What did the followers of Jesus take him as? A great man or God?

By Sami Zaatari

Christians often claim the 4 gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John claim that Jesus is God. Christians have brought several verses to try and prove this claim of theirs. Christians often bring up verses about Jews who claimed Jesus blasphemed and claimed to be God; Christians say this proves Jesus is God since the Jews accused him of claiming to be God. The conclusion is that since the Jews claimed Jesus was claiming to be God, then this means Jesus did and said things which would make him appear to be God.

To begin with, this form of argument on the part of Christians is weak, the Jews could have been wrong; in fact the Bible claims that the Jews had killed several other prophets before Jesus as well:

Mat 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

So the Jews killed and stoned several other prophets before Jesus, one only has to ask why did the Jews stone those other prophets? The apparent answer is obvious, just like Jesus, the Jews would kill some prophets because they thought those prophets were claiming to be God, they would also kill those prophets because they did not like the message and did not agree with it. So the Jews accusing Jesus of committing blasphemy and making himself God is nothing new, the Jews had killed many other prophets before Jesus and it is safe to say that many of those prophets were accused of making themselves to be God.

Another reason why this argument is false is because to begin with the Jews were unbelievers, so their opinion isn’t and doesn’t mean much. So instead of seeing what the unbelieving Jews thought of Jesus, why don’t we look at what the masses believed of Jesus. Once we see what Jesus’ followers believed him to be this will make it easier for us to understand who Jesus Christ really was, prophet or God.

So now let us see what the followers of Jesus took him for:

Chapter 16

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets

So Jesus basically asked his disciples a question, the question was what do men say about him, who do they say he is. Not one of the things the people said about Jesus was that he was God, the men were saying Jesus was a prophet, John the Baptist or Elias or some others, non of them said he was God! Now these men are believers, because note if they were not they would have said Jesus is just a blasphemer or a devil, the fact that these men believe Jesus was a prophet or some other holy man means they did believe he is sent from God.

What is more interesting is when we read on:


15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

So even when Jesus asked his disciple, the disciple did not say you are God, the disciple said you are THE SON OF the living God, there is a difference between being the son of God and being God. If the disciple believed Jesus was God he would just say you are God, or he could have said you are God and the son of God. What is even more amazing is that Jesus then tells his disciples to not tell anyone that he was Jesus THE CHRIST, Jesus did not say tell no man I am God.


Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Son%5Fof%5FGod

In the Tanakh

In the Tanakh, the phrase “sons of god” has multiple meanings:

  • The Hebrew phrase Benei Elohim, often translated as “The Sons of God”, describes angels, demigods or immensely powerful human beings. See Genesis 6:2-4. Many Bible scholars believe that this is a reference to pre-Biblical near-eastern mythology.

  • It is used to denote a human judge or ruler (Ps. lxxxii. 6, “children of the Most High”; in many passages “gods” and “judges” seem to be equations); and to the real or ideal king over Israel (II Sam. vii. 14, with reference to David and his dynasty; comp. Ps. lxxxix. 27, 28).

  • The phrases “sons of God” and “children of God” are applied to Israel as a people (comp. Ex. iv. 22 and Hos. xi. 1), the Jewish people, and also to all members of the human race.

In the Tanakh the term does not connote any form of physical descent from, or essential unity with, God. The Hebrew idiom conveys an expression of godlikeness (see Godliness).

So as you can see, the definition of Son of God in no way makes you God. Hence when Simon Peter said:

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

They did not mean he is God.

So we now see that the multitude of believers did not take Jesus as God, nor did his own disciples! Jesus himself said tell no man I am the Christ, not I am God.


Taken from http://www.allwords.com/query.php?SearchType=3&Keyword=Christ&goquery=Find+it!&Language=ENG

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the Messiah whose coming is prophesied in the Old Testament.

Content Under License from Crystal Reference, copyright 2003.

Your Query of ‘Christ’ Resulted in 1 Matches
From The AND Dictionary

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1. The Messiah whose coming is prophesied in the Old Testament.
2. Jesus of Nazareth, or Jesus Christ, believed by Christians to be the Messiah.
3. A figure or picture of Jesus.

None of the definitions of Christ is God. It is simply the Messiah, therefore we must now see what the Messiah means, and if the Jews believed the Messiah would be God.


Taken from http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/Messiah

Mes·si·ah (m -s ) KEY


  1. also Mes·si·as (m -s s) KEY The anticipated savior of the Jews.
  2. also Messias Christianity Jesus.
  3. messiah One who is anticipated as, regarded as, or professes to be a savior or liberator.

Taken from http://www.allwords.com/word-Messiah.html

Your Query of ‘Messiah’ Resulted in 3 Matches
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Christianity Jesus Christ.


someone who sets a country or a people free.


Judaism the king of the Jews still to be sent by God to free his people and restore Israel.

Again, none of the definitions of the Messiah means God, Christ simply means Messiah, Messiah simply means savoir.

