One afternoon when I was pastor at an Assembly of God Church, two women stopped to chat. I discovered that they were Mormons, and they had stopped to ask if I thought they were “saved.” I’m not sure if they had asked to “test” me somehow, or if they were asking sincerely; however, to this day, I think they were sincere.
My Fundamentalist mind kicked in, and I immediately asked, “Have you accepted Jesus to be your personal savior?” And they both answered “yes.” “Then,” I answered, “you both are going to heaven.” We chatted for a bit more, and they went on their way. I would have given the same answer to anyone who asked, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness.
Now, many years later and a committed Traditional Catholic, I would say “Not so fast,” and would inquire a bit more deeply into whom they considered Jesus to be.
Mormons have the strange belief that God the Father, like Jesus, was born and born again, once as a spirit, and again as a mortal man. Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are created brothers and spiritual sons of God. Thereafter, as God formulated His plan of salvation, Satan proposed his own plan. Jesus, on the other hand, accepted God’s plan and offered to sacrifice himself as God’s Lamb and the spirit of Jesus was given a body through the Virgin Mary. Very confusing, and very non-Christian.
Nor do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is God. They believe that he was a created man, the highest creation of God, but just a man.
Five Reasons Why Catholics (and most Protestants) KNOW Jesus is God:
1. Jesus specifically fulfilled more than 300 Old Testament prophesies, including:
o He would be born in Bethlehem: Micah 5:2 - AND THOU, BETHLEHEM Ephrata, art a little one among the thousands of Juda: out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be the ruler in Israel: and his going forth is from the beginning, from the days of eternity.The odds of one man fulfilling all five of these prophesies, given thousands of years before by men unknown to one another, is calculated to be 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000, or 1 in 1015.
o He would be born of a virgin: Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.
o He would be crucified: Psalm 22:16-18 - My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death. For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet. They have numbered all my bones. And they have looked and stared upon me. They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.
o He would have spikes driven through each hand: Zachariah 13:6 - And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.
o He would be betrayed for the price of thirty pieces silver: Zachariah 11:12 - And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver.
2. During his time on earth, Jesus performed hundreds, if not thousands of healing miracles – of the blind, of the deaf, and of the sick and dying. He restored the dead to life. Many of these miracles are recorded in the Gospels. And Saint John concludes his Gospel by stating, “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” John 21:25 No one else in history ever performed this many miracles (not Mohammed - not anyone). If Jesus was not God, He would seem to be a fraud as He performed more miracles than all of the prophets before Him COMBINED!
3. The Word of God, in the New Testament states that Jesus is God: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-3
4. After His death, resurrection and ascension, the Jewish council leaders tried to silence the preaching of the Apostles. After a second arrest for defying the council, the council members were deciding what to do when one of the council stood and said:
But one in the council rising up, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, respected by all the people, commanded the men to be put forth a little while. And he said to them: Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do, as touching these men.
For before these days rose up Theodas, affirming himself to be somebody, to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all that believed him were scattered, and brought to nothing. After this man, rose up Judas of Galilee, in the days of the enrolling, and drew away the people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as consented to him, were dispersed. And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men, and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought; But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it, lest perhaps you be found even to fight against God. And they consented to him.
Acts 5:34-39Today, there are more than 1.2 billion Catholic is the world.
5. Finally, Jesus himself claims to be God – John 14:6-10 - Jesus saith to him [Thomas]: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him. Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also. How sayest thou, shew us the Father? Do you not believe, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak to you, I speak not of myself. But the Father who abideth in me, he doth the works.
Even atheists will tell you that Jesus was a great man, and had many good things to say. But this cannot be the only truth about Jesus: If Jesus were not God, then he had to be either delusional or completely insane.
Many other reasons exist to believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be, but these five alone will give you much to ponder!