Lord of All
It was a holiday weekend back in 2010, and I was visiting my brother-in-law and his family in Sanderson, Texas, the cactus capital of the world. It’s not quite the end of the earth, but you can see it from there. Sanderson is located about 20 miles from the Mexican border, and the only reason we were there is because my brother-in-law is a border patrol agent. At the time, there were 900 people living in the entire county…and it’s a big county. There aren’t many places more remote than that small town. The locals call it “God’s country.” My brother-in-law says, “If it’s God’s country, He must want us to leave. It’s covered in every kind of cactus you can imagine!”
That weekend I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of “Jehovah’s Witnesses” who were knocking on doors and sharing their message. It was my first encounter with these folks, and several things struck me right away. First, they were willing to drive to Sanderson. That shows some major dedication! Second, they were very sincere in their beliefs. And third, they seemed to really like the Bible.
It was this last point that fascinated me. Here was a group of people who had rejected historic Christianity, claiming that the Trinity didn’t make sense to them and therefore had to be unbiblical. And yet, they were working so hard to anchor their beliefs in the New Testament.
Since that time I’ve been overwhelmed by how often the New Testament clearly reveals the deity of Christ. Here are a few of the more obvious examples.
1. Peter claimed Jesus was “Lord of all.” In Acts 10, as Peter is sharing the gospel with Cornelius, he refers to Jesus Christ as “Lord of all,” a title which speaks of His universal reign. In the Old Testament, that universal reign was attributed to Yahweh (or “Jehovah”) in Joshua 3:13. So when God says, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another” (Isaiah 42:8), He automatically eliminates the possibility that there could be another person with a universal reign. There is only one “Lord of all,” and that is the Triune God who has existed eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. Jesus claimed to be God. He said, “Before Abraham was born, I am.” (John 8:58)
There are several important things to note in this simple statement. First, Abraham lived on earth about 2,000 years before Jesus, and yet Jesus claimed to exist before him. Jesus is claiming to be more than just human. Second, Jesus uses the present tense (“I am”), which violates the rules of grammar. In this context, He was clearly referencing Exodus 3:14, claiming to be Yahweh (or “Jehovah”) who brought Israel out of Egypt. Third, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus meant by this statement and tried to kill him for claiming to be God. And yet Jesus didn’t try to clarify things, as if they had misunderstood Him. He meant exactly what He said.
3. Jesus is worshiped as God in the New Testament (Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 1:17), even though we are explicitly taught that worship belongs to God alone (Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9; Acts 10:25-26).
4. John claimed Jesus was distinct from the Father, but fully divine (John 1:1). “The construction the evangelist chose to express this idea was the most concise way he could have stated that the Word was God and yet was distinct from the Father.” (Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, 266-9)
We shouldn’t be surprised that the “Trinity” is a difficult concept for us to understand. After all, God is completely unique. We’ve never seen anything like Him. The clear testimony of the Scriptures is that God exists eternally as three distinct persons with one essence. So don’t be led astray by a stranger at your door.
When people try to reduce God to something more easily understood, they always miss the mark of who He really is.
“There is none like You, O Lord!” (Jeremiah 10:6)