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God in the Gospels and Acts

  

Both the Gospels and the book of Acts make a clear distinction between the Lord God, the Father, and His Son Jesus, the Lord Messiah. Luke makes this apparent in his birth narrative, by identifying two distinct persons, each identified by the title “Lord.” He writes that Jesus, “the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26), “will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32). He would be begotten by the power of the Most High, and designated “Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). From this, it may be seen that by His power the Most High, the Lord God, created a human child in the womb of Mary who would be known as the Lord’s Christ, or Christ the Lord.

So why is it important that there are two clearly defined persons with the title “Lord” mentioned in the Gospels? It is significant, because only one of them can be the Almighty God, the Most High. The monotheistic creed of Israel, which was affirmed by Jesus as the greatest commandment, states that “The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). This excludes the possibility of there being multiple “Lords” in the “Godhead.”

This leads to another important question; if there are two Lords, which Lord is the Almighty God? Well, the answer to this question has already been answered by Luke in the aforementioned verses. The Most High is identified as the Lord God, and Jesus is identified as the Son of the Most High, the Lord Messiah. If Jesus is the Son of the Most High, created by the power of the Most High, he is obviously not the Most High, and therefore not God.

This is further substantiated by Jesus’ own claims about his identity. Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, which was historically known by Jews to a claim to be God’s appointed agent, the anointed King, who would establish God’s everlasting kingdom on the earth and reign on the throne of David with righteousness and justice forever. Moses’ prophetic utterance in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 points towards this appointed agent, a prophet who would speak the words of God in His name and authority.  Jesus is identified as this prophet in the book of Acts. Thus, Jesus’ authority was not of his own derivation, it was given to him by the one who sent him. He himself acknowledged, “By myself I can do nothing…I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 5:30). Even the words that he spoke were not his own: “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak” (John 12:49). Jesus was a man, sent and empowered by God to accomplish the works of God his Father, in His name.

It may be seen even more clearly in the book of Acts, that it was the initiative and power of the Lord God working in and through Jesus that made Jesus who he was and empowered him to accomplish his Father’s works. Paul says that it was God who brought a Savior to Israel, from the lineage of David, according to the promise (Acts13:23). Acts 2:22 identifies Jesus, the Savior, as “a man attested to you by God with miracles and signs and wonders that God performed through him.” His healings and exorcisms are attributed to the fact that “God was with him” and because “God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power” (Acts 10:38). He is identified as the servant of the God who was glorified by God in Acts 2:36. Several times in the book of Acts, God is identified as the one who raised Jesus from the dead (Acts 2:32). The Scriptures show that though there are two Lords, there is only one Lord who is God and that Lord is not Jesus, but his Father, the Most High God who supplied the power for all Jesus did.

5 Responses to “God in the Gospels and Acts”

  1. on 25 Apr 2013 at 9:48 amWolfgang

    Hi there

    From this, it may be seen that by His power the Most High, the Lord God, created a human child in the womb of Mary who would be known as the Lord’s Christ, or Christ the Lord.

    careful there …. “the Lord’s Christ” is NOT the same as “Christ the Lord” …
    no more so as “God’s Son” is the same as “God the Son”

  2. on 25 Apr 2013 at 2:55 pmBethany

    Right, since Christ simply means an “anointed one.” However, from the context we gather that we are talking about Jesus.

  3. on 25 Apr 2013 at 6:33 pmSarah

    Thanks Bethany, I enjoyed reading this article. As you mentioned, the two phrases Peter used in his sermon, “God annointed him” and “God was with him,” make it quite clear that Peter did not believe Jesus to be God. Considering that Acts focuses on the apostles’ evangelization efforts, it should give Trinitarians pause for thought that Jesus is frequently identified as a man empowered by God rather than God himself.

  4. on 25 Apr 2013 at 10:43 pmXavier

    Couple of years ago a 3rd century C.E. amulet was found in Austria with the following Greek inscription transliterated from the Hebrew: ΣΥΜΑ ΙΣΤΡΑΗΛ ΑΔΩNΕ ΕΛΩΗ ΑΔΩN Α

    Perhaps Sean can double check me on this but I believe the word ΑΔΩNΕ is Adonai. Further distinguishing the 2 Lords of Ps 110.1.

  5. on 26 Apr 2013 at 1:21 amWolfgang

    Bethany

    Right, since Christ simply means an “anointed one.” However, from the context we gather that we are talking about Jesus.

    the point is not about the word “Christ” but about the word “Lord” …
    In the expression “the Lord’s Christ” the word “Lord” is a reference to “God” and not to Jesus; it means “the Lord [God]’s Christ” and NOT “Christ, the Lord”. In the context, “the Lord’s Christ” refers to the Christ, the Anointed One, whom the Lord God has sent and anointed.

  

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