Who is Jesus anyway?
Questions about Jesus Christ and His identity seem to flood the landscape of human thought today. It seems not a month goes by that someone doesn't come up with a new spin on who Christ really was. Whether fiction or nonfiction, religious or secular, everyone and their mother has weighed in on the issue.
But who is He really?
Where do we go to discover His true identity?
Do we find it in magazines?
Do we find it in fiction books?
Do we find it on radio programs?
How about TV shows?
The answers to these last four questions are no...
But it's amazing how many people trust such sources as if they have some corner on the His story. In fact they have no such thing. Let's clarify the issue...
These people don't know anymore than you do!
They just think they do. In some cases, they may even know less than you do! They weren't there. So how could they know?
Unless they've gained their knowledge from one source...
They don't know!
So what is that source? Where do we find His true story?
It's found in no other place than the Bible.
So what does the Bible say about Jesus ? Let's look at the pages of Scripture and find a few people who knew Him well. We'll look at three witnesses who can tell us without reservation who He is. There were many more who knew and testified of Him. But these three are very important.
Let's look at them now.
We first look at a credible witness. This witness knew Christ. So that makes him a credible witness. He didn't walk with Him during His earthly stint preaching and healing as some witnesses did.
But the apostle Paul still had a close relationship with Christ. And he did meet Him personally.
You're probably saying right now, "Now wait a minute! I thought Paul never met Jesus."
No. Paul didn't walk with Christ during His earthly ministry. He didn't walk along side Him as His twelve disciples did.
Paul being a Pharisee (a religious leader of the Jews who hated Jesus) may have seen Jesus a few times. The Pharisees liked to follow Him around and try to trick Him into saying things that would condemn Him under the law. Paul could have been one of them.
But the Bible doesn't say this. So why is Paul a credible witness if He never really knew Jesus?
Ah, but he did. Let me explain...
Paul explains in Galatians 1:15-17 that...
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
If you notice in the first verse, Paul explains he was, "separated from my mother's womb." This is just a fancy way to say he experienced the saving knowledge of Christ. God got a hold on his heart and convinced him of his sin and his need for a close, personal relationship with Jesus. You could say he was "born again." So this statement speaks of spiritual birth not physical.
Next God reveals Paul's purpose revealed to him by God...
Paul was to preach to the heathen. In other places in the Bible, these folks are called "Gentiles." A Gentile is anyone who is not a Jew.
So God told Paul to preach to the "Gentile" or non-Jew. But don't miss the point of verse fifteen. Not only do we see Paul's personal relationship with Christ and his purpose revealed, but we also see Paul's private revelation of Christ, Himself.
Notice Paul says that one of God's plans was "(t)o reveal his Son" to Paul. Paul also goes on to explain the message he received did not come from "flesh and blood," human beings.
The disciples, who personally witnessed Christ's ministry, didn't give Paul his training. They were hanging out in Jerusalem, and Paul didn't go there. So where did Paul get his message...
It was from Christ. The resurrected Jesus came and taught him in the deserts of Arabia. And He taught Paul everything he knew.
So Paul is a credible witness.
What did Paul say about his Lord?
In Colossians 1:16-17 he says this about Christ...
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
In this passage, Paul reveals four facts about Christ...
First, in verse 17, Paul says that Christ was "before all things." That means He existed before anything else. The whole passage is talking about created matter. So Christ existed before anything was created.
Second, Paul says in verse sixteen that everything was created "for him." Christ planned all of creation. He mapped it all out according to His will and pleasure. It bears His stamp of approval.
Next, Paul tells us in the same verse that Jesus not only planned it all but that "by him were all things created." Not only did Jesus plan the universe, He created its matter. He was the one that brought into existence. He is the creator of all things!
Finally, Christ not only existed before, planned, and created everything, "by him all things consist."
What keeps the universe together?
Consider the atom...
It has all kinds of positive and negative particles floating around.
If you've ever played with magnets (as a child of course) you know that the like poles repel and the opposite poles attract. Positive attracts negative. Negative attracts positive. Negative and negative and positive and positive repel.
Opposites attract. Likes repel.
In an atom, you have everything floating around in it. You have "positives" and "negatives" all over. What keeps the "like particles" from flying away from each other and the "opposite particles" from crashing in?
Scientists can only theorize. But the Bible has the answer...
Christ holds it together. He keeps it from flying apart.
So Paul paints a very vivid picture of who Jesus is. He is...
...of all things. Only God can do such things. So...
Paul states clearly that Jesus is God.
This credible witness makes it clear in his testimony of the Son of God.
Before we go on to our next witness...
...let's take a stretch break and then go over what we've learned today.
You don't have to reread everything. Just look over the boldfaced words.
When you're finished, go on to the next witness.
Our next witness is a man named John. Unlike Paul, he walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. John saw almost everything He did and said during His teaching years.
In fact John calls himself the "disciple whom Jesus loved" which shows an even closer relationship than some of the other apostles. And when Christ died on a cross at the hands of Roman soldiers...
...John was the only disciple who stood at the foot of that cross. He was the only one who didn't desert his master. And it was to John that Jesus gave charge of His mother, Mary, to take care of her.
So John's witness can't be disputed. He was obviously very close to the Lord and knew Him better than most.
Here's what John says of his master in John 1:1-3...
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
John tells us first that "the Word" or Christ was there before "the beginning." The beginning of what? The passage firmly acknowledges that creation is in view. So this is "the beginning" of everything. If Christ was there when everything was created He must have been there before it as well. It's a logical assumption and John's whole point because...
He says that Jesus was not only there before everything but "all things were made by him" and "nothing was made that was made." It's obvious that John believes that Jesus created everything. Nothing has "sprung" into existence without Christ authoring it. He created it all!
So who do we attribute creation to? We give God the credit. If Jesus created the universe...
John must be saying He is God.
And if that's not clear enough, John states "and the Word was God." It can't be any clearer...
John says Jesus is God!
He probably knew the Lord better than any other human being did. He is a credible witness.
The most important witness we have though is Jesus, Himself. Here's what He said in John 8:19...
Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.
First, Jesus states that knowing Him was the same as knowing the Father. The Father is a reference to God. Jesus was claiming equality with God through knowledge.
In John 14:6-7 Jesus said...
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Once more the Lord reaffirms that to know Him is to know God. But He takes it a step further here. Notice he says they "have seen him." Christ here states that seeing Him (Jesus) is the same as seeing the Father (God) once again establishing that He is God.
And finally, He says of Himself in John 10:30 that...
I and my Father are one.
Christ clearly states here that He and God (the Father) are one-in-the-same. Everything God is, He is.
And by the reaction of Jesus' enemies, the Pharisees, it's clear in the rest of the passage that He claimed equality with God with this statement.
The obvious conclusion is that Jesus believed that He was God.
And He is our greatest witness. His "witness is true" (John 5:31.)
So what conclusion must we come to? The answer is clear just from these witnesses, and there are even more than this! What is that conclusion?
Jesus was, is and always will be God!
There can be no other answer.