Who is Jesus Christ?
Who do you say Jesus Christ is? Have you formed an opinion? Are you one of the many who find him troubling or even perplexing? To explore this, let’s look at just one of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament, the fifth book of the Torah:
“Do all of your work in six days. But the seventh day is a Sabbath in honor of the LORD your God.” [Deuteronomy 5:13-14a ]
Who is this “LORD your God” that Moses is talking about? We all know the answer: The Lord God Almighty – the I AM – YHWH – Yahweh – Adonai – Jehovah – the Alpha and Omega – the One and only God. Now let’s look at the words of Jesus Christ:
Then Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath day.” [Luke 6:5 ]
Who is the “Son of Man?” We all know the answer: Jesus Christ. But how can Jesus Christ be the Lord of the Sabbath unless He is also the Lord God Almighty walking among us in the flesh – the “Immanuel” – God With Us – as prophesied by Isaiah? If he openly claims to be God Almighty, how can we dismiss him as a great moral teacher or a prophet? A good teacher and prophet does not claim Deity. Are we facing a problem of identification?
Let’s explore some of the other claims he made of himself. Jesus told us a quite a bit about his identity. What he said is well documented. Check the record with me, then you decide:
HE CLAIMS THAT HE EXISTED BEFORE THE COMING OF THE WORLD—
“The truth is, I existed before Abraham was even born!” [John 8:58] “And now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” [John 17:5]
HE CLAIMS THAT HE CAME FROM HEAVEN—
“For only I, the Son of Man, have come to earth and will return to heaven again” [John 3:13] “For I have come down from heaven…” [John 6:38] “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven….” [John 6:51] “Then what will you think if you see me, the Son of Man, return to heaven again?” [ John 6:62] “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I have come to you from God…” [John 8:42] “Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and I will leave the world and return to the Father.” [John 16:28]
HE CLAIMS THAT HE CAN RAISE THE DEAD—
“Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to judgment” [John 5:28-29] “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish.” [John 11:25-26]
HE CLAIMS THAT HE IS THE FINAL JUDGE—
(Speaking of himself)—“All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” [Matthew 25:32] “And he (the Father) has given him (the Son) authority to judge all mankind because he is the Son of Man” [John 5:27]
HE CLAIMS THAT HE MUST BE HONORED AS GOD—
“And the Father leaves all judgment to his Son, so that everyone will honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. But if you refuse to honor the Son, then you are certainly not honoring the Father who sent him.” [John 5:22-23]
HE CLAIMS TO BE ONE WITH GOD THE FATHER—
“The Father and I are one.” [John 10:30] “Philip, don’t you even yet know who I am, even after all the time I have been with you? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking to see him? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I say are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.” [John 14:9-10]
HE ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE WORSHIPPED AS GOD—
When Jesus heard what had happened, he found the man and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” The man answered, “Who is he, sir, because I would like to.” “You have seen him,” Jesus said, “and he is speaking to you!” “Yes, Lord,” the man said,“I believe!” And he worshiped Jesus. Then Jesus told him, “I have come to judge the world. I have come to give sight to the blind and to show those who think they see that they are blind.” [John 9:35-39]
…Jesus was standing among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” [John 20:26-29]
HE CLAIMS THAT HE CAN GIVE ETERNAL LIFE—
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes (trusts) in him (for their salvation) will not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16] “But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them, giving them eternal life.” [John 4:14] “You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life.” [John 5:39-40] “I assure you, anyone who believes in me already has eternal life.” [John 6:47] “… He (the Son) gives eternal life to each one you (the Father) have given him.” [John 17:2]
HE CLAIMS TO HAVE THE AUTHORITY OF GOD—
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth.” [Matthew 28:18] “All those who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and live with them.” [John 14:23] “For you (Father) have given him (the Son) authority over everyone in all the earth… [John 17:2]
HE CLAIMS TO BE OMNIPRESENT—
“For where two or three gather together because they are mine, I am there among them.” [Matthew 18:20] “Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” [Matthew 28:20]
THESE ARE EXTRAORDINARY CLAIMS. THEY ARE ALL ATTRIBUTES OF GOD.
C.S. Lewis, acclaimed contemporary scholar, has this to say in his popular classic, Mere Christianity—
“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” [Macmillan 1943]
Isaiah predicted the coming of Christ and called Him Immanuel, which means God with us. The name Jesus literally means God saves. Hundreds of years before His coming, it was known that God Himself would walk among us, as one of us.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. [Isaiah 7:14]
There are numerous eye-witness accounts of Jesus Christ. Lets look at a group of hostile eye witnesses — those who feared that he would bring trouble to their nation — the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Teachers of the Hebrew Law — the religious elite of his own day. What did they say about him? Again, the answer is well known. They called him Rabbi — teacher. They recognized his miracles—
Then the leading priests and Pharisees called the high council together to discuss the situation. “What are we going to do?” they asked each other. “This man certainly performs many miraculous signs” [John 11:47]
There are Roman accounts of Christ, but what about the writings of someone who had everything to lose by recording the facts as he knew them? Flavius Josephus, the great Hebrew historian of the first century wrote—
“…Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate…condemned him to the cross, those that loved him…did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day…And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct to this day.” [Nelson’s Encyclopedia of Bible Facts 1980, p514]
THE RESPONSE OF THE APOSTLES—
What turned eleven cowards into bold martyrs? They had nothing to gain by proclaiming Christ’s ressurection. The proof is in their actions. They went to their deaths to proclaim the Truth.
THE REAL QUESTION — JESUS CHRIST — WHO DO YOU SAY HE IS? YOUR ANSWER WILL DETERMINE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR LIFE.
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