A Barna Group survey revealed that more Americans claim to be closely connected to Jesus Christ than have a Facebook page or Twitter account. The survey concluded that 2 in 3 Americans claim to have a personal relationship with Jesus: “that is currently active and influences their life.”
But WHO is the Jesus that two-thirds of Americans claim to know and follow?
It is said that in the days before Elvis Presley died, he had been reading a book called “The Many Faces of Jesus.” That title stands as a fitting symbol of the confusion surrounding Jesus today in our time. Two thousand years have passed and still many are perplexed about who Jesus is? Where did He come from and why did He come?
History’s greatest question
No person in history has provoked such widely divergent assessments as Jesus of Nazareth. Some say He was a great spiritual leader like Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, while others say He must have been out of His mind. Who is Jesus Christ? It is no exaggeration to say that this is the central question of history and the most important issue anyone will ever face.
Without a doubt Jesus is the greatest and most fascinating person ever to walk the face of the earth. He has affected human society like no other human being. In fact, His arrival and death were so significant that we actually divide time and mark off human history by them.
He never earned a degree and had no formal schooling. He was never elected to office. He never wrote a book. When He died, He owned nothing beyond the clothes on His back.
The Romans killed Him, but within three centuries of His death the entire Roman Empire worshipped Him. He changed the course of civilization and today, 2,000 years since He was born, millions are still turning to Him in every nation on every continent.
- Who is Jesus Christ to you and how does your answer stack up with the Bible?
- Do you personally know beyond a doubt that Jesus is the true Messiah, the Son of God and Savior of the world?
- Who do you believe Jesus is and on what do you base that belief?
Jesus is special
Tune in to just about any nightly-news talk show and chances are you’ll hear a bewildering array of opinions about Jesus … He was a good man … A Prophet … A Galilean Rabbi … The ultimate revolutionary … The Messiah of Israel … A first-century wise man … A man just like any other man … King of Kings … A misunderstood teacher … The embodiment of God’s love … A reincarnated spirit master … A deluded religious leader … A fabrication of the early church.
One of the best ways to understand someone is to find out what he thinks and says about himself. In Matthew 16 verse 15, Jesus asked His disciples the mother of all questions: Who do you say I am? Mormons answer this question by saying that Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer; Jehovah’s Witnesses answer by saying that Jesus is the archangel Michael; New Agers say Jesus is an avatar or enlightened messenger. Jesus, however, answered by claiming that He was in fact God.
The Bible leaves us in no doubt as to the uniqueness of Jesus.
Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being.
Colossians 1:15-16 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth.
Colossians 2:9 (NIV) In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form.
Nothing like this is said of any other person in Scripture. All other men and women are sinners. We are born with a sinful nature and our actions are all tainted by this nature. If Jesus was only the greatest man who ever lived, He would have had a sinful nature and as such He would need a savior and could never have been our Savior.
Jesus is special. His birth was special and different from all other births. His mother Mary was a virgin, so Jesus’ birth came about not as a result of human love, but through a divine, supernatural life-giving operation of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:35).
Jesus was born of a virgin. Of the billions of humans who have lived throughout history, only one person entered the world in this way. There is only one mediator between God and man and there is only one human who was virgin born.
Jesus is the Anointed One
The title Christ is so often given to Jesus that people often mistake it for His last name. It is, however, not a name, but a title that refers to His position and work as Messiah. The term Christ comes from the Greek “Christos” which is used to translate the Hebrew word for Messiah. Both Christ and Messiah mean “The Anointed One.”
The New Testament uses many titles and names for the Lord Jesus Christ but the one He himself used most often was Son of Man. By the use of this title Jesus made it plain that He really was a man. He was a unique man and a sinless man, but nevertheless He was truly man. Jesus had to become a man in order to make atonement for man’s sins. This was crucial for our salvation (1 Timothy 2:5).
Jesus was more than a man, 25 times in the Gospels He calls Himself the Son of God. Jesus is Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23). Jesus is fully man and fully God. He is not part man and part God. In Him there exists two natures so that He is divine and also a sinless man.
Jesus is God
Any group who says that Jesus is not God is not a Christian group, no matter how big their Bibles may be or how much they might look like Christians.
The DEITY of Christ means the DIVINITY of Christ, and that Jesus Christ was and is God in human flesh. One prominent trait of all counterfeit religions and cults is their pointed denial of the Scriptural doctrine of the Deity of Jesus Christ.
The Jesus who is an incarnation of Michael the archangel is not the Jesus of the Bible, but the Jesus of the Seventh-Day Adventists. The Jesus who is the spirit brother of Lucifer is not the Bible Jesus, but the Mormon Jesus. The Jesus who is a Hindu guru is not the Jesus of the Scriptures, but the Jesus of the New Age movement.
