by Matt Slick
Jesus Christ, who is sometimes referred to as Jesus of Nazareth, is the founder of the Christian faith. He was a Jewish carpenter who lived in Israel, 2000 years ago. His influence in the world is so great that our western calendar is based on the year of his birth. Jesus has other titles revealed in Scripture such as the Son of God (Mark 1:1; John 5:25), the Messiah (Matt 1:1; John 1:41; 4:25–26), the Lamb of God (John 1:29), the bread of life (John 6:32), deliverer (Rom. 11:26), the only begotten son (John 3:16), as well as 'the way, the truth, and the life," (John 14:6).
Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:6) according to the prophecy found in Micah 5:1-2. His parentage was extraordinary since his mother was a virgin when he was conceived (Matt. 1:23-25) by the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20). He stayed in Israel his entire life (Luke 2:51), and at the age of 30 began his public ministry. He gathered 12 disciples and began to teach. The Gospels reveal many miracles performed by Christ including the resurrection of people from the dead (Matt. 9:25; John 11:43-44), walking on water (Matt. 14:25-27), commanding a storm to be still (Matt. 8:22-27), and of course his own resurrection from the dead (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:1-4) after he was crucified by the Romans with the assistance of the Jews. One point worth mentioning is that Christ never sinned (1 Pet. 2:24). Everything he did and said was good.
Son of God
Biblically speaking, Jesus is the son of God. This means that He is God in flesh (John 5:18). According to the Bible Jesus has two natures: divine and human. This is called the hypostatic union. Furthermore, Jesus is the second person of Trinity. The Trinity is the Christian teaching revealed in the Bible that God, the only God in existence, is comprised of three distinct and simultaneous persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There are not three gods, but one (Isa. 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5). An analogy would be time. Time is past, present, and future. Each 'aspect' has the nature of time, but each is not the totality of time.
When we say that Jesus is God, what we are saying is that he is divine by nature. Biblically speaking, He is the word that became flesh (John 1:1, 14). Again, He has two distinct natures: divine and human (Col. 2:9). Please consider these Scriptures.
- John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
- John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
- Colossians 2:9, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,"
The Claims of Jesus
Jesus made many claims that can be very challenging to people. He claimed to be God in the flesh (John 8:24, 58). He claimed that He would resurrect his own body (John 2:19-21). And, He claimed to be the way the truth and the life and that no one can get to God the Father but through Him (John 14:6). But if that were not enough, He taught about the coming judgment. In Matthew 25:46 He spoke about the wicked going away into eternal punishment. In Luke 16:19-31 he spoke of the afterlife and the consequences of our actions here. But there are many other things He taught. Following are some of the things that Jesus claimed about Himself.
- He reveals God the father (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22)
- He opens the mind to understand Scripture (Luke 24:45)
- He is the judge (John 5:22, 27)
- He said the Bible is about Him (John 5:39)
- He is the bread of life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51)
- He is the light of the world (John 8:12)
- He gives eternal life (John 10:28)
- He is one with the father (John 10:30)
- He existed with God the father in glory before the universe was made (John 17:5)
The Message of Jesus
The message of Jesus is both simple and complex. He taught that he was God in the flesh (John 8:24, 58), that God is real and loves us (John 3:16) and that we are to love one another (John 13:35; Matthew 22:39). But He also taught us that God the Father is righteous and will punish sinners (Matt. 25:46). Furthermore, He taught that the way to escape the righteous and eternal judgment of God is through Christ's sacrifice on the cross (John 3:16-18). All who trust in Him will be forgiven of their sins. And, Christ's sacrifice on the cross is the means to achieve that forgiveness (John 3:14-15; 12:32).
In the New Testament, there are four gospels which are biographies of the life of Christ. They were written by either eyewitnesses of Jesus' life (Matthew and John) or by an amanuensis, a kind of scribe or assistant to an individual who would then write down what the eyewitness said (i.e., Mark and Luke). These four Gospels were written very early, well before the completion of the first century. They contain eyewitness accounts of the life, miracles, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
Not only do they contain historical information, but they also contain elements of fulfilled prophecies that were given in the Old Testament. It is a miraculous truth that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies He did after the Old Testament. Here are some of the prophecies.
- Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14 with Matthew 1:18, 25)
- Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:1)
- Preceded by a messenger (Isaiah 40:3 with Matthew 3:1-2).
- Entered Jerusalem riding a colt (Zechariah 9:9 with John 12:14–16)
- Betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12 with Matthew 27:9)
- His side would be pierced (Zechariah 12:10 with John 19:34)
- He would be crucified (Psalm 22:1, 11-18 with Luke 23:33; John 19:23-24, 33
Without a doubt, Jesus is the most influential person in history. His teachings, as revealed in the New Testament, have laid the foundation for Western civilization. Even in the Middle East where Islam is the majority religion, the Quran speaks of Jesus and claims him to be one of their own prophets.
In addition, Jesus' teachings in the Bible have been translated, in whole or in part, into over 2500 languages. His influence has spanned 2000 years, and he has touched people on every continent and every nation. Billions of copies of the Bible having been printed and are still being printed. Jesus, without a doubt, is the most important and influential person in all of history.