All Christians agree that Jesus was the son of God. However, the question of the trinity is often controversial and often raises more questions than answers. One of the interesting questions is if Jesus is part of the Godhead, does it mean that God went through whatever Jesus did? For instance, did he die on the cross?
Yes, God died on the cross. The concept of the Holy Trinity can explain the belief that God died on the cross: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. The three are distinct yet considered one God. Additionally, the Trinity helps explain the relationship between God the Father and Jesus Christ, particularly in the context of crucifixion and resurrection.
On the cross, God took on a human form through Jesus (God the Son) to bring redemption and forgiveness for human sins. As a result, Jesus, being both God and man, became the bridge between the transcendent divinity and the human condition. After death came the resurrection which is a divine triumph over death and sin. It signifies that God, through Jesus, conquered the consequences of sin and provided a means for believers to share in this victory. It also illustrates the divine ability to bring life from death, emphasizing the transformative and redemptive nature of God’s plan.
The idea that Jesus is part of the Godhead is found in several Scriptures.
The statement “I and the Father are one” and “before Abraham was, I am” are two scriptures that point to Jesus declaration that He is one with God (John 8:58 and John 10:30). Even Jewish religious leaders heard of His bold claim of divinity which prompted them to pick up stones and charge Him with blasphemy. Their accusation, “You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
The encounter between the disciple Thomas and Jesus is another biblical evidence that points to Jesus as God. Thomas was initially skeptical of Jesus’ resurrection because he was not present when He first appeared to the disciples after rising from the dead (John 20:24-25). He wanted tangible evidence, like the marks of the nails on His hand, to prove Jesus’ resurrection.
So when he saw Jesus, he exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). In this moment, when Thomas addresses Jesus, he acknowledges Jesus as his Lord and addresses Him as God. Interpretation of these scriptures given above varies among Christian denominations. Besides, different theological traditions may emphasize different aspects of the relationship between Jesus and God.
Why Did Jesus Pray to the Father?
In Matthew 26:39, Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His arrest and crucifixion. If God is Jesus, why did He pray to the Father? Well, that’s because even though Jesus said they were one with the Father, the godhead is made of three distinct persons – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 2:14 further emphasizes the necessity of God becoming fully human by sharing in flesh and blood. In addition, 1 Timothy 3:16 states, “He was manifested in the flesh,” which points to God taking on human form through the birth of Jesus to reveal Himself more intimately to humanity.
By becoming human, God was able to demonstrate His love and sinless life in a relatable way. This exemplary life serves as a model for how individuals should live in alignment with God’s will and principles.
God the Son Died on the Cross
So how can Jesus be God and still be the Son of God? God’s Son is an expression of His role in relation to God the Father. It’s not a literal term to mean Jesus had parents and God had a wife. Instead, the term son of God is a symbolic or metaphoric representation. Overall, the term “Son of God” is a metaphor expressing a profound spiritual or moral relationship between Jesus and the divine rather than a literal parent-child relationship.
In addition, Jesus, as the Son of God, symbolizes broader principles of love, compassion, and the divine nature inherent in humanity. Besides, when the Son of God died on the cross, His physical body was separated from his spirit. But His spirit didn’t cease to exist because it is immortal. Ecclesiastes 12:7 talks about the continued existence of the spirit or soul after death and that it returns to God.
Furthermore, when the Son of God was being crucified, he told the thief next to Him, “You will be with me in paradise.” This points to the physical body dying but the spirit/soul being immortal. Various scholars also give evidence for the immortality of the soul/spirit for people of faith. Nonetheless, eternal life is granted to those who have faith in God and follow His teachings.
Jesus is God Based on What He Does
Jesus’ identity isn’t based solely on what He says but on what He does. During His ministry, Jesus performed various miracles that are seen as manifestations of his divine nature. The miracles are from the New Testament, where the life and teachings of Jesus are documented.
His first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana Galilee (John 2:1-11). Jesus also raised Lazarus from the dead, which points to His authority over life and death (John 11:1-44). There are also several instances where Jesus healed people suffering from various illnesses, including a leaper and paralyzed man. All the miracles demonstrate a power traditionally attributed to God alone.
Indeed, God died on the cross through Jesus, who, being fully God and fully human, maintained a unique union of these two natures during his earthly existence. God the Son took on human form in the incarnation to share in our humanity while remaining divine. So, while it’s clear He died on the cross, God, being eternal and the source of life, offers the promise of immortality to believers. When in doubt if God died on the cross, turn to Isaiah 9:6:
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”