Who is Jesus?

 

In one place in the New Testament, Jesus is described in this way, “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days He has spoken to us in His
Son, whom He appointed heir of all things and through whom also He made the world.  He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.” Hebrews 1:1-3   
         Jesus is the most unique person of all time and of all peoples.  His teachings were radical and continually confronted the religious leaders of His day.  These clashes eventually were the reason the Jewish leaders wanted to put Him to death.  He is the only human to have led a sinless life.  Jesus displayed His supernatural powers by performing many and varied miracles.  In the life He led and the miracles He performed, He demonstrated how much He loves and cares for all peoples of all nations.  He was born in a small village in Palestine, the son of a carpenter, never received a higher education, never traveled far from home, never married or had children, had no earthly possessions, and a public ministry which only lasted three years; however He is considered the cornerstone of history, having had a more profound influence on the history of the world than any other historical figure.  


                      BIRTH OF JESUS
         The Jews had anticipated the coming of the Messiah for many centuries.  The first prophesies of the Messiah’s coming were given by Moses fifteen hundred years before the birth of Jesus.  As the time drew nearer to Jesus’ birth, the prophets began to prophesy more specifically.  Jesus’ birth, life and death fulfilled more than 300 prophesies of the Old Testament. 
         The prophet Isaiah wrote seven hundred years before Jesus was born: 
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
In the New Testament this prophecy was fulfilled.
“Behold an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife for the child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”   Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet (Isaiah):   “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means God with us.”  Matthew 1:20-23
         The Old Testament prophet Micah even foretold that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem.  “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, to little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.  His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.”  Micah 5:2
          

                         THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS
          Jesus taught about the God of the Old Testament; the eternal, righteous, merciful, loving, all knowing, all wise, all powerful creator of the universe.  He taught that there was one God and we should worship only Him.  He also taught that there is a strict separation between God and creation.  We are to be good stewards of His creation and love and respect each other, but only worship the Creator. 
         When Jesus was asked by the Jewish leaders of His day what commandment is foremost of all, Jesus answered, “The foremost is, “Here Oh Israel!  The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.  And the second is this; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no commandment greater than these.” “   Mark 12:29-31
         The most famous of Jesus’ sermons is referred to as the Sermon on the Mount and it contains many of His basic teachings.  There He said,            
        “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. ” Matthew 5:5-9
         Jesus said, “Whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.  If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.  Whoever forces you to one mile, go with him two.  Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”   Matthew 5:39-42
       Jesus said, “In everything, therefore treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the law of the prophets.”  Matthew 7:12
       Jesus taught that we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.  “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”   Matthew 5:46
              In this sermon Jesus talked about hypocrisy, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father Who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1
Jesus also taught:  “When giving alms…”your giving will be in secret; and your Father Who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:4  He taught not to give publicly not to be honored by men.
Jesus also taught His disciples how to pray.  “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.  Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.  And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard by their many words.” Matthew 6:5&7
Jesus taught on forgiveness.  We should pray to our heavenly Father to forgive us our sins and He taught that we should forgive others for their transgressions against us.  “For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15
Jesus taught on materialism.  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
Jesus taught on the worries of the world. “Do not worry then saying, What will we eat? Or What will we wear for clothing?  For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33
Jesus taught on adultery.  “You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Matthew 5:27-28  
          At the end of the Sermon on the Mount these words are written, “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”   Matthew 7:28-29.   The religious leaders at the time, taught the law.  The law is an external force that applies pressure on us because we know what will happen if we break the law.  Jesus’ teaching was different because He didn’t just want to change our behavior, the law could do that, He wanted to change our heart.  An example of this is, during the Soviet era moral laws were strictly enforced.  No stealing, no corruption in government, everyone worked together for the common good of all etc.  but, when the Soviet Union fell apart, that moral code fell apart too.  Seventy years of communism had not changed the hearts of people.  People didn’t break the law, because communism had changed their inner convictions, but because they knew and understood the consequences of breaking the law.  Jesus wants to come into our lives and change us from the inside; He wants to change our heart to make us more like Him.  Jesus says “Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and have fellowship with him and he with Me.”  Revelation 3:23  If we really followed the teachings of Jesus on love, patience, forgiveness and care for one another, imagine how much pain and suffering would be eliminated in the world.        

