Who Is Jesus?

Jesus often asked people questions for which He already knew the answer.  He had important lessons to teach them and asking questions was an excellent way to engage them in the learning process.  On one occasion, He asked His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13).  Their answers reflected the widespread confusion among the Jewish people about the true identity of this Jesus of Nazareth.

It appears that things haven’t changed much over the last two millennia.  But most of the confusion over Jesus’ true nature is the result of either a lack of respect for the divine origin of Scripture or general ignorance of what it teaches.  The combination of Old Testament prophecy and New Testament revelation provides a rich tapestry that presents a clear image of this truly unique person.

Jesus is God.  To deny the divinity of Jesus is to reject everything the Scriptures have to say about Him.  Isaiah described the child who would be born and given to us as “Wonderful Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).  John’s introduction to His account of Jesus’ life says that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1).  Jesus Himself declared, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58).  Only God referred to Himself as “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) and the Jews knew it.  That is why they tried to stone Jesus to death when He said it.

Jesus is our teacher.  Without a doubt, the best ever.  But the true significance of His teaching lay, not in His formidable teaching techniques, but in the saving power of the message.  Jesus was The Prophet who Moses had prophesied would come in Deuteronomy 18.  He was The Word of John chapter 1.  He was, and is, the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).  When many chose to desert Jesus, Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus is preeminent.  God the Father has granted His Son all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).  He began reigning over His kingdom when He ascended to the right hand of the Father after His resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:29-36).  At the same time that He sits on David’s throne, He is the head of the body, the church.  Anyone who acts in the name of religion without the authority of Christ is rendering their service worthless and empty (Matthew 15:9).

Jesus is a servant.  For a brief period of human history, the Son gave up being on an equality with God and took upon Himself the form of a servant and lived among us (Philippians 2:6-8).  The great creator of all things came to this earth, not to be served, but to serve (Mark 10:45).  He gave His life as a ransom for our transgressions and, even now, acts on our behalf as our high priest, our advocate with the Father.

There was no confusion in Peter’s mind about who Jesus was.  Peter told Him, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  It is astounding to me that the One with all power and authority would condescend to us and humbly show us what service to God and to one another looks like.  Each of us should be motivated to follow His lead every day of our lives.