Who is Jesus? This is the crucial question every person on earth must answer. Was He a great religious teacher or a madman? Was He God or just a man? There is much debate and controversy regarding His identity and His authority. Most people would like to believe that He was only a man who offered polite moralisms, making Him a role model for any civil society. But a careful study of His life and teachings eliminate this option.
C.S. Lewis, the famous English writer and philosopher, once said about Jesus: “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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that (option) open to us. He did not intend to.”
In truth, Jesus is God. One effective test of false doctrines and cults is to determine what they say about the person of Jesus Christ. As a rule, cults (groups generally considered to be misleading and harmful) and false churches deny the Biblical truth that Jesus is God the Son. For Christians, what we believe about Jesus is foundational to our salvation. Our knowledge of Him defines our understanding of God’s character, purpose and relationship with us.
Jesus Himself acknowledged that, although people can be deluded or confused about His identity , His true followers know Him and He knows them. (Matthew 7: 21-23; 16:13-17) It is therefore essential to understand Jesus as He truly is. In Scripture, God has revealed Himself to us, and this is our primary source of understanding who Jesus is. The Biblical testimony about Jesus gives us a many-sided picture of Him. By looking at what Jesus says about Himself and what other Biblical writers report about Him, we can know God more fully.
Few people today question Jesus’ humanity; many deny His deity. Yet from the early records of God’s revelation, Jesus has been announced as God Himself. For example, the prophet Isaiah proclaimed Jesus’ deity, foretelling His birth and reign as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
￼What we believe about Jesus is foundational to our salvation.
Jesus Himself claimed to be God by declaring, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30) Modern scholars and skeptics may argue what Jesus meant by this statement, but His contemporary audience understood it perfectly. The text says His enemies wanted to kill Him “for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God” (John 10:33).
Later, when His closest disciples were anxious during a time of intense opposition and uncertainty, Jesus reassured them by saying, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14: 9-13) In this situation, Jesus came to reveal the Father (John 1:18) and clearly proclaimed His identity as God and unity with God the Father so His followers would understand and be comforted by this truth.
In addition to the Old Testament evidence of Jesus’ deity and His own claims to be God the Son, the New Testament writers also attest to His divine nature. Testifying to the supremacy of Christ and echoing the creation account of Genesis, the Apostle Paul writes, “For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16) Clearly, the authority to create rests in God alone, and this authority Paul attributed to Jesus.
The writer of the Book of Hebrews, sets forth an astounding profession of Jesus’ deity, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:3) In this passage, as well as many others throughout the New Testament, Jesus’ claim to deity is central to His mission and ministry. Whether people reject or accept this claim, they cannot truly deny it.
Unlike His claim to deity, the fact of Jesus’ humanity is not often opposed due to well-attested historical evidence. Nevertheless, the Bible records that Jesus is not merely a man, but uniquely God-Man. John 1:1-14 introduces this amazing and mysterious truth, referring to Jesus as the very expression, or Word, of God: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” To put it another way, Jesus is 100 percent God and 100 percent man, one person with two natures: human and divine.
According to Philippians 2:6-7, Jesus laid aside His divine attributes and majesty, not using them while He was on earth in human form. He lived a human life just like we do, with its pain, sorrows, joys and burdens; with its temptations, concerns and pleasures. His human experience has great significance for us.
￼Jesus laid aside His divine attributes and majesty, not using them while He was on earth in human form.
He identifies with us like a brother, a family member with whom we share the closest experiences. The Bible points out that this family bond with Jesus is central to His ministry in our lives and His joy in us. “Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.” (Hebrews 2:11)
Like a true friend, (the closest friend, John writes) Jesus understands us and shares everything with us. (John 15:13- 15) Like a perfect leader, He can sympathize with our weaknesses because He also was tempted, yet did not sin. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Like the greatest friend, He sacrificed Himself for us, becoming our substitute in a way that only the holy God-Man could.
