Jesus is not God. I’ve said this before but I think of necessity it needs to be said again (and again and again, as the need arises).
The term “Emmanuel” means “God with us”, not “This is God” or “I am God”. Jesus is called Emmanuel not because Jesus is God but because God was with Jesus and, in being with Jesus, was also with the people on Earth (as prophesied in the Old Testament). In other words, God was with the people through Jesus – not AS Jesus, but THROUGH Jesus.
In fact, God’s Spirit was powerfully with Jesus, more than with anyone who ever lived, but Jesus was God’s ONLY BEGOTTEN son (not only son, ONLY BEGOTTEN son) and therefore not God. This distinction of Jesus not being God is very important and does not in any way diminish Jesus’ role either in Heaven or on Earth. God, through his Spirit, was with Jesus while he was on Earth, just as God, through his Spirit, is with all genuine born-again believers. This is the very definition of grace. The Age of Grace is the age of “God with us”. Jesus Emmanuel, the Christ/Messiah, is “God with us” not because Jesus is God but because God’s Spirit was with Jesus and so, by extension, with humanity.
Today, we can be like Jesus (meaning, we can have God’s Spirit with us, and, by extension, with humanity) if we are born-again. Jesus showed us the way so that we could walk in it and show other people the way. As genuine followers of Jesus, we are lesser versions of God’s Emmanuel, but as long as God is with us through his Spirit, God is also with humanity. A day will come when the Age of Grace is over and all born-again believers will be gone from Earth. On that day, God will no longer be with humanity and humanity, as a result, will not be long for this Earth. May you not live to see that day.
Jesus and God are two very separate individuals. To make Jesus God is to belittle Jesus’ supreme achievement of living a sin-free life while on Earth, though tempted in every way that we’re tempted. The fact that Jesus was sin-free and lived his life sin-free is the very reason why he was found worthy to be the sacrifice for sin. You have to be quite an exemplary human (in fact, the best who ever lived) to be tempted but never fall, even temporarily. Jesus was such a human and therefore became the fitting “unblemished” sacrifice. If Jesus were God, it would have been no big deal for God to go through life sin-free – he can do anything he wants, he’s God. But for a human to do it – now, there’s an accomplishment that has not been seen either before or since Jesus.
Jesus was able to live his life sin-free not because he was God but because God was with him and Jesus always “did that which pleased the Father”. In this regard, God’s will and Jesus’ will were the same, which is what Jesus meant when he said in John’s gospel that he and the Father were one, or that if you’ve seen him, you’ve seen the Father. Because Jesus so nearly perfectly (nothing on Earth is perfect, but Jesus came as close as possible to perfection) – because Jesus so nearly perfectly AND OF HIS OWN FREE WILL did God’s will and aligned his will so closely to God’s (again, OF HIS OWN FREE WILL), he was as close as we’ll ever come to having God with us.
One of the main reasons for the confusion over Jesus being God is that Jesus spoke as God’s mouthpiece (his Word) without prefacing his statements with “Thus saith the Lord”. The Old Testament prophets did not have God with them all the time; he would visit them on occasion, and then they would report what he said. In doing the reporting, they would preface their statements with “Thus saith the Lord”, so the hearers would be able to distinguish between what the prophets were saying and what God was saying. Jesus didn’t have to do that because God was always with him; when he opened his mouth, God spoke directly through him at that very moment as the Word of God.
We need to be very, very careful not to fall into the trap of seeing Jesus as God. This notion of framing Jesus as God is not in scripture and was not in any way promoted by Jesus’ disciples or by Paul in his letters. Jesus said “I am in God and God is in me” as a way to illustrate the presence of God’s Spirit with him. Today, the definition of a Christian has devolved to being “one who believes that Jesus is God”. Only someone who is not born-again and does not know God or Jesus can come up with such an ascriptural and distorted definition based on a misreading and misinterpretation of scripture, and it needs to be refuted wherever and whenever it occurs.
Jesus is God’s only begotten son, God’s suffering servant, God’s Emmanuel, and God’s Messiah. He is also our teacher and (if we’re genuinely born-again) our friend. Today, Jesus sits at the right hand of God and is Lord over God’s creation. But Jesus is not now and never was God. Please remember that.