Verses written for a Jewish Reader
The Bible’s explanation of Christ and God is simple. The Spirit of Christ was the firstborn Spirit, the speaker and image of the invisible God.
So, what went wrong? Why did the Gentiles become confused about the identity of Christ?
In John 1:1, we read “in the beginning, God was the Word.” John told us that “God” in Genesis 1:1 was Jesus Christ.
In John 20:28, Thomas called Jesus: “My Lord and my God!”
And in 2 Peter 1:1, Peter called Jesus Christ, our God and Saviour.
These verses that call Jesus God, written by Peter and John, are confusing for many.
Most scholars will admit that it is impossible to believe that Jesus is God reading the letters of Paul. Paul makes statements like “there is one God, the Father” and “there is one God and Father of all.” Nobody will conclude that Jesus is God after reading Paul’s letters.
Why is the message of John and Peter so different than Paul?
Because Paul was commissioned to preach to the Gentiles, but Peter and John were sent to the Jews, as Paul explained in Galatians 2:7-9.
In John 1:1, John was telling the Jewish people that Christ was the God of Israel, the visible God, who appeared to speak in Genesis 1:1.
The revelation that Christ was the God of Israel is the theme of John’s Gospel, which contains several “I AM” statements, to prove God’s promise: “I will save them by He WILL BE their ELOHIM.”
After Jesus resurrected, He showed Himself to Thomas, and said, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
Many consider Thomas’ reply: “My Lord and my God” to be the climax of John’s Gospel.
In John 20, verse 17, Jesus called the Father His God, saying “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Therefore, in verse 28, Thomas called Jesus his Lord and God, because He was the God of Israel, the Angel, who Jacob called his God.
2 Peter 1:1
Like John, the Apostle Peter wrote to the “pilgrims of the dispersion.” The dispersed Jewish saints.
Peter began his second letter:
“To those who have obtained like precious faith with us
by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Some believe that Peter’s real meaning was “our God and OUR Saviour Jesus Christ,” referring to two persons. But, in fact, in 2 Peter 1:1, he was imitating the introduction of the Gospel of John, John 1:1, to tell his Jewish brothers, that God had fulfilled His promise to save them by their God, the God of Jacob.
Some think that there are several verses, where Christ and God seem to refer to the same person. However, Greek grammatical studies show that there are only two verses where Christ and God refer to the same person; 2 Peter 1:1 and Titus 2:13, which reads: “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Paul spoke correctly, because in the Lord’s Day, Jesus will appear as our great God, the Ancient of Days, and as the Son of Man, just as we read in Revelation Chapter 1.
There is one more surprising statement by Peter, which is Acts 2:39: “as many as the Lord our God shall call.”
In the New Testament, there are about 500 uses of the expression “Lord” after Christ’s resurrection, and in all cases, only Christ is called the Lord, before the Lord’s Day, except when referencing Old Testament passages, or when calling God sovereign master, and Lord of creation.
Could Acts 2:39 be the one exception to those 500 cases?
No, because just three verses earlier, in verse 36, Peter had just finished explaining that God made Christ “the Lord.” So how could he forget this, only two sentences later?
Peter’s message to the Jews gathered there was: “as many as the Lord our God, the God of Jacob, shall call.”