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So if Jesus never claimed divinity, then what was he exactly? He answered that
question himself:
“A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among
his own relatives, and in his own house.” (Mark 6:4)
“But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in
his own country and in his own house.” (Matthew 13:57)
“It cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”
(Luke 13:33)
Those who knew him acknowledged, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of
Galilee” (Matthew 21:11), and “A great prophet has risen up among us …” (Luke 7:16).

The disciples recognized Jesus as “a prophet mighty in deed …” (Luke 24:19. Also see
Matthew 14:5, 21:46, and John 6:14). If these statements were inaccurate, why didn’t
Jesus correct them? Why didn’t he define his divinity if, that is, he truly was divine?
When the woman at the well stated, “’Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet’” (John 4:19),
why didn’t he thank her for her lowly impression, but explain there was more to his
essence than prophethood?
Or was there?
Jesus Christ, a mere man? Could it be? A good part of the religiously
introspective world wonders, “Why not?” Acts 2:22 records Jesus as “Jesus of Nazareth,
a man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through
him in your midst, as you yourselves also know.” Jesus himself is recorded as having
said, “But now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from
God …” (John 8:40). Strikingly, a similar quote is found in the Holy Qur’an: “He [Jesus]
said: ‘I am indeed a servant of Allah: He has given me Revelation and made me a
prophet’” (TMQ 19:30).
So was Jesus a “servant of Allah (i.e., servant of God)?” According to the Bible,
yes. Or, at least, that is what we understand from Matthew 12:18: “Behold! My servant
whom I have chosen …” Furthermore, Acts of the Apostles traces the growth of the early
church for the first thirty years following Jesus’ ministry, but nowhere in Acts did Jesus’
disciples ever call Jesus “God.” Rather, they referred to Jesus as a man and God’s
servant. 142

In fact, the only New Testament verse which supports the doctrine of the
Incarnation is 1 Timothy 3:16.* However, with regard to this verse (which states that
“God was manifest in the flesh”), Gibbon notes, “This strong expression might be
justified by the language of St. Paul (I Tim. iii. 16), but we are deceived by our modern
bibles. The word Î (which) was altered to qeËv (God) at Constantinople in the beginning
of the sixth century: the true reading, which is visible in the Latin and Syriac versions,
still exists in the reasoning of the Greek, as well as of the Latin fathers; and this fraud,
with that of the three witnesses of St. John, is admirably detected by Sir Isaac
Newton.”
143
Fraud? Now there’s a strong word. But if we look to more modern scholarship,
it’s a word well applied, for “some passages of the New Testament were modified to
stress more precisely that Jesus was himself divine.”144
The Bible was modified? For doctrinal reasons? Hard to find a more appropriate
word than “fraud,” given the circumstances.

 

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