Who is Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible?
by Gini Crawford, MSW
Why do we need to know Who Jesus Christ is? In Matthew 16, Jesus asks His disciples, "Who do you say that I am?" Peter answers, "You are the Christ..." which meant Peter understood Who Jesus is - that He is God. Jesus Christ wants you to know Who He is too.
It is also very important that we know who the Jesus is we are putting our faith in. This is because to be saved from our sins we need to believe in the Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, not some human author's invented or imagined Jesus, and not a religious leader's preconceived opinion or belief about Jesus Christ.
Jesus Reveals God to Us
We try to understand God in human terms, but we fall so short of who God really is when we do this. Romans 1 tells us God can be seen in His creation. Yet there again, God is so much more than His creation. God is God, so we can't put Him into a box that our human reasoning invents.
You might be thinking, "Can any of us really understand God?" Yes, but only through Jesus Christ! John 1:18 tells us that it is Jesus Christ who has explained God to us!
No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. NASB®
If Jesus reveals God to us, what should we be doing? We should be learning about Jesus from God's Word, and in this devotion we are going to do just that.
Jesus is God
The Bible calls Jesus Christ God. In the Gospel of John as well as in many other places in the Bible, Jesus calls Himself God; God the Father calls Jesus God; and the Spirit teaches us Jesus is God. In John 8:24b Jesus said,
...unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins. NASB®
(Note that "I am" is God's proper name from Exodus 3:14). What Jesus is saying is, if you don't really believe I am the One true God, then your sins will not be forgiven! So, if you don't believe that Jesus is God then you do not believe in the Jesus of the Bible! In other words, you believe in a false Jesus and your sins aren't forgiven.
How can Jesus be God? There is only one God, isn't there? God's Word teaches us that God is One God, but He exists eternally in three persons. He is God the Father, God the Son (The word "Son" in the Greek language means an expression of character not birth.), and God the Holy Spirit. This principle is called the Trinity. The word Trinity is never used in Bible, but it explains the most important principle in the Bible about God - that He is three persons in one.
I think the idea of the trinity is hard for us to understand, because our reasoning is from an earthly perspective. It is the teaching where most off-shoots from Christianity get misguided and become cults. We need to remember God is God! In Isaiah 55:8-9, God says that, His ways, His thoughts, His reasoning, His knowledge, His power, His justice, and His love are so far above ours. Why wouldn't He be three persons, since He is so much greater in all ways than we are? Read Mark 12:29, Isaiah 9:6, John 14:7-11, Romans 8:9-11, and Matthew 28:19.
C. S. Lewis explained in his book Mere Christianity, "Jesus didn't leave it open for us to believe He is just a good man or a great moral teacher because Jesus claimed to be God in the gospels." I know some of you are struggling (probably right now) with who Jesus is; but do not try to fit Him into a pleasant title, such as a great moral teacher. You should either call Him God, because He claimed to be God, or you must think of Him as the most evil liar in history or a very deceived crazy man because He asks all of us to believe in Him for eternal life, and if He isn't God, you are doomed to hell for eternity.
Since Jesus Christ is God and He has all of the characteristics that God has. We will be looking at these characteristics as this devotion goes on.
Jesus is both God and Man
What has always surprised me was not that Jesus is God but that Jesus Christ was willing to leave heaven, take on flesh and blood, and become one of us. Why did Jesus become Man? He did this so He could represent us on the cross. In other words, as a man, he could be our substitute and die in our place.
Jesus Christ, who is the God of the universe became man so He could die for you and me. The passage of scripture that best describes this principle is: Philippians 2:6-8.
...who, although He [Jesus] existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. NASB®
I am going to break up Philippians 2:6-8 into three phrases and talk about them so you will more easily gain insight from them:
Phrase 1 - "who, although He existed in the form of God"
The word form, in the Greek language means nature and character, not shape, as we would think. This phrase means Jesus had the very nature and very character of God.
Phrase 2 - "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself"
The word emptied in the Greek means - to empty oneself, to divest (strip) oneself of rightful dignity by descending to an inferior condition, to abase (humiliate) oneself. This phrase means Jesus willingly stripped Himself of His self-interests, not His deity, when He was on this earth. It also means He let go of His rights as God, and willingly allowed Himself to be humiliated while on this earth.
