He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. (NIV)
I had to take the last part of verse 18 and the first of 20 to get one whole sentence. This last paragraph in Chapter three is very interesting because of the many different subjects that I can think about. For instance, I mentioned the trinity in my last writing and commented that Jesus is God. Since it was not the main topic, I didn’t pursue it further. However, I have studied it quite thoroughly and can with all convection say that Jesus is indeed the Almighty God. Christmas time is approaching and one of the reminders of Jesus being God is found every Christmas. Isa 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV) The triune nature of God is clearly seen in this passage. The son is called the wonderful counselor, who is the Holy Spirit. He is called the Mighty God and Everlasting Father. Now who else can that be other than God the Father? He is called Prince of Peace – the son.
What did Jesus have to say of Himself? John 10:30 “I and the Father are one." (NIV) Did Jesus mean that He is one only in purpose (as some claim) or did He mean more when He said that? Let the people who heard Him explain what He meant. John 10:33 "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." (NIV) The Jews new exactly what Jesus meant. Now if I made a statement like that and someone misunderstood me, I would quickly clarify that they misunderstood and there would be no problem. Did Jesus try to correct their misunderstanding? Not at all. Read the next few verses and you will see that they still tried to kill Him.
Still skeptical about the fact that Jesus claimed to be God? How about John 8:58-59 "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (NIV) Jesus used the words “I am” to convey clearly that He is God and that He has always existed as God, even before Abraham was born. Again, the Jews, who knew exactly what he meant, tried to stone Him for these comments.
Jesus made it clear that God is the only one to be worshiped. Matt 4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" (NIV) I would think it strange that Jesus would say this then later accept worship if He were not God. Matt 28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (NIV) Did Jesus rebuke these women for worshiping Him? Not at all. When Thomas called Jesus his Lord and God in John 20:28, did Jesus correct him? Not at all. Did Thomas say God but not mean the Almighty God? There is nothing in the passage or the original language that suggests anything else, contrary to what some would say.
If Jesus were not God, then He has committed a sin that is the same that caused Satan’s downfall. He has accepted worship and called Himself God. What happened to Herod when he let people simply call him a god? Acts 12:21-23 On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, "This is the voice of a god, not of a man." Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. (NIV). How much more would God not approve of someone who claimed to be God and accepted worship.
One thing is for sure, if Jesus were not God but claimed to be God, if He were not God and accepted worship, the resurrection would have never happened. Jesus would have died for His own sins and His death on the cross would have no meaning for me or anyone else. His disciples would have disbanded and the name of Jesus would only be a minor blip in history. However, over and over in the Bible, Jesus is upheld as sinless. His sinless death bought my redemption. If He were sinful then His death could not purchase my pardon. He is upheld as God by Christians around the world in spite of those who would try to minimize Him and thus play into Satan’s hands. You see, if you believe that Jesus is not God then you believe in a Jesus who is not able to save you from your sins. If you are not saved from your sins then there is only one eternal outcome and that isn’t good.
Either Jesus has to be God or He has to be a blasphemer or a lunatic. If He was either of the latter two then there is no way He should be followed just as Jim Jones and other lunatic cult leaders should not be followed let alone worshiped. On the other hand, if He is God, then I need to bow down and worship Him along with those through history who have affirmed that He is God and that there is no other name under heaven by which I can be saved (Acts 4:12.)