Who is Jesus?
It’s a question of absolutely critical importance. Was he simply a good man who walked around in sandals, spoke some proverbs, and treated everyone with kindness?
Or was he something more? Or something less?
Some of you reading this have questions. You’re curious about this Jesus guy. Maybe you grew up going to church but never really understood why Jesus was all that important. Or maybe you met someone who was all into Jesus and you didn’t understand why.
And so you find yourself asking, “Who is Jesus?”
You’re not the only person to ask this question. Even people close to Jesus got confused about his identity. Some thought he was a great prophet. Others called him the “Messiah”. Still, others said he was possessed by demons.
So who was Jesus really? And why does it matter so much?
In this post, I’m going to look at what the Bible has to say about Jesus. The Bible tells us the story of Jesus and is a record of what he said and did.
I’m assuming that the Bible is a true record of what people witnessed. Some of you may disagree with this sentiment, and that’s okay.
But the Bible is really the only place we can read the actual words of Jesus and see the actions he took. The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are a historical record of who Jesus is.
So let’s try to answer the question: who is Jesus.
The Claims Of Jesus
When it comes to answering the question of, “Who is Jesus,” we need to look at what he said about himself. After all, a person’s self-identity tells us a lot about who a person actually is.
So who did Jesus say he was?
Jesus Claimed To God
The most astonishing claim that Jesus made about himself was that he was God. Not an angel. Not a prophet. Not some sort of semi-divine being. No, he claimed to be God himself.
In John 5, Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed and then called God his “Father”. This absolutely infuriated the Jewish leaders because they knew what it meant when Jesus called God his Father. They knew that he was claiming to be equal with God, which was heresy to the Jews.
And so in John 5:18 it says, “This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”
In Mark 2, Jesus healed another man who was paralyzed and told him that his sins were forgiven. Again, the Jewish leaders were apoplectic. Why? Because they knew that the only person who could forgive sins was God. Sin is breaking God’s law. Therefore the only person who has the authority to forgive sins is God himself.
And so they said to each other, “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
This claim by Jesus – to be equal with God – is absolutely staggering. If you want to know who Jesus is, you have to deal with this claim he made.
Was Jesus a crazy schizophrenic who believed he was God? Was he a con man and a deceiver who pretended to be God and mislead people? Or was he really, actually, truly God?
There’s no getting around this question. Who is Jesus? I encourage you to answer that question by examining the many claims of Jesus about himself.
Jesus Claimed To Be The Way, Truth, and Life
Not only did Jesus claim that he was God himself, but he also claimed to be THE way to God, THE truth, and THE life. Not one truth among many. Not one god among many gods, all who are part of the truth. No, he claimed to be the source of ALL truth.
In John 14:6 Jesus said, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’
There are two incredible things about this passage. First, Jesus claims to be the only way to God. He says that no one can come to the Father (God) except through him. This is an incredibly exclusive claim.
He didn’t say that he was one among many paths to God. He didn’t claim to be one of many people who pointed to God. He claimed to be the ONLY way to God.
He also claimed to be the source of all truth. According to Jesus, everyone can’t have their own truth. He alone is the truth and everything he says is true. You don’t get to pick and choose the truths that suit you.
Jesus is the truth.
Finally, Jesus claimed to be the life. In other words, he claimed that he could give people spiritual life that can be found nowhere else.
Again, these are all incredibly exclusive claims. If you want to answer the question of, “Who is Jesus,” you have to wrestle with these claims that Jesus made.
Are they true or false? You can’t simply shrug them off with a, “Meh,” or a, “Maybe.” If what Jesus said is true, then he is worthy of being followed. If what he says is false, then he should be scorned as a liar, deceiver, or insane person.
Jesus Claimed To Be The Source Of Eternal Life
Not only did Jesus claim to be the only way to God, but he also claimed that he could give eternal life to people. In John 17:3, Jesus said, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
Did you catch that?
Jesus says that the only way a person can have eternal life is by knowing him. According to Jesus, you have a soul and that soul will live on forever. But the only way you can have eternal life is by believing in Jesus. There is simply no other way.
You can’t have eternal life by doing good things. You can’t get eternal life by being a good person. You only can have eternal life if you believe in and personally know Jesus Christ.
