Digital Discipleship Library

Jesus’ Followers

Jesus’ Followers

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Jesus claimed to be God, but many people will say, including The Da Vinci Code book and others, “But none of His followers ever claimed He was God or in any way attributed to Him divine attributes.”  You know, I do not know how you can say that and be intellectually honest with what history tells us. 

For example, the apostle Paul is a follower of Christ.  Paul said in Romans chapter 8, verse 3, “What the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,” sending His own son, the Son of God. 

Then, in Philippians 2 verse 6, Paul said, “Though He was God,” He states right there, “Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God.”

Then in Colossians, the apostle Paul wrote, “He is the image of the invisible God.” 

And then the author of Hebrews, whether it was Paul or not, says, “After He spoke long ago, He spoke to us in His Son.”  Jesus’ followers were convinced that Jesus claimed to be God, all down through history that is true. 

When Dan Brown and others will say, “All of His followers never claimed He was God.  They never attributed to Him to be the Son of God or being divine.”  And then Dan Brown went on and would make that emphasis of the early church fathers.  Let us see what history teaches.  Justin Martyr said of Jesus, “Being the first begotten Word of God, even God.” Then Justin went on to say that Jesus is both God and Lord.  That was in his First Apology chapter six. 

Then Irenaeus about AD 177 in Against Heresies, he states of Jesus, “Our Lord, and Our God.” 

Then about 153 AD, Clement of Alexandria said about Jesus, “He was His Son.” 

Then Ignatius of Antioch said, “God, existing in the flesh even Jesus our Lord.”  Then Ignatius of Antioch went on to say, “He was God incarnate.  God Himself appearing in the form of man.” 

Then Gregory Thaumaturgies said, “There is one Lord, only of the only God of God, true Son of the Father.” 

And then Melito of Sardis around AD 177 said, “He was man, yet He is God.”  

Pliny the Younger wrote to the Emperor Trajan, “The early Christians were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day when they sang a hymn to Christ as to a god.”  

All through history, from Jesus and then His immediate disciples and all His later followers showed that Jesus not only claimed to be God; but they believed Him to be God in human flesh.

SUMMARY: Jesus claimed to be God and his followers claim He was God.  Yet many critics have said otherwise including The Da Vinci Code author. What is the reality in history?  The apostle Paul, a follower of Christ says in Romans 8:3, “God . . . sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.”  And Paul says in Philippians 2:6, “Though He was God . . .” And he also makes deity statements about Jesus in Colossians and Hebrews, Irenaeus about AD 177 in Against Heresies states, “our Lord, and our God.”  Clement of Alexandria in 153 AD wrote “He was His Son.”  Then Ignatius of Antioch said, “God, existing in the flesh even Jesus our Lord.  He was God incarnate.  God Himself appearing in the form of man.”  Gregory Thaumaturgies a Third Century bishop said, “There is one Lord, only of the only God of God, true Son of the Father.”  Melito of Sardis around AD 177 wrote, “He was man, yet He is God.”  And Pliny the Younger, a First and early Second Century lawyer wrote to Emperor Trajan, “The early Christians were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day when they sang a hymn to Christ as to a god.”  All through history from Jesus and His immediate disciples, all showed that Jesus not only claimed to be God, but they believed Him to be God in human flesh.

QUESTIONS:                                                                                                                                              

1. What are some scriptures that show Jesus’ followers knew Jesus to be God? 
2. What did Irenaeus say about Jesus?                                                  
3. What did Clement of Alexandria say about Jesus?
4. What did Ignatius of Antioch write about Jesus? 
5. What did Gregory of Thaumaturgies say about Jesus?      
6. How many First, Second, and Third century Christians leaders make reference to Jesus as being God.
7. Who did Jesus claim to be?