Now we must see if the Jews thought the Messiah would be God:

Taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Messiah

The predominant Jewish understanding of moshiach (“the messiah”) is based on the writings of Maimonides, (the Rambam). His views on the messiah are discussed in his Mishneh Torah, his 14 volume compendium of Jewish law, in the section Hilkhot Melakhim Umilchamoteihem, chapter 11. Maimonides writes:

“The anointed King (“HaMelekh HaMoshiach”) is destined to stand up and restore the Davidic Kingdom to its antiquity, to the first sovereignty. He will build the Temple in Jerusalem and gather the strayed ones of Israel together. All laws will return in his days as they were before: Sacrificial offerings are offered and the Sabbatical years and Jubilees are kept, according to all its precepts that are mentioned in the Torah. Whoever does not believe in him, or whoever does not wait for his coming, not only does he defy the other prophets, but also the Torah and our Rabbi Moses. For the Torah testifies about him, thus: “And the Lord Your God will return your returned ones and will show you mercy and will return and gather you… If your strayed one shall be at the edge of Heaven… And He shall bring you” etc.” (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).

“These words that are explicitly stated in the Torah, encompass and include all the words spoken by all the prophets. In the section of Torah referring to Bala’am, too, it is stated, and there he prophesied about the two anointed ones: The first anointed one is David, who saved Israel from all their oppressors; and the last anointed one will stand up from among his descendants and saves Israel in the end. This is what he says (Numbers 24:17-18): “I see him but not now” – this is David; “I behold him but not near” – this is the Anointed King. “A star has shot forth from Jacob” – this is David; “And a brand will rise up from Israel” – this is the Anointed King. “And he will smash the edges of Moab” – This is David, as it states: “…And he struck Moab and measured them by rope” (II Samuel 8:2); “And he will uproot all Children of Seth” – this is the Anointed King, of whom it is stated: “And his reign shall be from sea to sea” (Zechariah 9:10). “And Edom shall be possessed” – this is David, thus: “And Edom became David’s as slaves etc.” (II Samuel 8:6); “And Se’ir shall be possessed by its enemy” – this is the Anointed King, thus: “And saviors shall go up Mount Zion to judge Mount Esau, and the Kingdom shall be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 1:21).”

“And by the Towns of Refuge it states: “And if the Lord your God will widen up your territory… you shall add on for you another three towns” etc. (Deuteronomy 19:8-9). Now this thing never happened; and the Holy One does not command in vain. But as for the words of the prophets, this matter needs no proof, as all their books are full with this issue.”

“Do not imagine that the anointed King must perform miracles and signs and create new things in the world or resurrect the dead and so on. The matter is not so: For Rabbi Akiba was a great scholar of the sages of the Mishnah, and he was the assistant-warrior of the king Ben Coziba, and claimed that he was the anointed king. He and all the Sages of his generation deemed him the anointed king, until he was killed by sins; only since he was killed, they knew that he was not. The Sages asked him neither a miracle nor a sign…”

“And if a king shall stand up from among the House of David, studying Torah and indulging in commandments like his father David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he will coerce all Israel to follow it and to strengthen its weak points, and will fight Hashem’s wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one. If he succeeded {and won all nations surrounding him. Old prints and mss.} and built a Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the strayed ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain, and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it is stated: “For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue, to call all in the Name of the Lord and to worship Him with one shoulder” (Zephaniah 3:9).”

“But if he did not succeed until now, or if he was killed, it becomes known that he is not this one of whom the Torah had promised us, and he is indeed like all proper and wholesome kings of the House of David who died. The Holy One, Blessed Be He, only set him up to try the public by him, thus: “And from the seekers of wisdom there shall stumble, to purify among them and to clarify and to brighten until the time of the ending, for there is yet to the set time” (Daniel 11:35).”

Taken from http://www.aish.com/tishabav/tishabavdefault/The_Messiah_in_Judaism.asp

In Judaism, who is the Messiah?

The messiah is a G-d fearing, pious Jew, who is both a great Torah scholar and a great leader as well. He is a direct descendent of King David, and will be anointed as the new Jewish King. (In fact, the Hebrew word for messiah – “Moshiach” – means “anointed one.”).

When the messiah comes, there will be a universal recognition of the truth of Torah and the G-d Who gave that Torah at Mount Sinai. All Jews will return to the Land of Israel, where they will throw off the yoke of their enemies and undergo a complete spiritual revival. They will embrace the faith of their forefathers and dedicate themselves to G-d’s service forever.

They will re-build the Holy Temple, from where the Divine presence will shine forth, spreading the light of truth, justice, tolerance and peace throughout the world.

Taken from http://www.jewfaq.org/moshiach.htm

The Moshiach

The moshiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The moshiach is often referred to as “moshiach ben David” (moshiach, son of David). He will be well-versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments. (Isaiah 11:2-5) He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being.

It has been said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the moshiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person’s lifetime, then that person will be the moshiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the moshiach, then that person is not the moshiach.

So it is pretty clear that according to the Jews the Messiah would not be  a God, or  semi-God or anything like that but a mere man.

So let us summarize:

1-     Jesus said he is the Christ.

2-     The Christ means the Messiah.

3-     Messiah means a savior, the anointed one who will come and help us.

4-     The Messiah is not God but just a man.

So in light of all this it is clear that Jesus claiming to be the Christ does not make him God. So when Jesus said:

. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

This is enough proof that he was not God, or he would have said tell no man that I am God.

So let us summarize again:

1- The believers of Jesus took him as a prophet

2- Jesus’ disciples took him as the Son of God

3-The term Son of God does not mean you are God as we saw from the definitions

5-     Jesus told his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

6-     The Christ means the Messiah.

7-     The Messiah is not God.

8-     Jesus is the Messiah.

9-      Therefore Jesus is not God.

So it is pretty clear that the followers of Jesus and his own disciples did not take him for a God, so the question is why do Christians take Jesus as a God when his early followers didn’t?

And Allah knows best!

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