WHO IS THIS MAN CALLED JESUS?
Jesus Christ, says one source, is "The Founder of the Christian religion; the promised Messiah and Savior of the world; the Lord and Head of the Christian church."
Another source describes Him as "The human-divine Son of God born of the Virgin Mary; the great High Priest who intercedes for His people at the right hand of God; the founder of the Christian church and the central figure of the human race."
The name Jesus Christ presents two aspects of the person and nature of the man Jesus. His PERSONAL NAME was Jesus, which, in the original language of the Bible, signifies Savior. The name was suggested to both Mary and Joseph in separate angelic visitations. The angel*s message to Joseph even explains the meaning of the name.
To Mary the angel said: You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. (Luke 1:31) To Joseph, the angel added: She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Christ was the OFFICIAL TITLE of Jesus, a title which designated who He was and why He had come to live among men. The Greek word "Christ" means the Anointed One. It is the equivalent of the Hebrew Messiah, a title referring to the Anointed One of God who would come to save His people, Israel, from their sins.
The equal nature of the two titles can be seen in the words of Andrew to his brother Simon: The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). (John 1:41)
When Jesus asked His disciples who they believed Him to be, Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:16)
When asked,"Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus replied, "I am." (Mark 14:61-62)
Everything about Jesus Christ was distinctive, unique, special, and touched by the supernatural. Though He lived on this earth as a man, He was at one and the same time IMMANUEL, or GOD WITH US.
Isaiah prophesied several hundred years before the birth of Christ: Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)
When the angel reassured Joseph about his impending marriage to Mary, He quoted Isaiah and added an explanation of the meaning of the title: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel — which means, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
Jesus is also called THE SON OF GOD. This title expresses the divine nature of Jesus as separate from His humanity.
Jesus was given this title by the angel Gabriel at the annunciation: The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. " (Luke 1:35)
Jesus was also acclaimed as the Son of God by God Himself at the time of His baptism: And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Mark 1:11)
Jesus Himself claimed this unique relationship with God when He prayed: And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (John 17:5)
The title SON OF MAN was the way in which Jesus most frequently referred to Himself It was a title whose use was already known to the people His day, but the way Jesus used it gave it entirely new significance.
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins He said to the paralytic, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." (Mark 2:10-11)
With the death and burial of Jesus, the story of His earthly career comes to an end. But with His resurrection on the third day, He lives forever as THE EXALTED LORD. That "Jesus is Lord" is the oft-repeated creed of the early Christian church.
Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 12:3)
The final conclusion of the Bible on the question of the identity of Jesus is that JESUS IS HIMSELF GOD. When Jesus is recognized as Lord in the supreme sense of absolute authority and leadership, it is not surprising that He is also called God in the New Testament.
Thomas, who had at first been skeptical of the resurrection, when he became convinced that the risen Christ stood before him, abandoned his doubts: Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28)
The prelude to John*s gospel makes Christ*s deity abundantly clear: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)
Jesus, however, is far more than a person who lived in the past. Far more, even, than someone who came from heaven and then returned to the place from which He came. He is a risen, living Lord who is present and at work in the world today.
When Jesus died on the cross He offered His life to God on behalf of humanity. The sinless, holy life that He offered as a sacrifice for sin was acceptable to God. His giving up of His life for our sins resulted in eternal life, Gods free gift to mankind in Christ, becoming available to us all.
Jesus now reigns in heaven, seated at the right hand of His heavenly Father, and His principal ministry is to intercede for (to pray for) those who have accepted His death as the price of their salvation.
Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. (Romans 8:34)
Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews7:25)
The work of Jesus in salvation is forever finished. He never needs to die again for our sins, and, if we*ve accepted Him as Savior, neither do we need to die in our sins.
The work of Christ in another sense, however, is far from over. Jesus said that there were "greater works" that He had yet to perform. Two of these are the resurrection of the dead at the end of human history and the judgment of the living and the dead when Jesus ushers in God*s eternal Kingdom. These two activities are associated with the Second Coming of Christ.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51)
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. (Revelation 20:11-12)
Who is this man Jesus? He is the Son of God, come to live among us as the Son of Man, who came as Messiah to redeem His people Israel, and as Savior to save us from our sins. He is God Himself, come to be Immanuel, God With Us. He died on a cross and was raised from the dead by God*s divine power. He is alive today as Lord of His Church, and as our Mediator who sits at God*s right hand making intercession for His children. One day He will come again to raise the dead, catch up the living, and bring everything on earth under God*s final judgment. Afterward He will reign forever as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
The only question that remains is . . .
WHO IS JESUS TO YOU?