Christian Living
Essentials of Faith
Evidences for Faith
Applying Your Faith

Who Is Jesus Really?

The debate about the historical existence of Jesus is not a debate at all.  Genuine historians, even secular non christian historians accept the fact that Jesus actually existed.  E.P. Sanders, a highly respected secular historian stated: "...we have a good idea of the main lines of his ministry and his message. We know who he was, what he did, what he taught, and why he died. ….. the dominant view [among scholars] today seems to be that we can know pretty well what Jesus was out to accomplish, that we can know a lot about what he said, and that those two things make sense within the world of first-century Judaism."  So, who is Jesus?

A Moral Person

We can most definitely conclude that, in the least, he was a 'moral' person.  But even stopping at this claim runs into problems.  Moral people don't lie about highly serious and offensive matters.  Jesus did just that.  To the point that the Jewish community was so offended, they had him killed.  Stopping at 'a moral person' does not explain who he was.  In fact, he could not be a moral person if he lied his whole life up to his death, for lying about how he claimed to be.  He would actually be a liar, counterfeit, and con-artist.  The 'moral person' identity just does not cut it and falls a part.  

A Good Teacher

Maybe some could say that he wasn't necessarily a moral person, but he was a good teacher.  He did teach and gain a rather large following.  But if what he was teaching was a lie or simply untrue, how then could he be a good teacher?  If he was upsetting people and spreading lies about them, how is that being a good teacher?  It is not.  Thus, we must take into account what exactly he taught to determine if he was a good teacher or not.  This is the problem for those who just want to go only as far as to say he was a good teacher but deny what he taught as though they were untrue or lies.  Just being a 'good teacher' is insufficient in who Jesus was.

A Lunatic 

If we do not believe in the supernatural or spiritual, we must then conclude that Jesus was just a crazy person.  If there is no God than he can not be a good person because he had to have been a manipulative compulsive liar that got himself and his followers killed.  For the same reasons we then can not conclude that he was a good teacher.  Therefore, given the nature of his teachings and if there is no god, than he was just crazy.  But, if there is a God, and he did do good works in the name of God and taught highly moral spiritual truths then he can't be some ancient lunatic. 

A Prophet of God

Because just being a moral person fails or just being a good teacher fails, rational people when investigating the person of Jesus, must then go a step farther and take into consideration what exactly he taught.  Thus, they can conclude that he was a prophet of God.  He taught of spiritual things and religious truths coming from the God of the bible.  He lived a moral life according to the practices of that religion in that region.  But as we dig into what exactly he claimed; just being a Prophet of God falls short according to his claims.  It is clear that he made claims of deity, hence the reason for the offensive nature of his message and for the local religious community to kill him.  Claiming that Jesus was just a Prophet of God also falls short of his own claims and insufficient in his absolute identity.

A god

When applying what is recorded about him in the bible, his miracles and claims, some are then forced to admit that he very well could be a god.  These would though reject him being The Almighty God maker of heaven and earth.  How could he be that, being a man and getting killed?  Some people just stop there.  The fact that he was a man and was killed is enough for them to say that he was some sort of demigod or a god of a lesser extent.  But this is where the truest of his characteristics that makes who he actually was comes into play.  We must examine the totality of scripture and look deeper before we can make an educated decision about him.  Claiming that he is 'a god' is only taking into account some hints in scripture but ignoring the defining statements about his being and nature.

The Archangel?

When we make assumptions that aren't in scripture it is easy to draw untrue conclusions.  Some believe that Jesus is nothing more than an angel.  Hebrews 1:5-8 makes a distinction between Jesus and angels.  This passage even shows that angels worship Jesus (Hebrews 1:6).  Again, some change the words around to say "bow down" instead of worship, but the word used is the same word used for worshiping God.  THEN the next verses actually proclaim Jesus' deity.  "Of the angels he says...his ministers a flame of fire" then in verse 8: "But of the Son he says, YOUR throne, O GOD, is forever and ever...".  Angels may be called sons of God (Genesis 6:2-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7) (see The Son of God section), but THE Son of God is reserved for Jesus (Hebrews 1:8; Matthew 4:3-6).  

The major issue with this belief is that the Archangel is limited in power and authority; Jesus is not.  Jesus rebukes Satan directly with righteous authority but the Archangel "dared not bring a judgement of blasphemy" against Satan and then calls on the Lord to rebuke him.  Jesus is the eternal God incarnate (John 1:1, 14) (see God Himself section) while the archangel is only a created creature.

