The question of whether the disciples called Jesus God is a topic of great debate among scholars and believers alike. While many Christians believe that Jesus is divine and therefore worthy of worship, others argue that the idea of Jesus as God was a later development in Christian theology. In this article, we will examine the evidence for and against the disciples’ belief in Jesus as God.
What Do the Gospels Say?
The Gospels are our primary source for understanding what the disciples believed about Jesus. While there are many passages that speak to Jesus’ divinity, some scholars argue that these passages were added later by scribes who wanted to promote a more exalted view of Jesus.
However, there are several passages in the Gospels that suggest that the disciples did indeed believe that Jesus was God. For example, in John 20:28, Thomas refers to Jesus as “my Lord and my God” after seeing him resurrected from the dead. This is one of the clearest statements of Jesus’ divinity in all of Scripture.
Additionally, there are several other passages where Jesus accepts worship from his followers without rebuking them. For example, in Matthew 14:33, after calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee, his disciples worship him saying “Truly you are the Son of God.” Similarly, in John 9:38-39, after healing a blind man, he reveals himself to be the Son of Man and receives worship from him.
What Do Other New Testament Writers Say?
While much of our knowledge about what the disciples believed comes from the Gospels, other New Testament writers also provide insight into this question. In Paul’s letter to Titus (2:13), he refers to Jesus as “our great God and Savior.” Similarly, in Colossians 1:15-20, Paul speaks of Christ as “the image of the invisible God” and “the firstborn over all creation.”
Another important passage to consider is Hebrews 1:8-9, where the author quotes Psalm 45 and applies it to Jesus, saying “Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever.” This is a clear affirmation of Jesus’ divinity and suggests that the early Christian community believed that Jesus was indeed God.
Despite the evidence in favor of the disciples believing in Jesus’ divinity, there are several counterarguments that should be considered. One argument is that the disciples may have used the term “Lord” simply as a title of respect, rather than as a statement of Jesus’ divine nature.
Additionally, some scholars argue that the passages in which Jesus accepts worship can be explained in other ways. For example, they may have been expressing gratitude or acknowledging their faith rather than actually worshiping him as God.
In conclusion, while there are counterarguments to consider, the evidence strongly suggests that the disciples did indeed believe that Jesus was God. The passages in the Gospels and other New Testament writings make it clear that early Christians saw Jesus as more than just a human teacher or prophet; they saw him as divine. Whether or not one agrees with this belief is a matter of faith, but it cannot be denied that it was an integral part of early Christian theology.