Christ’s Deity: The “Theos” Factor

Rev. Tony Cooke

This article is excerpted from my book, Magnificent Jesus.

Theos is the Greek word for God. It is where we get our word “Theology.” Though it typically is used regarding God the Father, it is also used at times of the Lord Jesus. Let’s look at some of these New Testament instances.

  1.  The Word was with God, and the Word was God (theos) (John 1:1).
  2. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God (theos), is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us (John 1:18 NIV).
  3. Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God (theos)!” (John 20:28 NIV).
  4. Paul told the elders of the church of Ephesus to “Be shepherds of the church of God (theos), which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28 NIV). We know that it was Jesus who died and bled on the cross, but Paul refers to the payment as being that of God’s own blood. The simplest explanation of this is that God had become a man in the Person of Jesus, and had
    shed his blood for us.
  5. Paul also referred to Jesus as “the Messiah, who is God (theos) over all, forever praised! Amen” (Romans 9:5 NIV).
  6. Though he [Jesus] was God (theos), he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to (Philippians 2:6).
  7. …we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God (theos) and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed (Titus 2:13).
  8. Regarding the Father speaking to Jesus, the author of Hebrews wrote, “But to the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God (theos), endures forever and ever’” (Hebrews 1:8).
  9. After identifying himself, Peter begins his second epistle with these words, “I am writing to you who share the same precious faith we have. This faith was given to you because of the justice and fairness of Jesus Christ, our God (theos) and Savior”(2 Peter 1:1).
  10. …we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God (theos), and he is eternal life (1 John 5:20).
    This list of Scriptures obviously focuses on the deity of Jesus, but let’s look at other material that focuses on his humanity. We just came out of the Christmas Season, and all that we celebrated, his incarnation and virgin birth were the keys to God becoming man.

The Humanity of Jesus

Jesus was born and raised in a family. His neighbors watched him grow up. He learned Scripture as was customary for Jewish young boys, and like Joseph, he became a carpenter. He faced temptations and challenges throughout life. He had friends, and wept at the tomb of Lazarus when he died. He was disappointed when people rejected him because he knew they were rejecting the hand of God stretched out to help them (see Luke 19:41-44).

Jesus experienced realities common to physical humanity. As a man, he experienced things he would not have had he remained exclusively in his deity.

  • Jesus experienced hunger (Mark 11:2), but God does not (Psalm 50:12).
  • After strenuous travel, Jesus was tired (John 4:6), but God is never tired (Isaiah
  • Jesus slept (Matthew 8:24), but God never sleeps (Psalm 121:4).
  • Jesus was tempted (Hebrews 5:14), but God cannot be tempted (James 1:13).
  • Jesus died (John 19:30), but God cannot die (1 Timothy 6:16).

All these things Jesus experienced because he had become human, had taken on flesh.
Jesus was not an emotionless robot. He was not an automaton that simply carried out its pre-programmed instructions. He had feelings, frustrations, and friendships. He experienced love, grief, and joy. Sometimes people think that Jesus cannot relate to them because he is too lofty and perfect — too far removed from us. Yet Scripture tells us that he is able to sympathize with us because he has faced all the same kinds of challenges we face in life (see Hebrews 15:14).

What kind of emotions did Jesus experience? Scripture lists a massive number including zeal, joy, weeping, tears, compassion, love, friendship, amazement, being deeply moved, anger, desire, distress, and anguish. Further, Jesus experienced human growth and limitations. Luke 2:40 states that “the child grew and became strong…” (NIV). A few verses later we read that “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people” (Luke 2:52). Spurgeon was 100% right when he said, “Remember, Christ was not a deified man, neither was he a humanized God. He was perfectly God and at the same time perfectly man.”