Daniel 4:34b-35 beautifully highlights what privileges, power and sovereignty God has.
...I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, 'What hast Thou done?' NASB®
When we compare these verses with Who Jesus is, and that He laid aside His rights as God, and willingly allowed Himself to be humiliated for us, we start to understand the love that God has for us.
Phrase 3 - "taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross"
Paul uses the same word form again in this phrase as he did in "who, although He existed in the form of God." Paul wanted us to know that Jesus had the nature and character of a servant on this earth, as well. We are told, Jesus was in our likeness, but we need to understand likeness in the Greek has a meaning of similarity with differences. The difference is pretty obvious - He is God and we aren't.
Some people think Jesus was just kinda like God on this earth. However, from Philippians 2 and many other scriptures it is plain Jesus was and is God. There is no way God could become ungod for a while, because God cannot be any less than who He is. Read Isaiah 43:10-13 and Hebrew 13:8.
Some people think that Jesus was a pseudo man. However, scripture is very clear that He would become Man on this earth so He could die in our place. Jesus also lived on this earth so He could experience personally all that you experience so He could sympathize and care for you.
Therefore, He (Jesus) had to be made like His brethren in all things, that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted ... For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 2:17-18 and 4:15-16 NASB®
Characteristics of Jesus
Below, I will be comparing Jesus' characteristics as God to circumstances from His life on this earth. Hopefully my thoughts will get you thinking about what it meant for you that the God of the universe became Man and dwelt among us and died for us.
Jesus created everything. Jesus is the reason everything exists. He is the eternal God. Yet, He became one of the tiniest pieces of life, an embryo, so He could be born, live and die for us. Read Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1-4 and Luke 1:41-42. Since the God of the universe did whatever He needed to to become one of us, do you think this shows He cares for you?
Jesus formed every detail of a woman's body, because He is the Creator. Yet, Jesus willingly allowed Himself to become a fetus, which is absolutely dependant upon a woman for survival. He placed His survival and security into the arms of a woman, like you and me. (I wonder how it was for Mary to hold the God of the universe in her arms. Did His tiny hand grab her finger? Did His smile touch her heart?) Read Genesis 2:21-22 and Colossians 1:15-17. How big of a sacrifice do you think it was for Him to do this?
Jesus sits upon the throne of heaven, in glory and splendor, as King of kings and Lord of lords. Nonetheless, He allowed Himself to be born into and live in poverty on this earth for us. Read Isaiah 6:1-5, also John 12:41 and 2 Corinthians 8:9. Jesus also came to be a servant (not to be served) and to give His life to save us from our sins. Read Matthew 20:28. Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 6 saw Jesus in His glorified state and was terrified. What does it mean to you that He let go of His rights and glory as God to serve you?
Jesus is the everlasting God, who is the source of life. Yet, on this earth He allowed His life to be cut short for us. He lived just 33 years and died a very painful and emotionally distressing death. Read John 1:1-4, 10:17-18 and 1 Peter 2:21-25. The Source of Life willingly suffered for you, so you could be with Him. How much does this show He values you? How much does your life show you value Him?
Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords of the universe. However, on this earth He was a carpenter and unofficial pastor teacher. He was plain to look at, and probably ugly. He was despised by many of His own people, and was not particularly esteemed. He was a man acquainted with sickness and pain. He also had no degree, no income, no wife or children, no house to call His own, no means of travel but His feet, no retirement fund, no official building whatsoever to use for His ministry. The only material possessions that He had at His death were His clothes off His back. He had only 12 men who were committed to Him and His ministry. One of these men ended up betraying Him, so that they could put Him to death. Think about this statement: "Would you think His life was a failure by our human standards today?" Read Isaiah 53:2-6, Matthew 8:20, Mark 14:43-46 and John 19:17-24. When you are struggling with how you feel, your financial situation, how bad your career or ministry is going, how you look, or a betraying relationship, remember He has experienced all of these things for you because He loves you. He is more than willing to empower you to have peace, joy and even victory through these trials and any other. Just ask for His help!
