Is Jesus God?

by Edmond Lo
Second Sunday of Easter (or Sunday of Divine Mercy)

Acts 5:12-16

Revelation 1:9-11A, 12-13, 17-19

John 20:19-31

“My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28) – In a few simple words, Thomas’ exclamation on encountering the risen Christ is counted amongst some of the best known verses in the Bible.

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, “Kyrios” – “Lord” – is a title used to refer to YHWH, the God of Israel (CCC 446). Thomas’ exclamation which is directed to Jesus, in other words, represents his assertion of Jesus’ divinity. Similar assertions can also be found in other NT passages, e.g. Phil. 2:11.

Scriptural evidences of Jesus’ divinity, both direct and indirect, are rich and numerous in both the New and the Old Testaments. In addition to Thomas’ assertion that addressed Jesus as God in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, the following scriptural passages should also be mentioned:

  • John 10:30-36 in which the Jews accused Jesus of blasphemy because they believed he claimed to be God.
  • Colossians 2:9 – “For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily…”
  • The Immanuel prophecy of Isaiah 7:14. Since Matthew sees Jesus as the fulfillment of this prophecy (c.f. Mt. 1:23), Jesus is Immanuel or “God is with us”.
  • Isaiah 9:5 – “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
  • Various OT passages predicting that God would come to save His people personally, including, for example, Ez 34:11, Is. 40:9-11, and 59:16-17.

Through the ecumenical councils of Nicaea (325), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451), and Constantinople (553), the Church affirms that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man.

Why was it necessary for God, the Father, to save us by sending His own Son, who was divine? Why didn’t He simply send, for example, an angel or a really nice guy like Abraham or Moses? This is because sin had ushered in a huge separation between God and man, which could only be bridged by Jesus who, as the Son of God and the “only Mediator between God and the human race” (1 Tim 2:5), was both human and divine.

No one summed up this important doctrine better than St. Athanasius, the great defender of Jesus’ divinity against Arianism, when he said, “The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men could become the sons of God.”

On this second Sunday of Easter, let’s rejoice in hope because Jesus, who “hold the keys to death and the netherworld”, has overpowered death and is “alive forever and ever” (Rev 1:18). We wait for him to return to fulfill his promise that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him (on) the last day” (Jn 6:40).