Who is Jesus Christ?
“Who do you say that I am?”
- Jesus Christ
Jesus asked this question 2,000 years ago.
When this question is personalized, it becomes the most important question one will ever be asked or answer. Who is Jesus Christ to YOU? Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
It is generally accepted that Jesus was truly a man who walked on the earth in Israel 2000 years ago. The debate begins when the subject of Jesus' full identity is discussed. Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet or a good teacher or a godly man. The problem is that the Bible tells us that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man. The problem begins with the misconception or perversion of the Nature and Person of Jesus Christ. Many theories have arisen as to who He is and here are some of those misconceptions:
Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus is the Archangel Michael, the first being that Jehovah created in the universe.
◦ The Watchtower magazine says “there is Scriptural evidence for concluding that Michael was the name of Jesus Christ before he left heaven and after his return.”1
◦ The Watchtower also says “‘Michael the great prince’ is none other than Jesus Christ Himself.”
Mormonism teaches that God the Father used to be a man on another planet and that he became a God by following the laws and ordinances of that God on that planet and came to this world with his wife (she became a goddess) and that they produced a spirit offspring in heaven. These spirit offspring, which includes Jesus, the devil, and you and me, are all brothers and sisters born in the preexistence.
◦ “Jesus, as a spirit-son, then progresses in the spirit world until He became a God.”
◦ Christ, “by obedience and devotion to the truth…attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God.”
Islam teaches that Jesus Christ was one of many thousands of prophets of Allah. They teach that He was sinless and a messenger from God bringing truths for His particular time. Indeed, Islam teaches that Jesus was not God in human flesh and that he was not the Son of God.
◦ Sura 43:59 says that “Jesus was no more than a mortal whom [Allah] favored and made an example to the Israelites.”
◦ Sura 5:72-75 says that “They do blaspheme who say: ‘God is Christ the son of Mary’…Christ the son of Mary was no more that an apostle.”
Buddhism teaches that Jesus was only an enlightened man, but not God.
◦ According to a Buddhist dictionary, enlightenment occurs when a person reaches a place when all negative aspects of the mind have been completely eliminated and one has reached a perfection of all positive qualities.
◦ Buddhism does not teach the concept of a personal creator or God…He said there was no need to believe in God.
Hinduism believes that Jesus could be the latest avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu or Krishna.
◦ Many Hindus believe that Jesus was a good teacher and perhaps one of their 330 million avatars (or incarnations of Brahman-the impersonal, supreme being that fills the universe).
Christian Science denies that Jesus was the Christ.
The following quotes and teachings are from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, the primary Christian Science work said to be a companion of the Bible.
◦ Jesus was not the Christ, S&H 333:3-15; 334:3 ◦ “Jesus Christ is not God S&H 361:12-13 ◦ Jesus did not reflect the fullness of God, S&H 336:20-21 ◦ Jesus did not die, S&H 45:32-46:3
Scientology believes that Jesus was just a great teacher.
◦ “You will find the cross as a symbol all over the universe, and the CHRIST LEGEND as an implant in preclears a million years ago.”
◦ Neither Lord Buddha nor Jesus Christ were OTs [Operating Thetans, the highest Scientology level] according to evidence. They were just a shade above clear.
According to the Scientology web site, a “Clear is a being who no longer has his own reactive mind, and therefore suffers none of the ill effects the reactive mind can cause.”
These are just a handful of beliefs that man has about who Jesus is.
What the Bible teaches:
(Jesus Christ Is Deity)
As the Second Member of the Trinity, Jesus Christ stands co-existent in Eternity with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. There are many proofs in the scriptures for the Deity of Christ. We shall now list several of them.
(1) In Zechariah 12:10, Jehovah speaks of the future return of Christ and says, ". . . They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son . . . ." This is spoken again in Revelation 1:7, which is clearly a reference to Christ Himself, but in Zechariah 12:10 GOD said, ". . . They shall look upon me whom they have pierced . . . ." The One that they pierced was Jesus Christ! So, in Zechariah 12:10, God is saying that He is Jesus Christ.
