“Who do men say that I, the Son of man, am?” Mt. 16:13
This study looks at Jesus and who he is, who does he say he is, who do others say he is, and why do we need him.
Below is a partial quote about Jesus from the Apostles Creed:
“I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead, on the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
What is the Apostles Creed? Legend says that ten days after Jesus went into heaven the apostles wrote it. I don’t know about that, but there is a reference to the Apostles Creed in a writing as early as 215 AD, and it certainly appears in a writing around 542 A.D. This is a creed that many churches recite often, churches such as the Catholic church, the Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian. All of these and more have had this creed in their instructional books at one time or another.
So what does that say? It says that on these facts, on these issues, Christians agree. And all of what is in this creed that is said about Jesus is in the Bible.
So, let’s dive into who Jesus is. First of all, let’s just be clear that “Christ” is not the last name of Jesus. Christ is a title. It is the Greek word for Messiah, which means “promised deliverer.” The Messiah, or Christ, is the deliverer of the people. For Christians, the messiah is our deliverer from sin, from Satan, from separation from God.
Jesus was born 2,000 years ago. No one knows exactly the date and sometimes people want to say he was born before the year 0, some say 6 B.C, some say 6 A.D. It doesn’t really matter exactly. The Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII) was introduced in 1582 as a reform to the Julian calendar, but it cannot accurately identify the date of the birth of Jesus.
But here we are 2,000 years after Jesus was born and books are still written about him, trying to disprove him, trying to show him in a different light other than what the Bible teaches. In short, there is still a search for Jesus and the knowledge of who he was or is. Some want to say that he didn’t exist at all, that he is a figment of imagination. That is just ridiculous! There is more written about Jesus than any other figure in history of that time. You can find more about him and his life written by eye witnesses than the life of Julius Caesar, yet no one doubts the existence of Caesar.
(For more proof of the existence and history of Jesus, there is a book by a man named Lee Strobel. It is of interest because Lee Strobel was a journalist who started an investigation to disprove the existence of Jesus or at least to prove that he was nothing more than a man. By the end of his investigation, Mr. Strobel became a Christian. The book is called “A Case for Christ.”)
Why is this study important? Because you can’t have Christianity without Christ. You can have Buddhism without Buddha, but you can’t have Christianity without Christ. As Paul Little says:
He is the authority of the teachings of the Bible:
- The authority of its doctrines
- Origin of salvation
- The fulfillment of its hopes
- The source of its power and
- The founder of its church
He is Fully God
So we begin this study where we left off last week. We talked about the Trinity last week and that Jesus Christ is a person of that trinity. Jesus Christ is fully God. Let’s read John 1:1-1:3
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (ESV)
Continue by reading verse 14:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (ESV)
What is John saying here? In the beginning was “the Word.” You can see that “the Word” is identified in verse 14 as becoming flesh and that he is the Son from God, the Father. This can only be Jesus. And Jesus was in the beginning with God and HE WAS GOD. Everything that was made…the world, the stars, and man, was made by him. By who? By Jesus.
Yes, as we said last week in our study of the Trinity this is difficult to wrap our heads around, but we believe this by faith. Jesus is God and there are many references throughout scripture to his deity.
Titus 2:13 calls him our God and Savior.
John 10:30 He claims his deity saying “I and the Father are One.”
And in Matthew 26:63, 64 he calls himself Son of God.
It is impossible for me to examine all of them, it would take months.
Let’s look at a couple of scriptures that refer to the power of Jesus:
Like God the Father, he has the power to forgive sins. Mk. 2:10
He has the authority to judge. John 5:22
And yet, doesn’t come to condemn but to bring salvation. John 3:17
He has power over nature when he stilled the storm, Mk 4:39,
Turned water to wine, John 2:7-11, and walked on water.
He has power over disease. Mk 3:10
Power over demons. Luke 4:35
Power over death. John 11:43, 44
In Colossians 2:9 Paul says that all of the fullness of the deity dwells bodily.
Yet, Jesus is Fully Man
Jesus is also fully man. “Therefore he (Jesus) had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Hebrews 2:16-18 and “We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Heb 4:15.
Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (ESV).
He had characteristics of a man.
- Born of a woman, Mt 1:18, Luke 2:40, a virgin which made him different, but still born like any man.
- He has a body, soul and spirit. He grew up like any man.
- He was hungry. Mt 4:2
- He was tired. John 4:6
- He knew love and compassion. Mt 9:36
- He was angry.
- He wept.
- He was certainly troubled and had anguish. Luke 22:39-46
The phrase Son of Man when speaking about Jesus is used more than 80 times.
III. Why was Jesus necessary?
A perfect, sin-free life was necessary to pay the price for our sin because Adam and Eve were sin-free until they believed Satan and sinned through disobedience. A perfect sacrifice was needed to pay the price of sin, so Jesus came to be that perfect sacrifice. Jesus came as a man because Adam and Eve were human, so the payment had to be a human. But all of man is born into sin, so Jesus came as God, sin-free. It was the only way to redeem us all from sin.
Jesus says he came to give his life as a ransom. (Mk 10:35), he paid the price to save us from our sin. He also came to destroy the works of the devil, and rescue us from Satan’s power over us. (1 John 3:8.) He came to give us abundant life, (John 10:10), and he came to do it for us all, to save the world. (John 3:17). Only God could do all of that for us.