'... And they (chief priest, scribes, and elders) were seeking to seize Him; and yet they feared the multitude; for they understood that He spoke the parable against them. And so they left Him, and went away." Mark 12:1-8, 12
In this parable, the Owner represents God with the vineyard representing Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 5:1-7). The vine-growers represent the ruling Jewish class, and the slaves represent the prophets of God. Jesus' view of himself is not that of a slave, but the Owner's beloved Son and heir of the estate. This clearly affirms that Jesus felt that he was more than a prophet and believed that he was greater than the rest of the prophets who were simply servants of God.
Jesus also implicitly affirms his preexistence, since as the Son he was already present with the Father prior to his being sent to the vine-growers.
Jesus is the Divine Son of Man
"... Again the high priest was questioning Him, saying to Him, 'Are You the Christ, The Son of the Blessed One?' And Jesus said, 'I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" Mark 14:61-62
Christ claims to be the Son of Man of Daniel 7:13-14 who was given divine authority to rule forever, with the nations serving him perpetually.
Jesus Is David's Lord
"And Jesus answering them began to say, as He taught in the temple, 'How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? David himself said in the Holy Spirit, "The Lord said to my Lord, 'Sit at My right hand, until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet.'" David himself calls Him 'Lord'; and so in what sense is He his son?'..." Mark 12:35-37
The only way for the Messiah to be both the son of David and his Lord is if he were both divine and human at the same time. This passage also bears witness to God's Triunity (i.e., "Holy Spirit", "Lord" and "My Lord").
Jesus is the Judge of the Nations
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." Mark 8:38
Christ claims that he will come again in his Father's glory with the angels in judgment against those who have denied him.
"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens." Mark 13:26-27
Christ once again claims that he will return at the consummation of the age to gather God's people. Interestingly, Christ states that both the elect and the angels are his (i.e. "his angels", "his elect"). This is an astonishing claim since no prophet or angel can say this seeing that the angels and the elect belong to God alone, being God's creation and possession.
God Testifies That Christ Is His Divine Son
"At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: 'You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.'" Mark 1:9-11
This passage is also Trinitarian in nature since we find the Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together in perfect unity.
"After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, 'Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters-one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.' (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: 'This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!'" Mark 9:2-7
Not only does God testify that Jesus is his beloved Son, but commands the disciples to obey his Son!
Jesus is Omniscient
Mark implicitly affirms that Jesus is indeed all knowing. Compare the following examples:
"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven.' Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 'Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?' Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, 'Why are you thinking these things?'" Mark 2:5-8
Christ was able to know immediately what the teachers of the law were reasoning within themselves. This implies that Christ can read and know a person's very own thoughts.
Christ also foretold his death and resurrection, as well as his betrayal and abandonment:
"He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31
"They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.'" Mark 9:30-31
"They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. 'We are going up to Jerusalem,' he said, 'and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.'" Mark 10:32-34
"They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, elders and teachers of the law came together... The high priest tore his clothes. 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' he asked. 'You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?' They all condemned him as worthy of death. Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, 'Prophesy!' And the guards took him and beat him." Mark 14:53, 63-65
"Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate... Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, 'Hail, king of the Jews!' Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him." Mark 15:1, 15-20
"When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, 'I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me-one who is eating with me.' They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, 'Surely not I?' 'It is one of the Twelve,' he replied, 'one who dips bread into the bowl with me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.'" Mark 14:17-21
"Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.' Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, 'Rabbi!' and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him." Mark 14:43-46
"'You will all fall away,' Jesus told them, 'for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered." But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.' Peter declared, 'Even if all fall away, I will not.' 'I tell you the truth,' Jesus answered, 'today-yes, tonight-before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.' But Peter insisted emphatically, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the others said the same." Mark 14:27-31
"Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. Mark 14:50-51
"While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. 'You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,' she said. But he denied it. 'I don't know or understand what you're talking about,' he said, and went out into the entryway. When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, 'This fellow is one of them.' Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, 'Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.' He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, I don't know this man you're talking about.' Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.' And he broke down and wept. Mark 14:66-72
Other miraculous displays of Jesus' omniscience include:
"They came to Capernaum. When he was in the house, he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?' But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest. Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.'" Mark 9:33-35
Christ already knew what the disciples were arguing about and proceeded to answer their question without the disciples telling him beforehand why they were arguing. Hence, Christ doesn't ask because he did not know but asked in order to procure a confession from them. This again implicitly testifies to Christ's omniscience.
"As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, 'Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!' 'Do you see all these great buildings?' replied Jesus. 'Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.'" Mark 13:1-2
David Stern records the stunning fulfillment of this amazing prophecy:
"Not one stone will be left on another, absolutely everything will be demolished. This prophecy was fulfilled literally in 70 C.E., when Rome overwhelmed the First Jewish Rebellion by capturing Jerusalem and sacking the Temple. Excavations made after the Six-Day War revealed enormous stones from the Western Wall of the Temple Court (of which the still-standing 'Wailing Wall' is part) lying helter-skelter, not one left on another." (Stern, p. 98)
The following last examples are astonishing.
