Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Is Jesus God? Part 5

This is part 5 of the series on the deity of Christ. Today the focus will be on James's understanding of the deity of Jesus.

James 2:1
One of the more intriguing references to Christ’s deity in the New Testament comes from one of Jesus’ own brothers, according to the flesh. One of the main reasons why this is such an intriguing attestation of Christ’s deity is because James seems to have been very slow to believe that Jesus was God. In fact we are told that during Christ’s earthly ministry, James did not believe in Him.[26] The amazing statement that James makes concerning Jesus is found in James 2:1 where James writes, “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory.” This statement by James shows that not only has he come to embrace his earthly brother as the Messiah (i.e. Christ), but he has also recognized His divine nature as well. James was steeped in the Old Testament Scriptures and so when he writes that Jesus Christ is the Lord of glory it would seem that he is making a significant connection with the Old Testament description of Yahweh as the Lord of Glory. It appears that James’ mind is:

Fixed on those Old Testament passages in which Jehovah is described as the “Glory”: e.g., “For I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round about, and I will be the Glory in the midst of her” (Zech 2:5) In the Lord Jesus Christ, James sees the fulfillment of these promises: He is Jehovah come to be with His people; and, as He has tabernacled among them, they have seen His glory. He is, in a word, the Glory of God, the Shekinah: God manifest to men.[27]

In other words, when James is referring to Jesus Christ he is “following a common NT pattern of, in which attributes and titles given to God in the OT are applied also to Jesus Christ. As the manifestation of God’s presence, he is ‘the glorious one.’”[28] Thus, James is also in agreement with Peter and Paul that Jesus Christ is indeed God.

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