The Lie that Jesus is Spiritual but Not Divine
Who is Jesus? That is the question at the centre of Mark's Gospel, which is answered at the apex of the Gospel in Mark 8:27-29 - "You are the Messiah". John's Gospel has the same objective, "Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (John 20:30-31). It is the question which the Gospels still pose to all who will take the trouble to read them.
Nobody could deny the powerful miracles that Jesus did, but the question of His identity and authority remained. Who is He and who authorised and empowered Him to teach, heal the sick and cast our demons? Local religious leaders in the Galilee region were threatened by Jesus' popular appeal, and they had no answers. So, theologians came from Jerusalem to assess Him. Their conclusion was that He had spiritual power but was not from God. It was an easy way of telling the people to have nothing to do with Him, because He was possessed by the chief demon. Their logic was that if Jesus could cast out lesser demons then a higher demonic power was operating inside Him. They totally ignored His character and the logical possibility that He might be from God, even if they could not imagine Him being God.
It is true that Satan does have a lot of power – although hardly anything compared to God - and then only 'by permission' from God (John 19:11). However, evil power is much stronger than human power. So, is it possible for people to be demonically inspired to perform miracles? Strangely, yes. Jesus said, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves." (Matthew 7:15), and "Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, "I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!" (Matthew 7:22-23). But when you look at Jesus' character, His teaching, His lifestyle and His miracles – they all demonstrate the perfection of divinity. Even Pilate could find no fault in Him (Luke 23:14).
Many people are still desperate to deny that Jesus is God, because they do not want to accept His authority over them. But that is just what they need – His authority to forgive their sin and secure their eternal future. Such people are content for Jesus to be a spiritual and wise teacher, even a prophet; but not God in a human body. The ability of spiritually blind people to miss the point is staggering. Don't get upset with them; encourage them to read the gospels with you, with an open mind. And beware of people who use spiritual power but do not honour Jesus as Lord. Such people worm their way into positions of spiritual authority, but if they are not wholly submitted to Christ, they will lead others badly astray.
© Dr Paul Adams