"As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, "Why are you doing this?" tell him, "The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly."' They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, 'What are you doing, untying that colt?' They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.'" Mark 11:1-6
"On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, 'Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?' So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, 'Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Say to the owner of the house he enters, "The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.' The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover." Mark 14:12-16
These passages demonstrate Jesus' ability to see not just the future but also to see distant surroundings without having to be physically present at these places. This implies that Christ is also omnipresent.
"Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. 'First let the children eat all they want,' he told her, "for it is not right to take the children's bread and toss it to their dogs.' 'Yes, Lord,' she replied, 'but even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs.' Then he told her, 'For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.' She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone." Mark 7:24-30
In this example, Christ is not only able to know that the demon has left the woman's daughter without having to be there physically to see it but is also able to cast out demons from a distance. This demonstrates that Christ is omnipotent.
"While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly. 'Leave her alone,' said Jesus. 'Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.'" Mark 14:3-9
Here, Christ knows beforehand that the Gospel would be proclaimed throughout the world. Christ also knew that this story of the woman's anointing him would be part of that proclamation as well.
Jesus Is the Great I AM of the OT
Interestingly, we find Mark implicitly testifying to Jesus being the divine I AM of the OT:
"And immediately he constrained his disciples to go into the boat, and to go before to the other side, unto Bethsaida, till he may let the multitude away, and having taken leave of them, he went away to the mountain to pray. And evening having come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone upon the land; and he saw them harassed in the rowing, for the wind was against them, and about the fourth watch of the night he doth come to them walking on the sea, and wished to pass by them. And they having seen him walking on the sea, thought [it] to be an apparition, and cried out, for they all saw him, and were troubled, and immediately he spake with them, and saith to them, ‘Take courage, I AM (Greek- ego eimi), be not afraid.’ And he went up unto them to the boat, and the wind lulled, and greatly out of measure were they amazed in themselves, and were wondering, for they understood not concerning the loaves, for their heart hath been hard." Mark 6:45-52 Young’s Literal Translation
What is even more interesting is that John also records the same event:
"When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘I AM (Greek- ego eimi); don't be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading." John 6:16-21
Compare Jesus’ statements in Mark and John with what Yahweh says in Isaiah:
"Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD - with the first of them and with the last - I am he... ‘Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,’ declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel." Isaiah 41:4,14
"But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth - everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf. All the nations gather together and the peoples assemble. Which of them foretold this and proclaimed to us the former things? Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right, so that others may hear and say, "It is true." You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed - I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?’" Isaiah 43:1-13
The late Catholic NT scholar Raymond E. Brown comments on the usage of I AM in both John and the Synoptic Gospels in relation to Yahweh’s use of the title in Isaiah:
"Against this background the absolute use of ‘I AM’ by the Johannine Jesus becomes quite intelligible; he was speaking in the same manner in which Yahweh speaks in Deutero-Isaiah. For instance, in John 8:28 Jesus promises that when the Son of Man is lifted up (in return to the Father), ‘then you will know ego eimi’; in Isaiah 43:10 Yahweh has chosen Israel, ‘that you may know and believe me and understand ego eimi.’ The absolute Johannine use of ‘I AM’ has the effect of portraying Jesus as divine with (pre)existence as his identity, even as the Greek OT understood the God of Israel.
"John did not invent this usage, for there are examples that verge on the absolute use of ego eimi in the Synoptics even though one can argue that a predicate is assumed. For instance, in Matt 14:27 (Mark 6:50): As Jesus comes walking across the water, he says to the disciples in the boat, ‘Ego eimi; do not be afraid.’ This is the same use we saw in John 6:20 (footnote 202). That in this scene Matthew intends more than a simple ‘It is I’ is suggested by the profession of faith elicited by the disciples (Matt 14:33), ‘Truly you are God’s Son!’ Or again, when speaking of the signs of the last days Jesus warns, ‘Many will come in my name, saying ego eimi’ (Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8). The context does not clearly suggest a predicate (even though Matt’s 24:5: ‘I am the Messiah’); and the juxtaposition of ego eimi and ‘my name’ brings us close to Johannine usage..." (Brown, Introduction to New Testament Christology [Paulist Press; Mahwah, NJ 1994], p. 139)
In his footnote 202, Brown comments on two additional Johannine usages of I AM, one of which has direct bearing on Mark 6:50:
