Jesus performed many miraculous wonders, and he without doubt said a lot of wonderful things about himself. Some people use what he said and did as a proof that he was God. But his original disciples who lived and walked with him, and were eyewitnesses to what he said and did, never reached this conclusion.
The Acts of the Apostles in the Bible details the activity of the disciples over a period of thirty years after Jesus was lifted up to heaven. Throughout this period they never refer to Jesus as God. They continually and consistently use the title God to refer to someone else other than Jesus.
Peter stood up with the eleven disciples and addressed the crowd saying:
“Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” (Acts 2:22).
It was God, therefore, who did the miracles through Jesus to convince people that Jesus was backed by God. Peter did not see the miracles as proof that Jesus is God.
In fact, the way Peter refers to God and to Jesus makes it clear that Jesus is not God. For he always turns the title God away from Jesus. Take the following references for example:
“God has raised this Jesus...” (Acts 2:32)
“God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:36)
In both passages, the title God is turned away from Jesus. So why he did this, if Jesus was God?
For Peter, Jesus was a servant of God. Peter said:
“God raised up his servant...” (Acts 3:26).
The title servant refers to Jesus. This is clear from a previous passage where Peter declared:
“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.” (Acts 3:13).
Peter must have known that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob never spoke of a Triune God. They always spoke of God as the only God. Here, as in Matthew 12:18, Jesus is the servant of God. Matthew tells us that Jesus was the same servant of God spoken of in Isaiah 42:1. So, according to Matthew and Peter, Jesus is not God, but God’s servant. The Old Testament repeatedly says that God is alone (e.g. Isaiah 45:5).
All of the disciples of Jesus held this view. In Acts 4:24 we are told that the believers prayed to God saying:
“...they raised their voices together in prayer to God. ‘Sovereign Lord,’ they said, ‘you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them.’”
It is clear that the one they were praying to was not Jesus, because, two verses later, they referred to Jesus as
“...your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.” (Acts 4:27).
If Jesus was God, his disciples should have said this clearly. Instead, they kept preaching that Jesus was God’s Christ. We are told in Acts:
“Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:42).
The Greek word “Christ” is a human title. It means “Anointed.” If Jesus was God, why would the disciples continually refer to him with human titles like servant and Christ of God, and consistently use the title God for the one who raised Jesus? Did they fear men? No! They boldly preached the truth fearing neither imprisonment nor death. When they faced opposition from the authorities, Peter declared:
“We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus...” (Acts 5:29-30).
Were they lacking the Holy Spirit? No! They were supported by the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:3, 4:8, and 5:32). They were simply teaching what they had learnt from Jesus — that Jesus was not God but, rather, God’s servant and Christ.
The Quran confirms that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ), and that he was God’s servant (see the Holy Quran 3:45 and 19:30).
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