Depending on how much you’ve read or heard, you will know that in the world today there are many ideas, theories and explanations of who Jesus is. Jesus’ name appears everywhere, it is used in religious services and used as a swear word. Ask someone who is using Jesus’ name in these ways, “Do you know Jesus?” and they may just give you a blank stare. What is it about this person that keeps people asking the question: Who is Jesus and can Jesus really be known?
These are good questions to ask. A lot of confusion exists because people often don't ask questions. Some have been told that “faith” doesn’t ask questions, the truth is faith is full of questions. Having faith doesn’t mean that every question can be answered, but it does mean that questions should be asked to gain understanding of the truth.
There are lots of opinions on this subject, it’s amazing how often opinions get sorted out and truth is clarified when we read what the Bible actually says. The Gospels—the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament—tell the story of Jesus’ life. They show that this question was an extremely popular one when Jesus was walking the earth. He was aware of the question, and he even asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man [a term referring to Jesus] is?” The disciples gave him assorted answers. Then he asked, “But who do you say I am?” Speaking for the rest, Peter said, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” Jesus agreed with him. (See Matthew 16:13–17).
The answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?” has to start with exploring Jesus’ own claims. He described himself as God Mark 2:1-12. He also demonstrated himself to be fully man (he wept, thirsted, and died). He claimed to be both Saviour (Luke 19:9-10) and Friend (see John 15:13-15. For that, you will need to explore the New Testament books that record his life. The question is important enough that it deserves the investment on your time.
When people look to discover more about who Jesus is, they also find out that they can know him personally. In one of Jesus’ last prayers he said, “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth” (John 17:3).
If you don’t have an answer or feel like you’ve been using someone else’s answer, the Bible is the ultimate source for finding the answer.
Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago in the small town of Bethlehem in the Middle East. His birth was the miraculous fulfillment of many Old Testament prophecies, including the prphecy that God would place Him into the womb of a young virgin woman. Jesus was (and is) God, and He became human to bring the message of salvation to a broken, sinful and damaged world.
"For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)
Jesus was 30 years old when He began His public ministry. For three years, Jesus travelled around telling people about God, performed miracles and fulfilled the hundreds of prophecies that had been written about Him. Jesus and His disciples preached about God and encouraged people to turn from their sins and accept the free gift of salvation that God was offering them through His son, Jesus Christ.
"The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life by the power of His name." (John 20:30-31)
At the age of 33, Jesus was crucified. Jesus was nailed to a wooden cross and died a painful public death by Roman crucifixion. Jesus death was also the fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus died in place of all who would believe in Him. Jesus death was the necessary sacrifice for our sins. In fulfillment of yet another prophecy, Jesus rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion and burial. Then He spent 40 days with His disciples and other people before ascending to Heaven.
"He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed." (Isaiah 53:5)
By His death and resurrection, Jesus offers us forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternal life. Jesus came to earth to help us understand and accept what we need to know to gain eternal life - we need to believe and trust in Him and accept His gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sin by accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
"Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ." (Ephesians 2:13)
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