"I would include two other texts. The first is 6:20 where the disciples in the boat are frightened because they see someone coming to them on the water, and Jesus assures them, ‘I AM; do not be afraid.’ The second is 18:5: The soldiers and police who have come to the garden across the Kidron to arrest Jesus announce that they are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, and he answers, ‘I AM.’ Some would tell us that the first means simply, ‘It is I, i.e. someone whom you know and not a supernatural being or ghost.’ And they would tell us that the second means simply, ‘I am he, i.e. the one you are looking for.’ A better solution is to recognize a play on the expression ‘I AM’ as having a twofold meaning: While it has a simpler story-line import (as just exemplified), it also has a higher connotation. In the first example, the sacral comes from the context that involved Jesus’ walking on the water and a dangerous storm from which they are immediately brought to land: in the second example it comes from those who, hearing Jesus’ response, fall back to the ground. Both, then, would be instances of a theophany or divine appearance of one who, like the God of Israel, is master of storms and the sea and at the mention of whose name every knee must bend." (Ibid., p. 137)
Seeing that Mark adopts the story of Jesus’ walking on the water and his usage of I AM, strongly argues the case that Mark’s whole point is to portray Jesus as Yahweh God. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, a favorite of Shabir’s, agrees with this assessment:
"(b) WALKING ON THE WATERS (6:45-52). The approach to this story as an epiphany/theophany is most consistent with Mark's presentation. The twin focus is Jesus and the disciples: (1) The divine identity of Jesus is suggested by his walking on the waters, his passing by them, and his words, 'It is I'... The OT portrays walking on water as a divine function (see Job 9:8; 38:16). The representation of Jesus as walking on water thus carries an implicit claim about his divinity. he wanted to pass by them: The implicit christological claim is strengthened by the use of the vb. parelthein, which was linked with the theophany tradition in the LXX (see Exod 33:19,22; 34:6; 1 Kgs 19:11). Its appearance in the LXX of Amos 7:8; 8:2 also suggests that Jesus desired to help his disciples in their difficulty... I am He: In the context of self-disclosure and theophany, this phrase must allude to the OT revelation formula (Exod 3:14; Deut 32:39; Isa 41:4; 43:10) applied to Yahweh, thus contributing to the implicit christological message of the text. The formula ego eimi is prominent in John..." (NJBC, eds. Raymond E. Brown, SS, Joseph A Fitzmeyer, S.J., Roland E. Murphy, O.Carm [Prentice Hall; Englewood Cliffs, NJ], p. 611)
The New American Bible, another favorites of Shabir’s, concurs:
"6,50: It is I, do not be afraid!: literally, ‘I am.’ This may reflect the divine revelatory formula of Ex 3,14; Is 41,4.10.14; 43,1-3.10.13. Mark implies the hidden identity of Jesus as Son of God."
The Zondervan NIV Bible Commentary Volume 2: New Testament comments on Matthew 14:25-27, which is a Markan parallel and hence applies to Mark 6:50 as well:
"25-27 The Romans divided the night from sunset to sunrise into four watches (reflected here). Jesus’ approach to the boat therefore occurred between 3 00 A.M. and 6:00 A.M. The disciples were terrified, thinking they were seeing an apparition or ghost. ‘Take courage!’ and ‘Don't be afraid’ bracket the central reason for his calming exhortations: ‘It is I.’ Although the Greek words for ‘It is I’ (‘I am’) can have no more force than that, any Christian after the Resurrection and Ascension would also detect echoes of ‘I Am,’ the decisive, self-disclosure of God (Ex 3:14; Isa 51:12; cf. Jn 8:58). Once again we find Jesus revealing himself in a veiled way that will prove especially rich to Christians after his resurrection (see comment on 8:20)." (Kenneth L. Barker & John R. Kohlenberger III [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1994], p. 73)
The Life Application Bible Commentary on Mark states:
"Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." Jesus called out to the disciples over the storm, telling them to take courage. He identified himself and told them not be afraid any longer. The literal reading for ‘It is I’ is ‘I am’ (Greek, ego eimi); it is the same as saying ‘the I AM is here’ or ‘I, Yahweh, am here’ (see Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 41:4; 43:10; 52:6). Jesus, the ‘I AM,’ came with unexpected help and encouragement during the disciples’ time of desperate need." (Ibid. [Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Wheaton, Il. 1994], p. 189)
Finally, in the Case for Christ Lee Strobel interviews Dr. Craig L. Blomberg on the divine claims of Jesus. Lee begins:
"John makes very explicit claims of Jesus being God, which some attribute to the fact that he wrote later than the others and began embellishing things," I said. "Can you find this theme of deity in the synoptics?"
"Yes, I can," he said. "It’s more implicit but you find it there. Think of the story of Jesus walking on the water, found in Matthew 14:22-33 and Mark 6:45-52. Most English translations hide the Greek by quoting Jesus as saying, ‘Fear not it is I.’ Actually, the Greek literally says, ‘Fear not, I am.’ Those last two words are identical to what Jesus said in John 8:58 when he took upon himself the divine name ‘I AM,’ which is the way God revealed himself to Moses in the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. So Jesus is revealing himself as the one who has the same divine power over nature as Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament." (Strobel [Zondervan Publishing House; Grand Rapids, MI 1998], p. 29)
The preceding lines of evidence taken entirely from Mark's Gospel establish beyond any reasonable doubt that the Evangelist believed that Jesus is the Divine Unique Son of God, Deity in the flesh.
Christ is Lord forever! Amen.
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