Some attempt to use 1 Thessalonians 4:16 as a proof text but again they fail to understand the verse and make false assumptions that are not specifically stated in the text (lead by outside biblical influences).  No where in that verse does it state that Jesus is the archangel.  2 Thessalonians 1:7 does say that Jesus will come with angels.  Given what both texts actually state, we see that Jesus will come with the archangel who issues the shout.  When this argument fails in light of what the text actually states, some resort to Job 38:7 where it calls angels sons of God. Again, Hebrews 1:5 refutes this and they fail to understand the uses and difference between 'sons of God' and The Son of God.   Check out more information at  To get a foundational understanding of Jesus, we must first look at who ancient Israel was looking for.

Who Was Ancient Israel Waiting For?

Ancient Israel was looking for someone who was coming.  Moses, all the way down to their last prophets, proclaimed that someone was going who would free them from bondage and be a great king.  It starts in Genesis 3:15 where "he" would come from Eves offspring.  This "he" will be a descendant through Abraham and will bless "all nations" (Genesis 12:3).  This coming 'he' will be out of Judah which the rule and scepter belongs (Genesis 49:10).  He will come from Jacob with the scepter (Numbers 24:17).  This 'he' will be a great prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).  He will be out of the line of David and the kingdom will be his (2 Samuel 7:12-16).  This 'he' is anointed by God and declared his begotten Son (Psalm 2:1-12).  This anointed holy one who is coming will not be abandoned in death nor will he see corruption (Psalm 16:8-11).  He will not be understood, instead, he will be mocked, his body will be tortured, his hands and feet will be pierced and his garments will be taken but through all this he will be vindicated and God will be praised (Psalm 22:1-31).  He will be unjustly hated and afflicted, yet he is righteous and God will be praised (Psalms 69).  He will rule, people will follow after 'the day of your power' and he is the highest Priest forever (Psalm 110:1-4).  He will be the corner stone of God's kingdom, yet rejected (Psalms 118:22-24).  He shall be born from a virgin and his name means God with us (Isaiah 7:14).  This child will be the mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, wonderful Counselor, and he will have no end (Isaiah 9:6-7).  He will be a Nazarene from Jesse which is from a low status (Isaiah 11:1, 53:3).  He will perform many healings (Isaiah 35:5-6). Someone will go before him and proclaim his arrival (Isaiah 40:3-5; Malachi 3:1).   He will be preceded by Elijah as the voice in the wilderness (Malachi 4:5-6).  He is the direct servant of God the Father who will bring perfect justice to all nations (Isaiah 42:1-6).  He is the Suffering Servant of God (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).  He is anointed with The Spirit of God and the gospel to all (Isaiah 61:1-2).  He will come declaring the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31).  He will be one like a son of man and given glory and an everlasting dominion where people of every nation will serve him (Daniel 7:13-14).  A count down till his arrival is predicted around 30AD (Daniel 9:24-27).  He will be born in Bethlehem but actually be from somewhere else (Micah 5:2).  He will at some point come out of Egypt being called God's son (Hosea 11:1).  He will be King riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).  Just as stated being the Suffering Servant of God, he will be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver and pierced (Zechariah 11:12-13, 12:10).  

To sum up the key points of identification that they Jewish people would have been looking for:
  •  A single male individual 
  •  A descendant from Abraham, Judah, Jacob, and David
  •  Rightful ruler over all nations
  • A great prophet like Moses- who speaks with God directly.
  • The Anointed One
  • The begotten Son of God
  • The Highest Priest 
  • He will be like a son of man
  • Born by a virgin in Bethlehem, then go to Egypt where God will call him back.
  • Someone like Elijah will proclaim his arrival.
  • He will be made known around 30 AD.
  • He will be praised as a king and ride a donkey.
  • He will be rejected and betrayed for 30 pieces of silver then pierced.
  • Wont be recognized and instead will be hated, mocked, and tortured.
  • Will physically pay for the sins of people and bring justice to all nations.
  • Will die but wont stay dead.
  • He will remain righteous, blameless, and be glorified.
Symbolism of Messiah's Life 

He is the willing sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-18).  He is the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:1-51).  He will be lifted up, become the sin of the people so that they can be healed (Numbers 21:6-9).  

Now, with the key points of identification from the Old Testament, let us now compare with the witness of the New Testament.
 As you see, as time went on, more and more was gradually revealed about this person.  By the time all the prophets ended, they have all the details they needed to recognize the person perfectly.  Some did.  But some, blinded by other things, did not.  However, we do see some key details that leave the door open for what Jesus himself will reveal once he arrived.  