(2) In John 1:1, John 1:14, 1 John 1:1, and in 1 John 5:7, Jesus is called "the Word," and John 1:1 says that "the Word was God."
(3) Thomas referred to Jesus as "My Lord and my God" in John 20:28, and Jesus did not see the need to correct him.
(4) Isaiah 7:14 gives us the prophecy of the Virgin Birth of Christ and states that His name would be "Immanuel." Matthew 1:23 tells us that this word means "God with us."
(5) In Isaiah 9:6, Jesus is called "Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." The Bible certainly would not say this about anyone less than God.
(6) In John 10:30, Jesus says, "I and my Father are one." Jesus is not a lesser god; He is ONE with the Father.
(7) Micah 5:2 tells us that Jesus is "from everlasting."
(8) In John 8:58, Jesus tells the Pharisees, "Before Abraham was, I am." He claimed to be the "I AM" of Exodus 3:14, which is God Almighty.
(9) Jesus allowed others to worship Him (John 9:38; Matt. 14:33; and Luke 24:52), which was forbidden, unless He was God (Rev. 22:9).
(10) Jesus forgave sins (Mark 2:5), which only God can do (Mark 2:7).
(11) The Lord Jesus Christ is omnipresent (Matt. 18:20; 28:20; II Cor. 13:14; I John 5:7). We know He is God because He is capable of being everywhere at once.
(12) Jesus is omniscient (Mark 11:2-6; Matt. 12:40). He is God because He knows all things.
(13) The Lord Jesus is also omnipotent (Rev. 19:6; Matt. 28:18). He has all power.
(14) According to John 1, 1 John 1, Colossians 1, and Hebrews 1, Jesus Christ is the Creator of Genesis 1!
(15) Jesus never sinned! Romans 3:23 says that ALL HAVE SINNED and come short of the glory of God, but Jesus did not sin (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18). So Jesus had to be God.
There are some 200 names and titles of Christ found in the Bible. Following are some of the more prominent ones, organized in three sections relating to names that reflect the nature of Christ, His position in the tri-unity of God, and His work on earth on our behalf.
The Nature of Christ
Chief Cornerstone: (Ephesians 2:20) – Jesus is the cornerstone of the building which is His church. He cements together Jew and Gentile, male and female—all saints from all ages and places into one structure built on faith in Him which is shared by all.
Firstborn over all creation: (Colossians 1:15) – Not the first thing God created, as some incorrectly claim, because verse 16 says all things were created through and for Christ. Rather, the meaning is that Christ occupies the rank and pre-eminence of the first-born over all things, that He sustains the most exalted rank in the universe; He is pre-eminent above all others; He is at the head of all things.
Head of the Church: (Ephesians 1:22; 4:15; 5:23) – Jesus Christ, not a king or a pope, is the only supreme, sovereign ruler of the Church—those for whom He died and who have placed their faith in Him alone for salvation.
King of kings and Lord of lords: (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 19:16) – Jesus has dominion over all authority on the earth, over all kings and rulers, and none can prevent Him from accomplishing His purposes. He directs them as He pleases.
Light of the World: (John 8:12) – Jesus came into a world darkened by sin and shed the light of life and truth through His work and His words. Those who trust in Him have their eyes opened by Him and walk in the light.
Prince of peace: (Isaiah 9:6) – Jesus came not to bring peace to the world as in the absence of war, but peace between God and man who were separated by sin. He died to reconcile sinners to a holy God.
Son of man: (John 5:27) – Used as a contrast to “Son of God” this phrase affirms the humanity of Christ which exists alongside His divinity.
Word: (John 1:1; 1 John 5:7-8) – The Word is the second Person of the triune God, who said it and it was done, who spoke all things out of nothing in the first creation, who was in the beginning with God the Father, and was God, and by whom all things were created.
Word of God: (Revelation 19:12-13) – This is the name given to Christ that is unknown to all but Himself. It denotes the mystery of His divine person.
