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Who Was Jesus Christ?

Who was Jesus Christ?

Who was Jesus Christ, the person born in Nazareth of Judea 2000+ years ago?

Who do YOU say that He was? And why is it important?

Most of us will agree that He was a Prophet such as Moses, and a Good Teacher or Rabbi sent by God.  But is that what He claimed to be?

The Claims of Jesus Christ

Do you know what Jesus Christ said about Himself?  If you have never read much of the New Testament in the Bible, Jesus’ statements about Himself may come as a surprise to you.

In the New Testament, some of Jesus’ close followers wrote down what they heard Him say about Himself. A few of these statements began with the words, “I AM.”  These statements are very direct and cannot be misunderstood..  Here is one that is well known:

One of Jesus’ followers named Thomas, asked Jesus how he could know the way to God. Jesus answered:

                ” I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man(person) comes to the Father(God) except by Me.”  John 14:6

Notice, He did not say I will show you the way, but “I am the Way.”
He did not say I will show you the Truth, but “I am the Truth.”
He did not say I will show you Life, but “I am the Life.”
And then He added:  “No-one comes to the Father(God) except by Me.”

Do you know of any other Prophet, Teacher, or Holy person in history who ever made statements like these about himself? (If you do, please  email me}

Do you know of any other Prophet, Teacher, or Holy person who ever claimed to be “the Way,”   “the only way to the Father(God)?” (please email me)

Notice that Jesus is making a claim to be Truth itself, the totality of a universal Absolute called Truth. Our finite minds cannot even comprehend the entity called absolute Truth, yet Jesus claims to BE IT,  “I AM TRUTH.”

Then Jesus makes a claim to Life itself, the embodiment of a Universal entity called Life. All of us experience life, and we are surrounded by living things, but the life we know always ends in death(no life).  Who is this person who says He is Life? What does He mean?  If He is Life, then Death is not in Him.  On another occasion, Jesus made a statement about His Life that may help explain it. When Jesus was anticipating His death by crucifiction at the hands of civil and religious authorities, he said this:

                “No man takes my life from Me, I lay it down by myself.
                  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.
                  This command I have received from my Father.” John 10:18
Another,

                ” I am the Resurrection and the Life, anyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.”                       John 11:25

Do you know of any Prophet, Teacher, or Holy person in the history of mankind, who consistently made claims like this?  How would you describe someone who made such statements?

The Response of People who Heard Him

One day, Jesus Himself asked a question regarding His identity. He asked this question of His disciples:  Matt 16:13-17
“Who do men(the crowds) say that I, the Son of Man am?
The disciples answered:
 “some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, others Jeremiah  or one of the prophets .”
Jesus replied to His disciples:
“But who do you(disciples) say that I am?
Peter replied to Jesus:
 “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Jesus relied to Peter:  ”
 “Blessed are you Peter, because flesh and blood(human beings) have not    revealed this to you, but My Father which is in heaven.”

So Jesus agreed with Peter’s statement:
                            “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
And Jesus added, that Peter’s understanding of who Jesus was, did not come from a human source, but from God.

From the above dialogue we can arrive at this perception of those who interacted with Jesus:

The vast majority considered him in the category of prophet, rabbi, or teacher, a dedicated human being on a mission from God. Jesus’ miracles would have made them associate Him with previous prophets.  And there were some who considered Him the Messiah and wanted to make Him King. However, after He was arrested, these people dissappeared.

Were there any of the common folk who understood the identity claims He w,as making?  From the biblical record, it was just a small group of devoted followers such as Peter,  who had the conviction that Jesus was much more than a prophet or teacher. Peter’s view was that Jesus was a divine person, at the level of God the Father.

Another group which clearly understood the claims that Jesus was making, was the Jewish religious leaders. On at least one occasion the leaders said they were against Jesus because He made Himself equal with God.

How do You Respond to the Identity Claims of Jesus Christ?

Jesus Christ of Nazareth made unique claims regarding His identity.  He claimed to be the Son of Man and the Son of God (His Father). And His I AM statements made claims that are even  incomprehensible to our finite minds.

What did Jesus offer as His proof of the unbelievable statements He was making about Himself?  In direct confrontation with His religious detractors, He said, (paraphrased) ” Even if you don’t believe what I am saying about myself, you should believe Me because of the works which God the Father is doing through me.” The fact that many people were being healed of serious physical diseases, and on occasion, being raised from the dead, was evidence that agreed with His identity claims.

Today, Jesus Christ is still asking people everywhere to consider His identity. For those who trust in Him, He offers forgiveness of all sins and eternal life, all based upon His Death and Resurrection from the dead.

John, an apostle said it best:

               ” For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes(trusts) in Him, would not perish, but have  everlasting life,”   John 3:16

C.S. Lewis( 1898-1963) was a well known British writer and literary scholar, an athiest who became a Christian later in life. In his book, Mere Christianity,  Lewis stated that when a person considers the identity claims of Jesus Christ, there are only 3 choices that can be made. And the choice of prophet or moral teacher is not one of them. The latter choice is just a way of avoiding the question being asked, namely, was Jesus Christ the Person He claimed to be?

Here are the three possible choices that Lewis saw regarding the claims made by Christ:

1.  Jesus Christ was a Lunatic

2.  Jesus Christ was a Demon of Hell

3.  Jesus Christ was Who He claimed to be.

Here is Lewis’ quote:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. 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 patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Reader: What is your choice regarding  Jesus Christ?    Will you choose Him as your Lord and your Savior?

                  “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life  is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not  have the Son of God does not have life.”  1 John 5:11-12

 

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