Who Is Jesus
Who is Jesus? is a much debated issue today, and many of those who call themselves Christians have even begun to question the divinity that Christ claimed because of published materials and beliefs of other religions. Christ is known to some as a great prophet, a good man, or a teacher. And, in some religions, Jesus Christ plays no significant role whatsoever. But, before debating which religion or denomination has the true answers into the mysteries of Christ, it would be good to understand what Jesus claimed about himself. What one decides in his or her own heart about this man has little significance on the truth. What one believes bears weight on their own eternal standing, but changes nothing about the reality of who Christ is and what work He came to accomplish. Perhaps a brief history lesson will help set the stage of better understanding the facts surrounding the most famous man in all of history.
The central figure in New Testament, Christ was prophesied in the Old Testament as well. The life and ministry of Christ are the subject of each of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Christ was born to Mary, who the Bible explains was a virgin Jewish girl who was betrothed to Joseph, a descendant from the royal blood line of King David. The exact years of Christ's birth and death are uncertain, but biblical scholars believe that Jesus was born no later than 4 B. C., around the year Herod the Great died. Luke 3:23 reveals that Christ began His earthly ministry at about the age of thirty. The Gospel events suggest that Christ's earthly ministry lasted three to four years, making him about thirty-three or four when the crucifixion took place under the governor of Judea, Pilate, who held this Roman governmental position in A.D. 26-36. After reading this article, take the quiz on who is Jesus linked above.
Though most historical and theological scholars agree on the above historical facts, significant differences exists in what Christ claimed to be and what some believe him to be. Who is Jesus? is not actually a mystery at all, but clearly explained in Scripture. Because the Bible claims itself to be the actual words of God, everyone must come to the conclusion that they either accept the Bible as the truth, and in it's entirety, or they do not. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). And once a decision about the Word of God has been made, then those who read the Bible as God's revelation of himself to man will come to know the man Jesus is much, much more than a good man, enlightened teacher, or knowledgeable prophet. To learn more about Jesus, visit these Bible resources.
The prophet Isaiah foretold of a child who would be born and that this child would have the government upon his shoulder and be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and The Prince of Peace. Isaiah did not mince words here. Clearly, the coming child that was to be a great ruler would also be a mighty deity. By performing miracles, Christ proved to have powers beyond the capabilities of human man. And, Christ not only claimed the ability for performing miracles, but also, hundreds of people were witnesses to the sick being healed, the dead being raised, and of demons being expelled.
But, if we believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, then we must believe what Christ is recorded as saying in it. "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world" (John 6:51). Christ claimed to be from heaven. "And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39). Christ claimed to be sent by the Father and to be given men and woman that would be raised again. "And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world" (John 8:23)
And, perhaps most profoundly, Christ claimed to be the ultimate sacrifice to be offered up as atonement for the sins of mankind. "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again" (Mark 8: 31). Through the sacrifice offered, those who accept this free gift will have eternal life. "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent" (John 17:3). Who is Jesus? Find out more and take the quiz linked above.
Promises Of JesusWhen pondering the promises of Jesus, one must take a look at both the Old and New Testaments to understand that the promised redemption of a fallen creation has been a mission on God's heart since sin entered the world. When looking into a few of the prophetic passages that speak of a Savior, we discover that Jesus promises were echoes of God's heart and God's will from the beginning of time. This is true for the Scriptures that speak of a Promised Land which is a foreshadow of heaven. The Bible consistently teaches the same message throughout the different periods of time in which it was written. Whether we call it vow, covenant, or promise, the big picture of God's plan began in a garden close to six-thousand years ago. The story ends with the person we know as Jesus Christ.
In the very first few chapters of Genesis, we find that created human beings were quick in disobeying their Creator. As a result, sin and death entered into the world. Because it has never been God's will that man should perish, a plan for redeeming mankind was in play. The promises of Jesus are really the assurances of the Father to a world in sin. It starts with the promise of a nation: Israel. Abraham was told that he would be the father of a nation and that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed. With the birth of the nation of Israel, God promised these people abundant blessings in the Promised Land if these once slaves would be faithful to Him. These vows are the beginning of what we now call Jesus promises because it is actually this Son of God, a Jew, that offers the greatest blessing of all time: the gift of eternal life.
In the Bible, there are more than ninety Old Testament prophecies about Jesus which are quoted in the New Testament. The writers of the New Testament recognized that Christ was the Messiah whom God promised would come. The coming Prince would be from the line of David; a wonderful counselor and a prince of peace. And though many did not recognize Jesus as the Savior God had spoken of, He performed miracles and taught of hope and healing, bringing the promises of Jesus to a world in need. Some theologians believe that because Christ did not come in the kind of power expected of the Messiah, he was treated as a fraud or one who blasphemed. The Jews believed a Savior would rescue them from the oppression of the ruling Roman government. But Christ arrived teaching instead love, humility, and forgiveness. Jesus promises were somewhat unexpected and the treasures buried in these characteristics were overlooked.
When looking at the direct assurances Christ spoke of, we find an amazing passage in the book of John. "In my Fathers house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2) One of the promises of Jesus is that he is preparing a place of great glory for those who love him. In the next verse, our Savior tells the disciples that not only will He go away, but He will return to accompany His followers to this prepared place. The Son of God declares that there will be a second coming. We will see Him again! In this same discourse at the Last Supper, Christ also tells the disciples that a Comforter will be sent to abide with them forever. The Lord has promised that we are not left as orphans, but indeed left with a tremendous guide and teacher while we wait for the grand return of our Messiah.
Of course we cannot write or speak of promises without exploring eternal salvation, the promise planned from the beginning. Christ said that God loved the world and that those who would believe that He was the Son of God would have eternal life. This means that Jesus promises offer sinners a way to reconcile with God. Because the punishment for sin is death, it is just that all men should die because we are told in the book of Romans that all men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Though the Bible makes it clear that we are all sinners, this is also an innate understanding in humans. Somehow, we understand that we are not good. But by mercy through the death of the Son of God, we are extended grace and invited into eternal life. Christ died so that we might live. This is the greatest gift and promise known to mankind.
The resurrection of Jesus is also a demonstrated promise of great importance. In rising from the grave, this prophesied Messiah conquered death once and for all. Because of the resurrection of Christ's physical body, we have the assurance that eternal life means a physical life in a place where there is no sin or sorrow. We will be living in physical bodies prepared for living eternally. Through prophecy, God has proven that the promises of the Bible will come to pass. We can and should expect the same from the words spoken by the Son of God. The promises of Jesus are the promises of God the Father.