Is Jesus Not Good?

Posted on December 15, 2020


By David Ettinger

Twisting Scripture
There is a considerably large faction within Christendom which considers Jesus the Savior of the human race, but not deity. Such adherents see Jesus as a great man/prophet/messenger sent from God, but not God Himself.

In denying Christ’s deity, it is necessary for these detractors to twist Scripture to say something other than what it clearly teaches. In John 10:30, Jesus asserts, “I and the Father are one.” This is as clear as it gets. What Jesus is saying is that, I am what the Father is. The Father is God, therefore I am God. This clear truth, however, doesn’t prevent the Jesus-as-deity disavowers from wrenching this passage completely out of shape.

Another favorite passage of detractors is Mark 10:17-18: “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone.’”

Aha! The Christ-as-deity-denier gleefully proclaims. Here from Jesus’ own lips is proof that He is not deity!

Is this really what Jesus was saying? Let’s investigate.

The Background
Jesus and His followers were traveling to Jerusalem. Along the way, they encountered numerous Israelites wishing to see Jesus for various reasons. Some sought His blessing for their children, others healing, and many more just wanted to witness what all the fuss was about.

Among the seekers was a well-intentioned young, wealthy, Jewish landowner who sought the secret to acquiring eternal life. In approaching Jesus, the young man was certainly respectful, as he knelt before Him; however, he then revealed the error of his heart by referring to Jesus as “Good teacher.”

The Error
By calling Jesus “teacher,” he was denying the Lord’s deity. The young man believed Jesus was but a man – a gifted and special one, perhaps – but merely a man. Jesus, in essence, was saying, So, you believe I am but a man? In that case, you are greatly mistaken in calling me “good,” for no man is good.

Jesus had previously taught His disciples that humanity is evil: “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:18-19). If Jesus was but a man, He would have the potential of producing such acts, and if this was the case, Jesus was not the One the rich young man should be seeking advice from.

In essence, Jesus was telling the young man, You call me good, and yet you consider Me but a man. The two don’t mix. Your thinking is badly skewed.

The Truth
The truth is that Jesus was not denying He was good; rather He was explaining that He was no ordinary man. Throughout His ministry, Jesus had clearly proclaimed His deity, hence one reason the Jewish leaders wanted to kill Him (John 10:33). Here are two examples of Jesus proclaiming His deity:

John 8:19: “Then they [the Pharisees] asked him, ‘Where is your father?’ ‘You do not know me or my Father,’ Jesus replied. ‘If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”

John 14:9: “Jesus answered: ‘Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that Jesus was not denying He was good, but making clear to the young man that if He were but a mortal man, He would not be good. However, as deity, He was good, and Jesus explained to the young man that He was indeed divine.

No amount of Scripture-twisting can alter the Bible’s indisputable claim that Jesus is deity, no matter how strenuously detractors attempt to do so. They can deny Christ’s deity if they so desire, but can’t use the Bible to back up their erroneous claims. The truth is that Jesus is God, hence He is truly good!