(II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 3:18)
Finally, Jesus is our model of human godliness, of victorious suffering, and of obedient service. “Your attitude,” the Apostle Paul tells the Philippian church, “should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5; see also I Peter 2:21)
As we have seen from Biblical accounts of Jesus’ deity and humanity, Jesus came to the world for a reason. Throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send a Messiah, or King, who would deliver His people. Two different, and apparently opposite, pictures of what this Messiah would be emerged from the prophets and the Scriptures. Isaiah 53:1-6 describes a “man of sorrows”, a servant who suffers for the sins of God’s people. But Isaiah also speaks of a kingly deliverer who will defeat God’s enemies and establish an unending rule of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
The seemingly contradictory natures of these Messianic descriptions proved to be very troublesome for Jews who were primarily expecting a king who would provide political and cultural deliverance. In the struggle to reconcile these prophesies and promises, many failed to recognize the Messiah when He did appear. He did not “fit” their expectations because He first came as a suffering servant.
Jesus claimed to be that Messiah, the Christ (or Anointed One). As the holy God-Man who laid down His life and rose again to glory, He alone has perfectly fulfilled the Biblical promise of the Messiah. He came first as a suffering servant, dying for our sins and reconciling mankind to God. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45; see also John 3: 14-15; I Peter 3:18; I John 2:2)
￼Through the Scriptures, God reveals that Jesus is fully God and fully man, the Messiah who came and is coming again.
Jesus also promised to come again as a conquering King who will deliver His people from the sin and ruin of this world. The Apostle Paul proclaimed the coming of God’s Kingdom in these terms: “Then the end will come, when He hands over the Kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.” (I Corinthians 15:24-25; see also John 14:1-3; Revelation 9:11-16, esp. v.16)
Who is Jesus? Through the Scriptures, God reveals that Jesus is fully God and fully man, the Messiah who came and is coming again. In Him, everything that is fully God is expressed in human form. (Colossians 2:10) Therefore, we should worship Christ as God, look to Him as our model and trust in Him as our Savior.
We can know God more fully by studying how He has revealed Himself as God the Son.
• The Old and New Testaments proclaim the deity of Jesus.
• Jesus Himself claimed to be God.
• Jesus is fully God and fully man.
• Because of His humanity, Jesus is
able to identify with us, understand us, substitute for us, and be an example for us.
• Jesus claimed to be the promised Messiah who is both a suffering servant and a delivering king.
Study “Proofs for the Deity of Jesus Christ”.
Take some time to meditate on the significance of Jesus’ humanity.
• He identifies with us—as a brother (Hebrews 2:11-12, 4:15)
• He understands us—as a friend (John 15:13-15)
• He substitutes for us—became able to be our substitute (II Corinthians 5:21, I Peter 3:18)
• He models for us—becomes our example. (I Peter 2:21, Philippians 2:5)
Proofs for the Deity of Jesus Christ
I. He is called God.
John 1:1,14,18; 10:30; 20:28 Romans 9:5 Colossians 2:9 II Thessalonians 1:12 Titus 2:13 Hebrews 1:3
II. He called God His Father, “making Himself equal with God”. John 5:18
III. He was proclaimed to be the Son of God from heaven.
- At His baptism: Matthew 3:16-17; Mark 1:10-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:32-34
- At His transfiguration: Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35; II Peter 1:17
IV. Jesus is the same as Yahweh in the Old Testament.
- Compare Luke 1:76 with Malachi 3:1
- Compare Romans 10:13 with Joel 2:32
- Compare Romans 14:9-11 with Isaiah 45:23-25
V. Jesus has the attributes of Deity. These attributes are those which are only true of God.
- Eternal: Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-2, 8:58; 17:5; Hebrews 1:8; Revelation 1:8
- Omnipresent: Matthew 18:20; 28:20; John 3:13, Ephesians 1:23
- Omniscient: Matthew 9:4; John 2:24-25, 6:64, 16:30, 21:17; Colossians 2:3
- Omnipotent: Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 28:18; Philippians 3:21; Revelation 1:8
- Immutable: Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8
VI. Jesus performs the activities of Deity.
- Creates: John 1:3, 10: Colossians 1:16-17; Hebrews 1:2,3,10
- Providence: Luke 10:22; John 3:35, 17:2; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:17
- Forgives sins: Matthew 9:27; Mark 2:5-10; Colossians 3:13
- Raises the dead and judges them: Matthew 25:31-32; John 5:19-30;
- Acts 10:42, 17:31; Philippians 3:21; II Timothy 4:1
- Is the object of prayer and worship: Luke 24: 51-52; John 5:23, 14:14;
- Acts 7:59, 16:31; Philippians 2:10,11; Hebrews 1:6
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