Introduction: When I first started using computers I was frustrated.
I wanted to know how they worked internally. Anyone can type and
print a document, just like anyone can drive a car. But, what is
happening “under the hood?” To answer that question I did some
reading and, with the direction of my young son, built a computer.
Now, I am satisfied that I know the essentials even though my
knowledge is far from complete. Our lesson this week is like that.
We will learn some essentials about Jesus and the Trinity, but
complete knowledge is simply beyond our grasp. Because I do not think
you can be a Christian without being a Trinitarian, let’s dive into
our Bibles and see what we can learn!
- The Puzzle
- Read Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Mark 12:28-30. What does this
tell us about God? (That “the Lord is one.”)
- Why do you think God introduces the “love Me with all
your heart” command with the “the Lord is one”
statement? (It is a positive command to love God
completely, and a negative command not to love other
- The New Bible Commentary tells us Deuteronomy 6:4 is
the “central prayer in Judaism.” It is called the
“Shema” because it starts with the word “hear” which
is what shema means in Hebrew. If this was the
central prayer for the Jews, what should it mean to
us who believe in the inspiration of the Old
- Did you notice that it was Jesus who repeated in Mark
12:29 that God is “one?” Jews and Muslims say that
Christians are not monotheists (those who believe in one
God) because we believe that God the Father, the Holy
Spirit and Jesus are all God. If the Jews and the Muslims
are right, why would Jesus call attention to the Shema and
say that the love command is “the most important one?”
- Recently, a top-selling book (which was made into a movie)
told a story which was based on the idea that the Catholic
Church manipulated the gospels to make it appear that
Jesus claimed to be God, when in fact Jesus made no such
claim. Are the gospels the only source of the claim that
Jesus is God?
- The Foundation for the Trinity
- Read Genesis 1:1-2. When God introduced Himself in the
Bible, what did He reveal about His nature? (He revealed
that the “one God” had a “Spirit!” Thus, from His very
first introduction God lets us know that He exists and He
has a Holy Spirit which also exists.)
- Read Genesis 1:26-27. What is this “let us make man in our
image” stuff? What does this suggest about God? (That He
is a “plural” of some sort.)
- Look again at verse 27. What does that suggest about
the nature of God? (That it includes “male and
- Let’s read Genesis 2:22-24. What is God calling “one
flesh?” (Adam and Eve, and all who become married
- What do these verses in Genesis reveal to us about God’s
view of the term “one?” (That He has an expansive view of
“one!” Adam and Eve had their own personalities, yet God
called them “one flesh.” From the very beginning, God is
revealed to have a Spirit that “hovers.” You could say
that God is only a Spirit, but that does not work very
well with the later “let’s create humans in our image”
statement. We can see that the Foundation for the Trinity
did not begin in the gospels, but rather it began in
- Read Judges 3:9-10 and Judges 6:34. Does this remind you
of what you regularly see in the New Testament? (Yes. The
New Testament develops the idea of God’s Spirit being
something separate from Jesus and God the Father. We see
that very same type of thing in Judges.)
- Jesus’ Claims to Divinity
- In the introduction, I said that a person is not a
Christian if they do not believe in the Trinity. Is that
an unfair statement? Let’s read John 8:58. What is Jesus’
- Read John 6:35-40 and John 6:51. What is Jesus’ claim
- Read John 8:12. What is Jesus’ claim here?
- Read John 11:25-27. What is Jesus’ claim here?
- Read John 10:30. What is Jesus’ claim here?
- Read John 10:32-33 and Luke 5:21-24. What did Jesus’
listeners understand Him to claim?
- Read Mark 14:61-62. What claim is Jesus making here?
- Read Matthew 3:16-17. What does this teach about the
- Read John 1:1-4 and John 1:14. What does this teach us
- Why It Matters
- In these texts you just read Jesus clearly claims
divinity. He calls Himself “I Am!” This is how Jehovah
describes Himself ( Exodus 3:13-14). If Jesus is not God,
what does this say about Him? (That He is a liar or
deluded. He is not to be trusted, much less worshiped.)
- Read Psalms 73:7-9 and Jeremiah 23:34. What do these
Old Testament texts tell us about false claims? (They
come from the wicked.)
- Read Matthew 26:63-64. The entire sweep of the Old
Testament is about the sacrifice of the lamb for the sin
of humans. God’s people expected a Messiah to come and to
save them. Is the High Priest asking Jesus if He is the
Messiah? (Yes. Jesus claims to be the Messiah – the
Promised One who is from God, will return to God and will
come again to save His people.)
- Read John 8:23-30. What does Jesus teach is at issue when
it comes to the question of His divinity? (We will die in
our sins! Jesus tells us specifically that if we do not
accept Him as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God,
then we have no Messiah, no Lamb of God, and we will die
for our sins! The issue could not be more critical or
more central to our hope as Christians!)
- Why Paul Thinks It Is Important
- Recall the popular book and movie that argued to the
Biblically illiterate that Jesus did not think He was
divine — that this was just something later concocted by
the Catholic Church to bolster its importance? We have
seen that the Trinity has a foundation in Genesis, and we
have seen that Jesus claimed to be God and the Messiah.
Let’s look next at what Paul wrote about Jesus and His
divinity. Read Colossians 2:9-10. What does Paul say about
- Read Colossians 2:13-15. What does Paul say about Jesus as
the Messiah who takes away our sins? (That is how Paul
- Why Peter Thinks It Important
- Read Acts 1:1-5. What are Jesus’ instructions to His
followers for the future?
- Read Acts 2:1-4. Is this what Jesus promised?
- Read Acts 2:29-36. What does Peter say about Jesus?
- Who does Peter claim is the source of his statement?
(The Holy Spirit.)
- Friend, Genesis sets the foundation for the Trinity. Jesus
claims to be the Messiah and “I Am.” Peter and Paul claim
Jesus is the Messiah – and Peter says this statement comes
from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The New
Testament, as a whole, argues that Jesus is God. The Old
Testament points to Jesus as the Messiah. This is not some
fabrication of early church leaders to increase their
importance. This is the central message of the Bible. I we
do not accept that Jesus is God and that He died in our
place for our sins, then we are lost. Will you accept
today that Jesus is our Lord and our God?
- Next week: In the Beginning.