Luke 9:20 Then Jesus said to them, but who do you say that I am? And Peter answered: ‘THE CHRIST OF GOD.’
Central to our faith as Christians is the fact that Jesus is actually God in human flesh. Jesus is MORE than a good moral man, MORE than a prophet and messenger of God, MORE than a great teacher — He is the manifestation of God in the flesh. Therefore any attack on the Deity of Christ is an attack on Christianity as a whole. If Jesus was only a man He could not have died to save us from sin, but because of His Deity, His death has infinite value.
- The Bible identifies Jesus as God (Colossians 1:15-19; 2:9).
- God the Father identified Jesus as God (Hebrews 1:8).
- Jesus identified Himself as God (John 10:30-33).
- Angels identified Jesus as God (Luke 1:30-35; 2:11).
- Demons identified Jesus as God (Luke 4:41).
- The Disciples worshipped Jesus as God (Matthew 14:33).
- Isaiah called Jesus God (Isaiah 9:6).
- Thomas called Jesus God (John 20:28).
- Stephen called Jesus God (Acts 7:59).Paul called Jesus God (Titus 2:13).
- Peter called Jesus God (2 Peter 1:1, 17).
- James called Jesus God (James 2:1).
- John called Jesus God (1 John 5:20).
- Jude called Jesus God (Jude 25).
The Gospels plainly reveal that to know Jesus was to know God (John 14:7); to see Him was to see God (John 14:9); to believe in Him was to believe in God (John 12:44); to receive Him was to receive God (Mark 9:37); to hate Him was to hate God (John 15:23); and to honor Him was to honor God (John 5:23).
The seven I AM statements of Jesus
The truth is Jesus is God come in the flesh (John 1:1-3, 14). Jesus was not merely God-like; He was and is God. Hundreds of verses in the New Testament clearly affirm Jesus Christ is God and He possesses full and absolute Deity—even demon spirits declared His divinity.
When the Jewish people heard the seven “I AM” statements of Jesus in the Gospel of John that was radical, and the message unmistakably clear … Jesus was declaring: ‘I am God.’
- “I AM the Bread of Life” (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51).
- “I AM the Light of the World” (John 8:12).
- “I AM the Door of the Sheep” (John 10:7, 9).
- “I AM the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11, 14).
- “I AM the Resurrection and the Life” (John 11:25).
- “I AM the Way, the Truth, the Life” (John 14:6).
- “I AM the true Vine” (John 15:1, 5).
Divine credentials validate amazing claims
Jesus made some awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping claims that no ordinary person would dare to make.
- Jesus claimed to be the Messiah (John 4:25-26).
- Jesus claimed He was the only way to Heaven (John 10:9).
- Jesus claimed to be equal with God and accepted worship as God (John 9:35-38).
- Jesus claimed He was sinless, and in fact lived a 100% pure, perfect, sinless life on earth (1 Peter 2:21-22).
- Jesus claimed He was the only way to God (John 14:6).
- Jesus claimed the right to forgive sins (Matthew 9:2-8).
- Jesus claimed He would rise from the dead. He predicted how He would die and His resurrection from the dead three days later (Matthew 20:17-19).
- Jesus claimed He alone could give people eternal life. (John 10:28)
- Jesus claimed that any person rejecting Him would die in their sins. (John 8:24)
Talk is cheap. Anyone can make claims. But when it comes to Jesus of Nazareth read the four Gospels and you’ll see He had the divine credentials to back up His every claim.
- Jesus miraculously healed the sick — only God can do that.
- Jesus forgave sins — only God can do that.
- Jesus destroyed Satan’s power — only God can do that.
- Jesus raised the dead — only God can do that.
- Jesus supernaturally stilled the storm — only God can do that.
- Jesus came back from the dead! The huge fact of the empty tomb is the one that knocks out any possibility of Jesus being “just another religious leader!”
Jesus is completely different and unique from every other religious leader because He has always existed; was born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, made amazing claims and proved them to be true by coming back from the dead and ascending into heaven.
Jesus is the only way to Heaven
Jesus is the Divine Son of God and the Savior of the world. He is far more than a good man, a wise teacher or a prophet. Jesus is the ONLY WAY to God (John 14:6).
Jesus is the one and only way to heaven. He claimed it and proved it by His life, death and resurrection. Every religion, philosophy or belief system that denies Jesus as the only way to heaven is false and ultimately leads people to an eternity in hell.
The name of Jesus is the one and only name that a person must call upon in order to be saved (Acts 4:12; Romans 10:13).
The Bible declares that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven. His gospel is a straight path from the pit of sin to the glory of heaven — with the promise of an abundant life here on earth in between.