                            
                        JESUS’ MIRACLES        
         Jesus performed miracles that demonstrated His supernatural power over many different realms.  Everywhere He went during His three-year ministry Jesus healed the sick, lame and demonstrated His power over the demonic realm by casting out evil spirits.
   “…and a great multitude of people from all over Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear Him and be healed of their diseases, as well as though who were tormented with unclean spirits.  And they were healed and the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.” Luke 6:17-19
On several occasions Jesus demonstrated His power over death by raising people from the dead.  The most notable instance was when His close friend Lazarus was sick, died and had been buried four days earlier.  When Jesus came, those standing near the tomb said, ““Could not this Man who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”  Jesus said, “Take away the stone, (of the tomb)”  But Martha the sister of Lazarus said to Jesus, “Lord by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”  Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”  Then He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.  Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”” John 11: 37-44

Jesus also demonstrated His power over nature and physical laws.  On one occasion he was in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee with His disciples.
 “Now when Jesus got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.  And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves.  But He was asleep.  Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord save us!  We are perishing!”  But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, oh you of little faith?  Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm.  So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” “ 
 New Testament:  Matthew 8:23-27

Jesus ministered to the practical, physical needs of those who came to hear Him.  There was a large multitude following Him on foot out into the countryside to hear His teaching.  “When it was evening, His disciples came to him saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late.  Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”  But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away.  You give them something to eat.”  And they said to Him, “We have here only five fishes and two loaves.”  He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes.  So they all ate and were filled… Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:13-21

These are but a few of the many miracles Jesus performed, which are recorded in the New Testament.  But, those miracles recorded in the New Testament are few in number compared to the total number of recorded miracles Jesus performed. Jesus’ disciple John writes this, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”John 21:25
“but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ (Greek word for Messiah), the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:31

 

                     JESUS’ MISSION        
         Jesus said that he, “come to seek and save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 His mission was to restore men to fellowship with their Creator.  In Genesis we learn that man was created in God’s image and was created to have fellowship with God as Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden.  But man, through Adam and Eve, sinned against God and this rebellion caused a break in fellowship with the Holy God.  In the New Testament, it is written: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
         We, like Adam and Eve have broken God’s laws.  God created men in His image, but we have perverted that image.   God loved us so much that he took the initiative to restore our lost fellowship and to save us from our sins.   
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”      John 3:16
         Seven hundred years before Jesus birth the Prophet Isaiah writes of the coming Messiah.  “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  He was oppressed and He was afflicted yet He opened not his mouth; He was lead as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it’s shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.”  Isaiah 53:6-7          “My righteous servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11
“Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know Me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father; I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-16        
         From the time of Adam and Eve until the time of Jesus, believers practiced the sacrifice of animals for forgiveness of their sins.  Adam and Eve’s sons Cain and Able brought to God the first sacrifices recorded in Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. Cain, a farmer brought an assortment of fruit and vegetables.  Abel brought an unblemished lamb.  God accepted the sacrifice of Abel, but rejected the sacrifice of Cain, clearly showing that blood must be shed for the forgiveness of sins.
          In the Law of Moses the Jews were commanded to sacrifice a lamb every year on Passover.  The lamb was a remembrance of the time when God saved them from the bondage of slavery in Egypt.  The Jews lived in Egypt four hundred years.  God used Moses to call the Jews out of Egypt to the Promised Land of Israel. Pharaoh refused to let them go and God brought a series of ten plagues upon Egypt.  The tenth and final plague occurred when the angel of death passed over the land and in every household that did not have the blood of the Passover lamb on their doorpost and lintel, the first-born male was killed.  The lamb chosen for the Passover had to be a one-year-old male without blemish.  The lamb was even quarantined for four days to make certain of its purity. 
            The Passover lamb was a picture to people of the Old Testament of the Messiah to come.  The One who would come and die in their place, just as the Passover lamb died to protect them from the angel of death.  The Passover lamb was to be spotless which is a picture of the sinless life Jesus led.  John the Baptist whose job was to prepare the way for the coming Messiah prophetically said when he first saw Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World.” John 1:29   It was no accident that Jesus was crucified during the Passover celebration.  “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” 1 Corinthians 5:7
          The Old Testament teaches that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.  God commanded the Jews to celebrate a day of atonement, once a year.  On the day-of-atonement the high priest was to slaughter animals as a sacrifice for his and the peoples’ sins.  He was to take the blood of these animals into the most holy place of the temple, called the Holy of Holies. There was a curtain separating the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple. The high priest was the only person allowed to go beyond the curtain into the Holy of Holies and only once a year on the Day of Atonement It was in the Holy of Holies that he was interceding before God, for the sins of the people.  The moment Jesus died on the cross, there was an earthquake that tore the curtain in the temple.  God’s presence immediately left the Holy of Holies and this was the beginning of a new covenant where Jesus is the high priest who intercedes, constantly on our behalf before the Father.  “not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once and for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”  Hebrews 9:12  
         Chapters 9 &10 of Hebrews clearly teach that although they were commanded to sacrifice the blood of sacrificed animals, they could not take away sins, but merely covered the sins of believers until Jesus died on the cross for their sins.  “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,”   “For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”   Hebrews 10:12 &14   
         Jesus’ mission was to make a way for mankind to have a restored relationship with God.  He did this taking on Himself the punishment for the sins of all mankind, past, present and future.  “…who Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His own body on the cross, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness---by whose stripes you were healed.”  1Peter 2:24        
         In fact, Jesus claimed that He was the only way to God.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:6 

