Asking “Who is Jesus?” on the street in most cities would rarely produce a clear consensus. No other name in history equals His influence, but there are still various opinions of Christ. It’s interesting how little that’s changed in 2,000 years. The crowds following Jesus didn’t have a clear answer either. Asking them the same question would probably have gone something like this:
“Uh, excuse me sir, who do you think this teacher named Jesus is?” “Well, I’m not really sure, but people are saying He’s some kind of new prophet or something. Some even describe seeing miracles, but I think they’re exaggerating.”
As a matter of fact, the scripture demonstrates it:
13When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV
Everyone around Palestine was forming opinions. From political savior to back-from-the-dead prophet; public sentiment varied and was subject to change (remember how the crowd went from shouting “Hosanna!” to “Crucify Him!” within a week’s time?). So, who is Jesus…really? Let’s consider:
I. Jesus as Historical – Is there evidence for Christ other than the Bible? Yes, there are actually other historical sources referencing Him.
- Roman Sources-Tacitus (Roman Historian), Suetonius (Secretary to Emperor Hadrian), Pliny the Younger (Roman Administrator), Emperor Trajan, and Emperor Hadrian all mention Christ directly and/or His followers.
- Jewish Sources-Talmudic writings describe Jesus of Nazareth’s ministry and how it led to execution. Historian Flavius Josephus’ specifically mentions Jesus.
II. Jesus as Divine – Was He really God?
- The Bible clearly declares in John 1:1-5 that Jesus was part of the Godhead (Trinity) before creation, active in creation, and here in the flesh ministering.
- Jesus claimed He was Messiah (John 4:26, 5:39), claimed He was God (John 10:30, 14:9), claimed only He had the power over His life (John 10:17-18), and even went so far as to reference Himself by the personal holy name of God (John 8:58).
III. Jesus as Human – Was He really Human?
- The Bible describes Jesus being conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born after a natural 9 month time period. He even had to grow up (Luke 2:52), alongside siblings.
- Physically – He experienced hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc.
- Emotionally – He experienced sorrow, anxiety, separation, anger, etc.
- Death – His actual death was confirmed by a spear in the heart (John 19:34)
- Resurrection – Back to life with a literal body (Luke 24:42-43)
- Witnesses – His body was seen by many first hand witnesses (I Corinthians 15:3-7)
IV. Jesus as Savior
- Redemption – John the Baptizer describes Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29-34). In that statement, the Old Testament promises of a Deliverer are displayed and Jesus begins His ministry.
- Exclusive – In John 14:6 Jesus says He is the ONLY way to God. His statement is clear, concise, and without room for interpretational gymnastics. Based on Jesus’ words, there are no other options for salvation outside of faith in Him.
- Grace – Forgiveness of sin and freedom are available through Jesus (Romans 8:1-2)
- Reigning – Hebrews 1:1-3 tells us that He is sitting beside the Father now reigning as King.
- Advocate – Jesus is our go-between with the Father, and we can turn to Him in our time of need (I John 2:1-3)
- Returning – Revelation 19:11-16 describes a returning King taking care of business. The name He wears is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS and all will know He is God.
V. The Question
So, who is Jesus to you? I pray that you know Him in a real way today. If not, I encourage you to acknowledge Him in prayer, confess Him as Lord, ask Him to take charge of your life, and He will change you forever!