Monday, July 22, 2019

The Requirement To Love Jesus Is Proof Of His Deity

Alluding to Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18, Jesus stated in Matt. 22:37-40 that the "first and great commandment" was to "love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind" [Mark 12:30 includes and "with all your strength"]. Then in verses 39-40 Jesus goes on to say, "39 And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." In a similar passage Jesus even connects these two commandments with the Shema (Mark 12:29-31).

The New Testament also teaches that the Old Testament Scriptures prophesied about the Messiah's coming (John 5:39; Luke 24:25-27; 44-47; Rom. 3:21; 9:10:4-13), the nature of His ministry/work and the dignity of His person.

Now if the heart of true and faithful religion hang on the two commandments of loving God the most and one's fellow man as oneself, where does Jesus fit? How are we to relate to Jesus? Admittedly, there are passages in the OT that teach prophets were to be honored. The coming Messiah, being the greatest prophet of all, would require the greatest honor due to any prophet or human being (Deut. 18:15). Nowhere in the entire Old Testament or New Testament are humans required to love any other type of persons beside God and humans. For example, we are never commanded to love angels. Even if in the afterlife God may permit us to love angels similar to how we are to love other human beings, it is not specifically required in this life.

However, in contrast to that silence about angels, the New Testament positively requires a love, devotion, and allegiance to Jesus that no human prophet or angel deserves or can legitimately demand from their fellow creatures. This requirement is so great, essential and vital to the heart of true New Testament religion that Paul pronounces a curse on those who refuse to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote:

22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come! 23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.- 1 Cor. 16:22-23

An eternal curse of damnation is pronounced on those who refuse to love the Lord Jesus Christ. How could Paul do that if Jesus were anything less than Almighty God? How can one's eternal salvation hinge or depend on loving supremely anyone in addition to Almighty God? No creature, no matter how exalted, can hold such importance and centrality with respect to salvation on pain of contradicting the Old Testament's drumbeat insistence that salvation and redemption hinges on single-hearted love and devotion to Almighty God alone.

Paul also wrote the following:

23 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 24 Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.- Eph. 6:23-24

Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.- 2 Tim. 4:8

Jesus Himself requires us to love Him.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.- John 21:15-17

If the New Testament requires us to love Jesus in a way that the Old Testament reserves only for God, and if the New Testament is the consistent fulfillment of the Old Testament Jewish religion, promises and prophecies, then the natural and necessary inference would be that Jesus is God Himself.

If Jesus were only a human being, then humans shouldn't place their ultimate trust and love in him.

Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.- Ps. 146:3

8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.- Ps. 118:8-9

Thus says the LORD: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD.- Jer 17:5 

[There are many other similar OT passages]

Here are more passages that teach we are to love the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.- John 8:42

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.- John 14:15

21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him."22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"23 Jesus answered him, "If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.- John 14:21-24

If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father.- John 15:24

7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,-1 Pet. 1:7-8

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.- Matt. 10:37

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.- Luke 14:26

Compare these two passages about loving one's parents less than Jesus to how God requires a similar love in the Old Testament.

6 "If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods,' which neither you nor your fathers have known,7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other,8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.- Deut. 13:6-8 [cf. Deut. 33:8-9]

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