What did they believe about Jesus?
Testimonies from the Gospel of John
It is often said that the most Christological Gospel is that of John. It is this Gospel that is often quoted and used by Christians when they try to prove the divinity of Jesus.
I have already written one article concerning what the believers around Jesus believed him to be:
In this article we shall now examine what the believers thought about Jesus from the Gospel of John, the most Christological Gospel of all.
It must also be noted that Christians are often fond of quoting some disbelieving Jews accusing Jesus of making himself God; they take these accusations and therefore conclude that Jesus must have been God since the disbelieving Jews accused him of claiming to be God. So with that said let us now see what the BELIEVERS thought about Jesus, and let us see if the Christian will be consistent and accept their testimonies.
When we read the first chapter of John the first time that Jesus is seen by John the Baptist he is identified as follows:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God (John 1:26)
So notice the first time that Jesus is seen does John the Baptist shout Behold this is God! Or does John the Baptist shout Behold this is the divine Son of God! No, he says no such things; rather he calls Jesus the Lam of God, hence Jesus is identified as a Lamb of God, and not God himself.
As the first chapter continues John then goes on to identify Jesus as:
And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God. (John 1:34)
So notice again, does John claim that he bares witness that Jesus is God? Or that he bears witness that Jesus is the divine son of God? No, John bears witness that Jesus is the son of God! Anyone who knows Jewish and Israelite understanding will know that the term son of God does not denote divinity, nor does it make one God. The term son of God was very common amongst the people of Palestine, it simply meant a man of God, a true believer, a prophet, a messenger, and the Messiah.
Christians often get confused when they see the term son of God, this is due to their ignorance of the Jewish understanding, for instance when a Christian reads and sees Jesus being called the son of God from this they summarize that Jesus is God and divine. Yet being called the son of God is not being called the divine son of God, nor is it being called God!
Yes, the Gospels call Jesus the son of God, but they never call him the divine son of God.
Now in the 4th chapter of John we read about the following incident:
Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. (John 4:13-19)
What makes this most interesting is that Christians often quote the first part of the story, from verse 14 to try and prove that Jesus is God because he says he will give her water that gives eternal life, and from this statement they say that Jesus must be God for making such a claim!
Yet notice that even after Jesus made such a statement the lady did not believe that he was God, rather she said she believed that he was a prophet!
We also read in John chapter 6:
And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world. (John 6:10-14)
So notice after Jesus does this great miracle of feeding the multitude with little bread, the people do not say wow this is of a truth that God has come into the world, or that Jesus is God. Rather they say that this is the truth of a prophet, that Jesus is a prophet!
In the same chapter we also read the following:
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.
So does Simon Peter his disciple say we believe that you Jesus is God, and the divine son of God? No, the disciple says that Jesus is the Messiah, and the son of God! It would have been so easy for the disciple to have simply said we believe you are God, yet no such statement was made, is this a coincident?
Is it a coincident that all these people never call Jesus God, rather they all call him a prophet, the messiah, and the son of God?
Many more similar statements could be produced from the Gospel of John, but the above is enough to prove the case that the believers around Jesus did NOT believe that he was God, rather they believed he was a prophet, and the Messiah.
Hopefully many of the present day Christians will come back to this same original belief of the early believers!
And Allah Knows Best!