Who is Jesus Christ?

"Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" Jesus asked his disciples one day. No surprise that people were talking about Jesus. He was regularly performing miracles, healing people and casting out oppressive evil spirits. People who do this are hard to ignore.
 
His disciples answered him, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." (See Matthew 16:13ff). The people of his day were confused concerning the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. And so it is today. All around the world people are saying things about Jesus, but most people still don't really understand who He is. We need to know, and I hope to show you WHY you need to know. Please read on.
 
Its interesting to me that people were coming up with all these weird answers. It seems that the people of Jesus' day were religiously confused, just as people are in our own generation. They seemed to have taken on ideas of reincarnation because some people believed that Jesus was Jeremiah, Elijah or John the Baptist – people that had died. Today many people also believe in reincarnation, but no where is this what the Bible or Jesus taught. Today there are also many who say like the people then, "Jesus is one of the prophets". Muslim believe that Jesus was a rather special prophet, but not as good as Mohammed, "the seal of the prophets". 
 
But if you want to know who Jesus really is, don't just take the people's word for it. The truth about religion has nothing to do with who your parents are, or what religion they adopted and brought you up in. I tell you: if Jesus truly is/was a prophet of God, its pretty important to listen to and know what He had to say. And the best qualified people to tell you are the EYEWITNESSES of Jesus' life and ministry – not anyone who comes along centuries later and tells you that God showed him, or whatever, who Jesus is. That is why the answer of the disciples of Jesus themselves counts for a lot. They were eyewitnesses, and their writings were recorded and preserved so we also could know the answer to this vital question.
 
Jesus then asked them, "But who do YOU say that I am?" One of these days God will ask you this question in your heart also. Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God." (vs 16).
 
Good answer, Peter. Jesus told Peter that it was only God the Father who revealed that to Peter. It wasn't an answer given by a mere fallible man. It was the right answer. But what does it mean?
 
<strong>Who is the Christ?</strong>
 
We hear a lot of talk these days about "the Christ". I've heard sincere New Age people tell me that "Christ is a consciousness". But historically, and for the Jewish people at the time of Jesus of Nazareth, such a definition for "Christ" would be considered pure hogwash. The word "Christ" is based on a Greek work which means "The Anointed One". The Hebrew translation is "Ha Maschiach" from which we get the English word "Messiah".
 
The Hebrews were looking for a Messiah, an Anointed One, who was going to be sent by God to set them free from their bondage and slavery. For the Jewish people of the day, living under an oppressive Roman rule, they were all expecting a Messiah who would implement social justice for the people of God (themselves, the Jews) and get rid of the yoke of the Romans. Peter had never seen Jesus fight Romans, which is why it was interesting that he came to understand that Jesus was in fact the promised Messiah of God.
 
Its important to understand that Jesus did not come into a vacuum, or amongst a people who had no previous dealings of God among them. Jesus came into this world as a Jew, of the tribe of Judah. Although the Jews had not had any prophets (apart from John the Baptist) for hundreds of years, before that there was a long history of God's dealing with their own nation through prophets whose words were confirmed both through supernatural signs and through historical fulfilment. Their special history began with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and continued on with Moses, Joshua, the Judges, Samuel, King Saul, David and more kings until the time of the exile. Even after the exile, God raised Jews like Daniel to the pinnacle of human influence – as the second in command to the most powerful emperors of the day. And God had given prophetic promises to Daniel concerning the coming of the Messiah. Its interesting that these promises involved dates which were fulfilled exactly. I refer you to the book of Daniel and the seventy weeks prophecy for more on that.
 
So to really understand what the BIBLE means when it talks about the Christ, or the Messiah, we need to go back to Hebrew/Jewish history, found in what we Christians call the Old Testament or Old Covenant. There are many interesting prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. Some of them have been fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus of Nazareth, and others await fulfilment in the future. As Christians, we believe that these other prophecies will be fulfilled around the time of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
 
<strong>Prophecies of the Messiah</strong>
 
Some of the most amazing prophecies concerning Jesus of Nazareth were given hundreds of years before His arrival on earth. And we KNOW that these prophecies were not made after Jesus' life because of documents like the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have the prophecies of Isaiah and many other interesting things. These physical scrolls were dated to dates centuries before the time of Jesus Christ.
 
The Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah 53 is a key one for Christians who wish to witness to Jews today, because from their own "Tenach", their own Scriptures, comes a fairly detailed if succinct prophecy concerning the achievements of a "Suffering Servant" of whom it says, "The Lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all". I will quote the chapter here.
 