Now we’re getting into the realm of the seemingly absurd. Either Jesus is correct and he gives eternal life, or he is straight up off his rocker. But this is the question you must answer. Can Jesus give eternal life? If not, then who was he?
Who is Jesus? He claimed to be the source of eternal life. Who do you believe that he is?
The Acts of Jesus
It’s one thing to look at the claims of Jesus. After all, anyone can claim to be God. Sure, they might be crazy, but they can still make the claim.
But here’s the thing…
Jesus also did extraordinary, crazy, out of this world things. Things that no normal human could do. These things were witnessed by thousands of people and recorded in the Bible.
What sorts of things did Jesus do?
- Instantly healed those who were blind
- Caused the paralyzed to walk again
- Brought multiple people back from the dead
- Caused the sea to be still during a storm
- Walked on water
- Fed 5,000 people with just a few loaves of bread and some fish
- Healed those afflicted with leprosy
- Turned water into wine
- Cast demons out of people
- And dozens of other supernatural things
You might be tempted to think, Surely none of these things actually happened. They’re simply legends.
That’s a reasonable response.
Except here’s the thing: these miracles were seen not just by one or two people, but by great crowds of them! These were not hallucinations or the machinations of fevered minds. Many people were so convinced that these things happened that they were willing to stake their lives upon them.
In John 21:25, John says, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
The Jewish leaders could argue with the theology of Jesus but they couldn’t argue with the things he did. He was absolutely extraordinary.
Do you want to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” Then you must determine what all these miracles and supernatural events actually mean. What do they say about Jesus? Was he just an ordinary man or was he something else altogether?
What Others Said About Jesus
Not only did Jesus claim that he was the Son of God (and equal to God), but many others made the exact same statement after witnessing all that he said and did.
When demons saw Jesus coming, they said, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
When Jesus calmed the raging storm, his disciples said, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
When a centurion (a hardened soldier) saw Jesus die upon the cross, he uttered, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that he claimed to be the Son of God. The Jewish High Priest demanded of Jesus, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
Were these people right or were they sadly wrong? Was Jesus really the Son of God or did these folks get the answer completely and totally wrong? I encourage you to answer these questions for yourself.
Jesus Rose From The Dead
Perhaps the greatest evidence that Jesus is different from everyone else is that he was physically, really killed and then was physically, really rose from the dead.
Again, you may be tempted to think, “But this is just a legend! No one can rise from the dead!”
And you’re absolutely right. No one can rise from the dead. Unless they’re the one who has power over death. Unless they’re God in flesh.
Death is the great enemy of mankind, and only one person has triumphed over death. That person is Jesus.
Jesus’ resurrection from the dead wasn’t just witnessed by a few people either. It wasn’t a hallucination brought on by grief. First, Jesus appeared to two women near his tomb. Then he appeared to Peter, then to his twelve disciples. Then he appeared to a staggering 500 people! Then he appeared again to his disciples.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:4-7:
…he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
Jesus’ disciples and followers were so convinced that they had seen Jesus alive that they were willing to die horrible, painful deaths. According to many, the Apostle Peter was even crucified upside down because he refused to recant any of what he had seen or heard.
Again, this is a question that you too must wrestle with. What will you do with the resurrection? Did Jesus really rise from the dead or were all these people lying? Were they all mass hallucinating together or did they really see the risen Jesus, back from the dead?
When it comes to answering the question, “Who is Jesus?” you must also answer the question, “Was the resurrection a real thing?”
Who Is Jesus? Who Do You Say That He Is?
This is just a small sampling of what Jesus said and did. The rest of his amazing words and deeds can be found in the Bible.
But this brings us to a critically important question: who do you say that Jesus is?
Jesus cannot be ignored.
You must either reject him outright and have nothing to do with him…
…or you must believe in him, obey him, and receive eternal life from him.
And here’s the good news. Everyone who believes in Jesus can have their sins forgiven. Everyone who turns from their sin and trusts in Jesus can be brought into a relationship with God.
You don’t have to do anything to earn forgiveness. In fact, you can’t do anything to earn forgiveness. But you can receive it from Jesus as a free gift.
Who is Jesus?
You must answer the question today. Don’t wait any longer.