Who is Jesus?

by Matt Slick

Jesus is the central figure of Christianity.  He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me," (John 14:6).  Also, Jesus claimed to be God in flesh.  If you compare what God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14 ("And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”) with what Jesus said in John 8:58 (Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am,"), then you quickly see that Jesus was claiming to be God.  In fact, others testified that He was divine as well:

  • John 20:28, "Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!'"
  • Col. 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form."
  • Heb. 1:8, "But of the Son He says, “Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever..."

Jesus is the second person of the Trinity.  He is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God...  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth," (John 1:1-2,14).

Because the word was with God and was God and became flesh, we then state that Jesus has two natures: divine and human.  Therefore, Christianity teaches that Jesus is both God and man at the same time.  The reason that he is God in flesh is because only God can atone for our sins; we can't do it on our own because we are finite, sinful beings and we cannot please an infinitely holy God.  Jesus had to be a man to be able to die for humanity.  This means that Jesus took our place on the cross; that is, He took our place and suffered the wrath of God the Father.  If you trust in what Christ has done, then you will be saved from the righteous judgment of God.  More on that next.

God is infinitely holy, sinless, and just.  When we sin, when we do something contrary to God's will, then we have offended God.  Since He is infinite, our offense against Him takes on an infinite quality -- because of who we have offended:  an infinite God. Since no person can please an infinite God (because we are finite and sinners) then the only one left to remove our sins is God Himself.  Therefore, Jesus is God in flesh, the one who died on the cross, bore our sin in his body (1 Pet. 2:24), and physically rose from the dead.

Right now, in heaven, Jesus is still in the form of a man: "For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5).  Jesus rose from the dead in the same body he died in: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' 20 The Jews therefore said, 'It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?'  21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body.  22 When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken," (John 2:19-22).  Also, He retained the wounds of His crucifixion after He rose from the dead: "Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing,” (John 20:27).  Forty days after His resurrection He ascended into heaven bodily:  "And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight," (Acts 1:9).  He will return again from the heavens, and will judge the world and all people:  "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven," (Acts 1:11).  Yet, at the same time, He is still divine, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col. 2:9).

Jesus never did anything wrong.  He performed many miracles such as healing, casting out demons, walking on water, calming a storm with the command, raising people from the dead, and rising from the dead himself.  Though there have been many great teachers throughout history, none of them have performed such miracles and claimed to be divine as Jesus claimed.  This is why we can believe Him when He says, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me," (John 14:6).

We trust what Jesus said.  Therefore...

  • Jesus is prayed to - Acts 7:55-60; 1 Cor. 1:2 with Psalm 116:4; John 14:14
  • Jesus is worshipped - Matt. 2:2,11; 14:33; John 9:35-38; Heb. 1:6
  • Jesus cleanses from sin - 1 John 1:9
  • Jesus forgives sins - Matt. 9:1-7; Luke 5:20; 7:48

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