My Lord and My God: Jesus' Divinity Affirmed

The words of Thomas to Jesus are simply shocking on the lips of an orthodox Jew. Before him stood a man; a humble peasant; a carpenter from Nazareth turned travelling Rabbi; a man he had watched eat and drink, grow tired and sleep; a man who had been brutally scourged and crucified; a man with nail pierced hands outstretched toward him saying, "Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe."

Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)

Shocking as they were, Thomas’ words were not the most startling words of the scene. There are several occasions in the Bible where people misdirected their worship to God’s servants. Revelation 22:8-9 is a case in point.

I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, "You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." (Revelation 22:8-9)

The consistent response to receiving misplaced worship is to redirect it to God. In the case of Thomas however, Jesus offered no rebuke. Rather he accepted Thomas’ worship, implicitly affirming the truthfulness of the confession. With this response, Jesus closed the door for all time on views that would regard him as a mere prophet or teacher. C.S. Lewis proclaimed this fact with pointed clarity.

'I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'[1]

The ascription of deity to Jesus didn’t end with Thomas. The New Testament contains several other explicit identifications of Jesus as God.

No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (John 1:18)
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)
waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13) 
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1)

How do you regard Jesus? Will you adopt Thomas' words as your own? "Jesus, you are my Lord and my God."

[1] C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 40-41

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