It is important to notice already that he is God's own Son.  This makes him of divine origins.  He was 'born' by a virgin in Bethlehem but 'is from ancient of days'.   He is glorified and his kingdom has no end.  Death doesn't even kill him.  He is not merely a man, though he 'is like a son of man' he is more than that.  He is not just a high priest, he is The highest Priest.  He is not just chosen for a task, but he is The only Anointed One that can fulfill the task.  Anything and everything human, he is that plus more.  But that is where the Old Testament ends at describing him.  Why? because he then comes to describe himself in a greater way than the prophets of the Old Testament ever could.  A declaration only reserved for God.  But before we get to that ultimate declaration, let us first reflect on what he has made known about himself up to this point.

Jesus Is The Perfect Life

Jesus was blameless and lived a perfect life.  He was perfectly without sin (1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).  Be be in union with God The Father, he must be sinless to begin with (John 10:36-38).  Isaiah even declared that he never committed any sin (Isaiah 53:9).  This sinlessness was pleasing to God The Father (Luke 3:22).  Even the sinner on the cross knew Jesus never did anything wrong (Luke 23:40-43).  Though temped, he remained without sin.  Jesus was, also, able to avoid sin. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves then to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." Psalms 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." When Jesus was tempted by the devil, He did use scripture to overcome the temptations and defeat the devil (Luke 4). 2 Peter 2:9 says, ". . . the Lords knows how to rescue the godly from trials. . ." and Isaiah 28:26 says, "His God instructs him and teaches him the right way." Hebrews 4:15 says, "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin..  This made Jesus alone the perfect sacrifice for sin. 1 Peter 2:24 explains: "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed".  If only God is perfect and holy, how then can Jesus be perfect and holy?  The fact of his life points us to the ultimate claim.

Jesus Is The Perfect Satisfying Sacrificial Lamb 

Every year, Israel had to sacrifice a spotless lamb for the sins of their people to temporarily satisfy God as payment for their offenses against him.  But it was not perfectly satisfying because they had to do it every single year.  Even the high priest had to do a very specific ritual to atone for his sin before he could conduct the ceremony to atone for the rest of the people's sin.  Every year.  Jesus Christ came as the perfectly satisfying sacrificial lamb to perfectly pay for the sins for all those who believe, once and for all.  Isaiah 53:5-6, 11-12 makes this clear.  "with his stripes we are healed... the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all... for the transgression of my people was he stricken... 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... and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."  His sacrifice satisfied God's justice.  He interceded for the sinner, bore their sins, and this perfectly pleased God.  "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ" (Romans 8:1).  Hebrews 10:1-18 makes the value of his sacrifice absolutely clear.  we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10).  How is it that only Jesus was absolutely perfectly pleasing and satisfying to God?  This fact of his perfect satisfying sacrifice points to his ultimate claim.

Jesus Is The High Priest 

Hebrews 2:17, 4:14 makes clear that it is Jesus who is the ultimate High Priest for us.  High Priests were responsible for making intercessions for the people to God himself by offering sacrifices.  They alone would enter the Holy of Hollies on the Day of Atonement and place blood on the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:7).  See the symbolism already?  Jesus offered the perfect sacrifice on the actual Day of Atonement where he offered himself.  But he being the ultimate sacrifice secured atonement for all eternity (Hebrews 9:12).  He alone is our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) and enables all who believe to come to the throne of grace and obtain mercy.  The fact that he alone has the authority and power to enable sinners to enter the holy of hollies points to his ultimate claim.

Jesus Is The Greatest Prophet

The Prophets of God would receive direct truths from God himself and they convey these truths to God's people.  They never had the authority to speak divine truths themselves except for which God instructed them to do.  Not only was Jesus understood to be a Prophet of God (see verses above) be he, himself, made prophetic proclamations with authority.  He made prophetic announcements regarding those who were following him (Matthew 26:21-25, 31-34).  He made prophetic proclamations of truth regarding specific cities (Matthew 11:20-24).  He even stated what was going to happen to The Temple itself (Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 21:20-24).  Jesus declared that he was not only going to be killed but will rise back up three days later (John 2:19-21, 12:38-40; Mark 8:31, 14:58).  He then spoke of future events like his second coming and events leading up to it (Matthew 7:15-23, 24:4-5, 11, 23-26; Luke 21:8).  He had the authority to speak the words of God The Father that no other prophet would or could do.  Not only did he relay what God said but he, himself, had knowledge of the unseen and of the eternal (John 3:11-12).  Even stating that he has been entrusted with divine judgement; an authority that God only has (John 5:22-23, 27).  This divine prophetic knowledge and authority points to his ultimate claim. 

