Volume 21, Issue 18 (May 5, 2019)
Who Was Jesus?
By Kyle Pope
In 2013 Time Magazine listed Jesus Christ as number one in a list of the 100 most significant people in human history. Similar polls usually rank Jesus in the same way. Who really was Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus Himself once asked His disciples the question, “Who do men say that I am?” (Mark 8:27). Some thought He was John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets (Matt. 16:14). One of the most important questions we will ever confront in life is Who was Jesus? Was He a fraud? Was He a liar? If so, scores of people have lost their lives for faith in a fraud and a liar! But, what if He wasn’t? What if He was everything the Bible says about Him?
I. He Was the Prophesied Messiah
The Bible makes remarkable claims about Jesus. Among these is the claim that He was the promised Messiah (John 1:41-42).
A. The Old Testament promise of the Messiah. He would be one who would come after the rebuilding of the temple in 6th century BC but before its destruction in 70 AD (Dan. 9:25-26). Messiah (or Christ) means “anointed One.” He would be...
1. A prophet like Moses (Deut. 18:18-19)—Jesus disciples applied this Scripture to Jesus (Acts 3:22).
2. Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)—Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:1).
3. Of the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10)—Jesus was of the tribe of Judah (Matt. 1:2).
B. Claims that Jesus was the Messiah.
1. Jesus said He was the Messiah (Mark 14:61-62).
2. His apostles claimed He was the Messiah (Acts 2:36).
II. He Rose from the Dead
Jesus was executed, but death could not keep its hold on Him. After three days in the tomb He brought Himself back to life, never to die again (1 Cor. 15:3-5).
A. The Messiah’s death in prophecy.
1. Hands and feet pierced (Psa. 22:16)—Jesus fulfilled this (Luke 24:39).
2. Casting lots for clothing (Psa. 22:18)—This happened to Jesus (Matt. 27:35).
B. Details prophesied in Isaiah Fifty-Three.
1. Silent before accusers (Isa. 53:7)—Jesus’ silence at His trial (Matt. 26:63).
2. Die with sinners, but buried with the rich (Isa. 53:9)—Jesus was crucified with criminals and buried in a rich man’s tomb (Luke 23:32; Matt. 27:57-60).
3. He would die (Isa. 53:8), but “prolong His days” (Isa. 53:10)—Jesus rose (Acts 1:3).
III. He Was God in the Flesh
After His resurrection, when one of His apostles first saw Him he confessed Jesus’ deity (John 20:27-28), as promised in Micah 5:2.
A. His virgin conception.
1. Isaiah foretold the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isa. 7:14)—This was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth (Matt. 1:18, 20).
2. The Messiah would be called Immanuel (Isa. 7:14), which means “God with us” (Matt. 1:23).
B. His apostles affirmed His deity.
1. Paul—“fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
2. Hebrew writer—“express image of His person” (Heb. 1:3)
3. John—“the Word was God” (John 1:1, 14).
IV. He Is the Only Way to Salvation
A final claim that is personally important to each of us is the claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation.
A. There is salvation in no other name. The apostles told the Jewish leaders that Jesus is the only way to salvation (Acts 4:12).
B. Jesus is the only way to a relationship with God. Jesus said He is the way to salvation (John 14:6).
Who is Jesus to you? Peter answered Jesus’ question by affirming that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Matt. 16:16). If the claims of the Bible are true, how each of us answers this question determines our salvation or condemnation. Have you put your faith in Jesus Christ? Have you been buried with Him in baptism? Are you a part of His body—the church.