Word of Life: (1 John 1:1) – Jesus not only spoke words that lead to eternal life, but according to this verse He is the very words of life, referring to the eternal life of joy and fulfillment which He provides.
His position in the trinity
Alpha and Omega: (Revelation 1:8; 22:13) – Jesus declared Himself to be the beginning and end of all things, a reference to no one but the true God. This statement of eternality could apply only to God.
Emmanuel: (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23) – Literally “God with us.” Both Isaiah and Matthew affirm that the Christ who would be born in Bethlehem would be God Himself who came to earth in the form of a man to live among His people.
I Am: (John 8:58, with Exodus 3:14) – When Jesus ascribed to Himself this title, the Jews tried to stone Him for blasphemy. They understood that He was declaring Himself to be the eternal God, the unchanging Yahweh of the Old Testament.
Lord of All: (Acts 10:36) – Jesus is the sovereign ruler over the whole world and all things in it, of all the nations of the world, and particularly of the people of God's choosing, Gentiles as well as Jews.
True God: (1 John 5:20) – This is a direct assertion that Jesus, being the true God, is not only divine, but is the Divine. Since the Bible teaches there is only one God, this can only be describing His nature as part of the triune God.
His Work on earth
Author and Perfecter of our Faith: (Hebrews 12:2) – Salvation is accomplished through the faith that is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9) and Jesus is the founder of our faith and the finisher of it as well. From first to last, He is the source and sustainer of the faith that saves us.
Bread of Life: (John 6:35; 6:48) – Just as bread sustains life in the physical sense, Jesus is the Bread that gives and sustains eternal life. God provided manna in the wilderness to feed His people and He provided Jesus to give us eternal life through His body, broken for us.
Bridegroom: (Matthew 9:15) – The picture of Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as His Bride reveals the special relationship we have with Him. We are bound to each other in a covenant of grace that cannot be broken.
Deliverer: (Romans 11:26) – Just as the Israelites needed God to deliver them from bondage to Egypt, so Christ is our Deliverer from the bondage of sin.
Good Shepherd: (John 10:11,14) – In Bible times, a good shepherd was willing to risk his own life to protect his sheep from predators. Jesus laid down His life for His sheep, and He cares for and nurtures and feeds us.
High Priest: (Hebrews 2:17) – The Jewish high priest entered the Temple once a year to make atonement for the sins of the people. The Lord Jesus performed that function for His people once for all at the cross.
Lamb of God: (John 1:29) – God’s Law called for the sacrifice of a spotless, unblemished Lamb as an atonement for sin. Jesus became that Lamb led meekly to the slaughter, showing His patience in His sufferings and His readiness to die for His own.
Mediator: (1 Timothy 2:5) – A mediator is one who goes between two parties to reconcile them. Christ is the one and only Mediator who reconciles men and God. Praying to Mary or the saints is idolatry because it bypasses this most important role of Christ and ascribes the role of Mediator to another.
Rock: (1 Corinthians 10:4) – As life-giving water flowed from the rock Moses struck in the wilderness, Jesus is the Rock from which flow the living waters of eternal life. He is the Rock upon whom we build our spiritual houses, so that no storm can shake them.
Resurrection and Life: (John 11:25) – Embodied within Jesus is the means to resurrect sinners to eternal life, just as He was resurrected from the grave. Our sin is buried with Him and we are resurrected to walk in newness of life.
Savior: (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11) – He saves His people by dying to redeem them, by giving the Holy Spirit to renew them by His power, by enabling them to overcome their spiritual enemies, by sustaining them in trials and in death, and by raising them up at the last day.
True Vine: (John 15:1) – The True Vine supplies all that the branches (believers) need to produce the fruit of the Spirit— the living water of salvation and nourishment from the Word.
Way, Truth, Life: (John 14:6) – Jesus is the only path to God, the only Truth in a world of lies, and the only true source of eternal life. He embodies all three in both a temporal and an eternal sense.