Jesus Is The Messiah and Christ

Remember, the people of Israel were waiting on the foretold Messiah who is called Christ to save them.  But, they of course, were thinking of a valiant war general who will lead the Jewish army against Rome, win, and free them from the rule of the Roman Empire. But some of them recognized the Christ as a savior in the spiritual sense too.  Peter understood this when he proclaimed it in Matthew 16:16.  The Apostles proclaimed this every day in the temple (Acts 5:42, 17:3).  Jesus himself even claimed this title as Christ in John 4:25-26.  Jesus Christ saved all those who believe from the penalty of sin and freed them to truly worship God in spirit and truth (Hebrews 9:28; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24).  After paying the price for sin and satisfying God's perfect justice, he was resurrected from the dead (Acts 2:31; Romans 7:4).  Thus making him the only possible Messiah that could completely redeem people from their sins and save them from the wrath of a just and righteous God. 

Jesus Is The Second Adam and son of man

Adam was the first man. Created from the dirt and brought sin and death into the hearts of all mankind.  Jesus is revealed as the second Adam.  The first Adam, which was from that which was created (dirt), the second Adam was from that which eternally existed, the presences of God.  The first Adam brought sin and death into the world, the second Adam brought life and salvation to the world (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).  From the place of eternity he willingly and voluntarily humbled himself and entered the world in the form of man.  A limited form.  The first Adam was proud and took the self-centered initiative to disobey God.  The second Adam humbled himself and took a selfless God-centered initiative to perfectly obey God, even until death.  Where he came from and his perfect contrast to mankind points to his ultimate claim.

Jesus Is The Son of God 

This claim is huge in and of itself.  God does not need to reproduce.  He speaks and creates.  The idea of being the Son of God is not in offspring-family standing, because again, God does not need to reproduce.  The designation of being the Son of God means that he is of the same nature as God because he is "of God".  Being the Son makes him have rights to inherit all that is God's.  That phrase "like father like son" is exactly what is being expressed here.  Jesus, being the Son of God, is described as being the exact radiance of the glory of God.  Exact imprint of God's nature.  The exact authority and power of God.  Where he alone gets to sit at the right hand of God because he is exactly like his Father in every way (Hebrews 1:3; Luke 1:35).  A right that not even angels in heaven have.  A right that no person has or will ever have.  He alone, is The Son of God in spirit and nature.  The Jewish religious leaders understood this and that's why they wanted to stone him for blasphemy.  Not because he was a godly righteous person; because, after all, they thought they were (John 19:7).  But simply because he claimed to be directly related to God himself because his claim was OF God in spirit and nature.  The word "son" can also mean "possessing the nature of" given the context.  An example in Ephesians 2:1-2 we see "sons of disobedience" this isn't literally "son" by birth but "son" in nature, the sinful nature. Same in 1 Kings 20:35 where we read about the "sons of the prophets", not literally being the offspring of Prophets; they were equal in nature.

Another important fact is even Demons knew the difference between The Son of God (John 5:25) and being sons or children of God (Luke 20:36; John 1:12).  A recognition they never gave to the Apostles.  This Son of God is granted the same glory of God (John 11:4).  We aren't talking about Jesus being the Son of a god, but THE only Son of THE God The Father (2 John 3).  Now Adam was a son of God in the fact he was created directly from God and had no earthly parents.  BUT, he was not The Son of God in nature and spirit; hence by disobedience.  The most important truth is that Jesus, The Son of God has been with God for all eternity (John 1:1-18).  If this was not true, than Adam would have been counted as someone who has seen God The Father; either that or Jesus is a liar.  Jesus is the Son of The Most High, a unique position no other will ever have in all eternity (Luke 1:32, 35).  

Jesus was not only The Only Begotten co-eternal Son of God literally (not by offspring), but also in nature and spirit.  Colossians 2:9 expresses this perfectly.  "The fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form".  'The Fullness', which means he is not lesser or lacking but complete and equal.  John declares that Jesus is THE Son of God; equally eternally God (1 John 5:20).  AND BAM, there it is, the ultimate claim.

