Witnesses To The Deity of Jesus Christ
In our last study, we saw that angels are a mighty host of witnesses to the Deity of Jesus Christ. We move next to members of His earthly family. Though Jesus was God, He humbled Himself and became a Man so He would be the Heavenly sacrifice for the sins of the world (Philippians 2:5-8).
Mary and Elizabeth
God chose a young Jewish girl named Mary to become the earthly mother of Jesus. The angel Gabriel told Mary that the Holy Spirit of God would come upon her, and the Power of the Highest would overshadow her, and she would conceive and give birth to “that Holy One” Who would be called “the Son of God.” God did as He said He would do and Mary supernaturally became pregnant with Jesus.
Mary went to visit an elderly relative named Elizabeth. Elizabeth, the wife of the priest Zacharias, was already pregnant with the baby boy who would grow up to become the prophet John the Baptist. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby inside Elizabeth leaped in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Here’s what Elizabeth said about Mary:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:42-45
Notice that Elizabeth called Mary “the mother of my Lord.” That’s another term for God. Elizabeth prophesied and said that what God had told Mary would be fulfilled.
Mary was also filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied after Elizabeth:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.” Luke 1:46-55
Mary knew that what God was doing in her was something so great that all generations that followed would call her blessed because of it. The Greek word used here is makarizo and means “to pronounce happy, fully satisfied.”
Mary had a front row seat to what God was going to do for Israel and the world. She witnessed the visits of shepherds and wise men who came to visit her Child. She saw the wise men bow before Jesus and worship Him. Mary witnessed Simeon take the baby Jesus in his arms and speak as the Holy Spirit came upon him:
“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:29-32
Mary watched as the elderly prophetess Anna told everyone looking for redemption in Israel about Jesus as she gave thanks to the Lord. (Luke 2:36-38) Mary was also witness to the 12-year-old Jesus astounding teachers in the Temple in Jerusalem with His knowledge and understanding of the Law of God. When Mary asked Jesus why He left them to go to the Temple, He answered: “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) It might seem strange for Jesus to talk about teaching in the Temple as His Father’s “business” since Joseph, Mary’s husband, was a carpenter, but it demonstrates that Jesus had come for one Holy Purpose.
Mary was a witness to her Son’s earthly ministry, including His Death, Resurrection and Ascension. She knew for certain when she saw Him alive after His Death on the Cross that her Son was everything the angel had told her He would be – God in Flesh.
Though Joseph, Mary’s husband, helped raise Jesus and acted as His human father, Joseph died before Jesus began His earthly ministry. We do know that Joseph was witness to the angel’s message about Mary and the Baby she carried in her womb. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21) Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. He took Mary as his wife and did not have sexual union with her until after she gave birth to her Son. Joseph called His Name Jesus.
Joseph was also a witness to the visit of the shepherds and wise men. He heard what Simeon and Anna said about Jesus. An angel of the Lord appeared again to Joseph to warn him to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape the wrath of King Herod. After Herod died, the angel told Joseph to return to Israel from Egypt. Joseph was afraid to return when he learned that Archelaus had become King of Judea, so God told Joseph in a dream to go instead to the region of Galilee and live in Nazareth (Matthew 2:13-23). Joseph was witness to the time when Jesus as a 12-year-old Child confounded teachers of the Law in the Temple with His Knowledge. Joseph also had the amazing privilege of teaching Jesus the carpenter trade. They worked side by side for many years. Joseph did not live long enough to share with Mary in her experience of watching Jesus teach, preach, heal, forgive, raise the dead, be Crucified and Resurrected. Joseph was not a witness to those events, but he knew Jesus would accomplish great things in His Life. He had seen the evidence.
Jesus’ Brothers and Sisters
We know that Mary and Joseph had several children of their own because of what the Gospel writers mentioned about Jesus (Matthew 12:46-47; 13:55-56). Here’s an interesting exchange between Jesus and people in His own synagogue at Nazareth. They had a hard time understanding Jesus’ Message because they were so familiar with Him as a person who grew up in their village.
“Is this not the carpenter’s son? Is not His mother called Mary? And His brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us? Where then did this Man get all these things?” So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.” Matthew 13:55-57
We learn that Joseph had at least four brothers and two or more sisters. The brothers were named James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. Here’s what we know about them and their relationship to Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
James was the Lord’s younger half-brother. He knew Jesus well, but didn’t understand His Deity until after the Lord’s Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7). James became a powerful leader of believers in Jerusalem, especially after the death of James the brother of John (Acts 12:2, 17). James was a direct and powerful connection to Jesus Christ because he was a member of the Lord’s earthly family and because of the power of God’s Hand on his ministry.
James may be best known for the Letter he wrote to believers – we know it as the Book of James. It is obvious from his writing that James believed Jesus is God. James called Jesus the “Lord Jesus Christ” (James 1:1) and “our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory” (James 2:1).
Judas, also called Jude, was another of the Lord’s earthly half-brothers. He wrote a short letter to believers that is included in the New Testament as the Book of Jude. In it, Jude writes that he is a “bondservant of Jesus Christ.” He wrote that believers are “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ.” Jude wrote about the Father and Son in similar phrasing – “Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” He spoke of the “Lord” saving His people out of the land of Egypt. He told them to “remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Jude placed Jesus alongside of the other Members of the Trinity.
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 20-21
As powerful as that statement is, it is just a prelude to one of the strongest verses in the New Testament attesting to the Deity of Jesus Christ, the Savior of His people.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25
Joses and Simon
Joses and Simon are not mentioned in the New Testament as followers of Jesus, but some early Christian writings identify Simon as bishop of Jerusalem following the death of his brother James in about A.D. 62. Joses is also mentioned by early Christian writers as being a believer and leader in Jerusalem.
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ had a profound effect on the Lord’s earthly family. They realized He is God and served Him as Lord for the rest of their lives.
In our next study, we will look at what those closest to Jesus during His earthly Ministry thought about Him. They knew Jesus well. Did they believe He was God?
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
Building Confidence Through Evidence
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”