<blockquote>
Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
 
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
 
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
 
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
 
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
 
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
 
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
 
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
 
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
 
10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
 
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
 
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
</blockquote>
 
There is a lot that could be said about Isaiah 53. But who could it be of whom the Scripture speaks in verse 12 that "<i>he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out his soul unto death</i>". Who is who DIES, who "bears the sins of many", and goes onto divide the spoil. What does this mean? It can only refer to the resurrection and glorification of Jesus Christ as Lord of all. The Bible declares that God has made this Jesus [whom you crucified] both Lord and Christ. See the Book of Acts chapter 2 verse 36.
 
There is a similar prophecy of the death and suffering of the Messiah in Psalm 22. I leave it to you as an exercise to read it for yourself and decide if its just a co-incidence that the details of this Psalm correspond so closely to the historical eyewitness record of the apostles concerning the death of Christ.
 
<h3><strong>Peter said that Jesus is the Son of the Living God</strong></h3>
 
There is misunderstanding with some people about what it means for God to have a Son. It doesn't mean that God decided to have sex one day and procreate a Son. According to the Bible, Jesus is eternal. He did not come into existence as a result of God's sexual activity. The Bible says concerning Jesus: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God." (John 1:1) and then in verse 14 of the same chapter, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us". So before Jesus (who is here referred to as "The Word") became flesh, He was already with God in the beginning. And more than that, the Scripture says He "was God". When we speak of Jesus we are talking about an eternal sonship of which natural sonship is only a limited metaphor. More than this: when you do a Bible study of the word "father" in the Old Testament – all its uses – you will see that it is clearly not a word that applies simply and only to those who have procreated a child through impregnating a woman who then gives birth. For example in Genesis 4:20-21 and following it says:
 
<blockquote>
And Adah bore Jabal. He was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the father of all those who play the harp and flute. </blockquote>
 
The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is of one nature with God the Father, that He is the image of the Invisible God, that He is the inheritor of all things and many other things that relate to the idea of Sonship. The Father/Son relationship also describes the way Jesus Christ acted in free submission to Father in Heaven in all things.
 
So we see the answer of Peter is very significant: Jesus is both the promised Messiah of the Israelites and also the Son of the Living God, in a very real sense. Jesus is therefore MORE than a carpenter, and MORE than a prophet. Jesus is more than a guru, more than an enlightened being. According to the Bible, He is the Son of the Living God. More than this, He is the "Word" which is God.
 
 
<strong>What Proof Do we Have that Jesus is the Son of God?</strong>
 
Jesus did many miracles during his 3 and a half year ministry. But we have to acknowledge that before Jesus came into the world, other prophets had done miracles. Elisha the prophet did many outstanding miracles, and God used Moses to do very outstanding miracles – like parting the sea. These miracles didn't make Moses, or Elisha "the Son of God" – not that they ever claimed to be. 
 
The one thing which put Jesus in a class of His own was His resurrection from the dead, which took place 3 days after He was crucified. Christians put a lot of significance on the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. We believe it is the event where the sin and the curse of the world was taken in our place. But if Jesus had not risen from the dead three days later, He would have been just another dead prophet. Instead, He was shown to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection of the dead – see Romans 1:4.
 
"and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. "
 
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is a documented FACT of history. We can know this to be a fact with as much certainty as any other specific event which is alleged to have taken place more than 2000 years ago. This site deals with some of the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the eyewitness reports, the empty tomb, the miraculous confirmation of the message of his death and resurrection, and even reports of the centuries of people meeting the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
 
It is this FACT of history which makes the issue of who Jesus is the most centrally important question that mankind must face. Our answer to THIS question will determine our eternal destiny. If Jesus spoke truly then you will either spend eternity with God, or in the Lake of Fire – a place of eternal torment for those who chose in their lifetime to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, and rejected the truth that came to them for their salvation – especially but not limited to the truth of the Christian gospel message itself.
 
<strong>Who is Jesus to the Believer?</strong>
 
Since Jesus is the central theme of the entire Bible, it should not surprise us to learn that He has many relations and offices to believing people today.
 
<strong>Jesus is our Savior</strong>
 
He took away our sins and his blood sacrifice of himself makes it possible for us to be continually cleansed. Jesus rescues us from the power of sin and the condemnation that comes to unrepentant, unforgiven sinners when they leave this temporal existence after a few short years.
 
 

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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