"God the Father, the angel Gabriel, His own disciples, the Apostle Paul, and even the demons acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God. Although Adam, angels, Israel, peacemakers, and Christians are all called "sons of God" the Scripture designates Jesus as the unique Son of God. He possesses the same nature as the Father - God. However He is not a literal offspring for He has existed for all eternity. The Bible often uses the word "son" in the sense of "possessing the nature of." Jesus is the "Son" of God in this sense- possessing the nature of God. The title "Son" does not, in any way, suggest the Son if inferior to the Father." - Don Stewart

The Ultimate Claim: Jesus Is God Himself

Jesus makes himself equal to God (John 10:30) and the religious leaders who knew scripture front to back knew exactly what he was stating (John 10:33).  God The Father told Moses that his name is IAM (Ex 3:14), Jesus then claims that name (John 8:58).  John 1:1-14 is undeniable.  Jesus' blood was shed for the church, Acts 20:28 tells us that GOD bought the church with HIS OWN blood.  Thomas declared that Jesus was both Lord AND God (John 20:28).  Peter says the same when he connects Jesus as being both savior and God (2 Peter 1:1).  Isaiah understood this too when he called the coming child that is to be born, mighty God and eternal father (Isa 6:9) and stating his name is Immanuel which literally means "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).  The author of Hebrews also understood the connection of Jesus as God (Hebrews 1:8).  So did Paul in his letter to Titus in Titus 2:13.  Jesus accepted the divine worship of his followers (Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38).  Then Paul in Colossians 2:9-10 bluntly declares in Jesus dwells the fullness of Deity.  The early christian church, after the Apostles, understood this all through its history to this very day.  Please read this page that addresses objections to these passages.

Attributes of God The Father and of Jesus:
  • Omniscience:  (1 John 3:20; Psalm 147:5; John 16:30)
  • Omnipresent: (Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 23:24; I Kings 8:27; John 1:48; Matthew 18:20; 28:20)
  • Knows the heart of mankind  (1 Kings 8:39; Jeremiah 17:9-10; John 2:24-25; Rev. 2:18, 23)
  • Sanctifies (Exodus 31:13; Hebrews 10:10)
  • Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
  • Immutable: (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8)
  • Only God to be served (2 Kings 17:35; Col. 3:24)
  • Only God to be worshiped (Exodus 34:14; John 5:23; Revelation 5:11-14 compare with Rev. 4:10-11; Revelation 22:8-9)
  • Only God is due glory (Isaiah 42:8; Jn. 17:5)
  • Only God is prayed to (Exodus 23:13; John 14:14)
  • God is the first and last (Isaiah 44:6; 48:12; Revelation 1:17-18; 22:12-13, 20)
  • Only God is the great judge (Psalm 98:9; Deuteronomy 32:39; Jeremiah 17:9-10; John 5:21-22; Revelation 2:18, 23)
  • Only God can forgive sins (Mark 2:7; Daniel 9:9; Mark 2:10-11; Luke 24:46-47)
  • God is Lord of Lords and Lord of all (Deuteronomy 10:17; Revelation 17:14; 19:16; Matthew 11:25;
    Acts 17:24, 10:36; Jude 4) 
  • God is the savior and there is only one (Isaiah 45:21-22; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Isaiah 43:11)
  • God created the universe and there is only one creator (Psalm 102:25-27; John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-19;10. Hebrews 1:10-12; Isaiah 44:24).
Once we truly understand that Jesus Is THE Son of God and Lord God himself, we can then begin to understand THE ONE TRIUNE GOD and know God himself in a deeper more intimate way, the way he wants us to.  (The Triune God of Christianity)

Also read Manuscripts of The Bible and Textual Criticism | Why The Bible is Divine: Miracles  | Why The Bible Is Divine: Christology  | Why The Bible is Divine: Prophecy  |  Is God Perfect? Does God Make Mistakes?  |  Test, Discern, and Righteous Judgement  |  The Absolute Greatest Message To Tell Everyone  |  What is 'Doctrine' and does it matter?  |  Modern Secular Historians and The Bible  |  Correctly Interpret and Understand The Bible  |  Early Accounts of Christianity from Non-Christians  |  Did the Apostles distort what Jesus taught?  |  Why The Disciples of The Apostles Matter Today  |  The Satisfaction of Christ Jesus  |  Christology; Pre-incarnation  |  DANIEL 9: Timeline To The Messiah  |  The Virgin Birth  |  Jesus Christ's Hypostatic Union  | Jesus, The Son of God |  Jesus, The One Like a Son of Man  |  Has The Bible Changed?  | God The Father  | By Christ's Work Alone  | God's Glory Alone  |  The Triune God of Christianity  |  Scripture Alone  |  Witnessing to Jehovah's Witness: Identity of Jesus  |  Witnessing to Jehovah's Witness: The Watchtower  |  Jesus Is God

If you have any questions or comments about this article please contact us or join our discussion forms

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think?

Top Articles in the Last Month

Flag Counter