 

                         THE DEITY OF JESUS
         One of the most important truths of the followers of Jesus is that He was God in human form.  The Jews had been waiting since the time of Abraham for the Messiah and they believed that the Messiah would be God, Himself.  On one occasion, Jesus’ disciples were questioning His identity. said “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.  Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me?.”  John 14:9&10  Jesus also claimed that He could forgive sins.  One time a paralyzed man was brought to Jesus.  The house where He was speaking was so crowded the paralyzed man’s friends couldn’t get him through the door, so they carried him onto the roof and lowered him through a hole they made in the roof.  “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic,’ son, your sins are forgiven you.’  And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts,’ why does this man speak blasphemies like this?  Who can forgive sins but God alone’?  But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts?”  What is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘arise take up your bed and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he got up and immediately picked up the pallet and went out” Mark 2:1-12 
          Jesus often made claims, verifying them with the demonstration of supernatural powers.  The best example of this was when the religious leaders of the day asked Him for a sign even though they had seen Him perform miracles.  “Jesus answered and said to them, “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.””  John2:19  Although Jesus was referring to His bodily resurrection, they thought He was referring to the temple in Jerusalem.  Indeed Jesus’ most important sign was His resurrection.   The New Testament teaches us that Jesus raised Himself from the dead, proving He was who He claimed to be.   Jesus claimed to be the source of life and have power over death.  “Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in Me, will live even if He dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25&26 
         Anther time Jesus was questioned by the Jewish leaders as to his identity.  “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” Then they took up stones to throw at Him…”  John 8:58&59   When Jesus used the phrase “I AM”, He used the name for God that was given to Moses when God appeared to him in a burning bush.  Jesus was claiming not only to have existed before Abraham, but was claiming to be God, Himself.  Considering this blasphemy, they picked up stones to stone Him. 
         One of Jesus’ prominent disciples named John wrote these words.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”  John1:1-5 &14
                 

                         JUDGEMENT
          The Bible teaches that “it is appointed for men once to die and after this comes judgment”.  Hebrews 9:27 and that Jesus will preside over the final judgment of all men.  When Jesus was teaching His disciples He said, “But when the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.  And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’.  Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels.’”  Matthew 25: 31-34 &41
         The question is what will Jesus use as His criteria for judgment?  Jesus said in His sermon on the mount, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 5:20  The Jews had more than 600 laws to follow and rituals to observe.  The scribes and Pharisees meticulously observed them all.  Jesus’ teaching shocked the listeners because if the scribes and Pharisees couldn’t make it into heaven with their righteousness, who could?  The apostle Paul wrote, “…by the works of the law no flesh will be justified.”  Galatians 2:16  Paul also wrote,  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.”  Romans 6:23   All people sin and stand guilty before a holy God.   This scripture teaches that the penalty for sin is separation from a holy God but He has provided the free gift of eternal life. 
         The New Testament teaches that the only way to God is through His Son, Jesus.  “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who has the Son has the life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.”  I John 5:11 &12   
         The following are four spiritual truths taken from the Holy Scriptures, which leads us to a better understanding of how we can receive salvation and forgiveness for our sins, then we come into a right relationship with God.