Jesus destroyed Satan's forces by just being Who He is, God. Yet, He allowed His people, the Jews, to blaspheme Him (without destroying them), when they said, "He was of the devil Himself." Read Mark 1:21-27 and Mark 3:22-30. What does this tell you about Jesus?
Jesus is God, Who knows our sinful hearts (better than we do) and can change them into godly hearts, if we want. However, many of His people hardened their hearts so much against Him that they called for His crucifixion over another man who was a criminal and deserved to be crucified. Read Jeremiah 17:9-10, Ezekiel 36:26-28 and Mark 3:1-6 also 15:6-15. Jesus was crucified for you because He wants you to be His. Read Ephesians 5:25. Because of everything Jesus did for you, are willing for Him to transform your heart and mind? If you are, tell Him.
Jesus is called the Lamb of God because He was willing to sacrifice His life for us. Yet, when He needed His best friends to support Him the most, they thought sleep was more important than He was. One of His best friends denied knowing Him three times when Jesus needed his allegiance the most. Read John 1:29 also Revelation 5:6 and Mark 14:29-37, 66-72. When you are struggling with relationships that are discouraging, or even with a loved one betraying you, remember Jesus understands and went through everything on this earth to be your best friend.
Jesus had all the angels of heaven at His command. Nevertheless, He allowed a large group of religious leaders to arrest Him in a garden. They were led there by one of Jesus friends who betrayed Him with a kiss! Read Matthew 26:46-56. Have you ever been unloving to someone, maybe even betrayed a person? Remember, because Jesus loved you ever so much, He died for you, so you can be forgiven from even betraying someone.
Jesus is Sovereign over all things. Yet, He allowed His trial to be like a Hollywood circus. He also allowed His own countrymen, who wanted Him dead and out of their way for reasons of only jealousy, to engineer His crucifixion. He allowed this all because of His love for us. Read Mark 15:9-15. Are you understanding from this lesson, at least as well as you can, how much Jesus gave up and took for you on this earth? How much are you willing to give up to love Him back, such as a half-hour of your time everyday to read and study His Word?
Jesus, since He is God, has a character that is completely absent of sin. Because He is holy, His whole being instinctively abhors sin. Nevertheless, He willingly took our sin upon Himself when He died on the cross, so our sins could be forgiven. Read Isaiah 6:3 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. How do you think God feels when His Spirit is convicting you of a sin and you refuse to listen to Him?
Jesus is the image of the invisible God. Yet, He allowed Himself to die a criminal's death on a cross for us. As He was dying, He allowed His executioners and others to humiliate Him. They also played games for His only worldly possessions, the clothes off His back. He died alone except for a small group of people, mostly women (who were thought to be just a possession in that society). His tomb was someone else's because it only needed to be borrowed. This was because three days after Jesus' death, He took back His rights as the God of the universe. He also took back His splendor and glory as God when He rose from the dead in victory over our sin and our death. Even though He is the God of the universe, and is called by many wonderful names such as the Lord of lords and the King of kings, His favorite name for Himself is the Lamb of God. (Read Revelation if you doubt this.) This is because His sacrifice brought the people that He loves so very much back to Himself. Read Matthew 27:23-28:10 and Revelation 22:1-5 also John 14:1-3. Since Jesus was willing to live and die for you, you can go from a state of eternal death to eternal life. You can go from never seeming to be able to change for the good, to having the power, strength and desire to live well for God. You can go from a future that promised hell, to the only happily-ever-after ending which is living throughout eternity with God who loves you! Take some time and thank Jesus for all He has done for you because you are His beloved.
Ponder these questions as we end this devotion: How does what Jesus did for you, show you how valuable and loved you are to Him? Since Jesus was willing to be humiliated on this earth for you, do you feel He truly loves and cares for you? Since He laid aside His rights as God for you on this earth, can you lay aside your rights for Him when He asks you to? Since Jesus laid aside His glory and splendor as God on this earth for you and became an ordinary man, can you have confidence (trust Him) in how He created you - your looks, personality, your abilities? Jesus' love for you drove Him to be born, live and die for you. Can what He did for you, drive you to follow Him out of love?
To get a dynamic and clear view of Jesus Christ read the gospel of Mark. It is 16 chapters. I would read a chapter a day and journal about Jesus. (Journal means to write down what the Bible passage is saying to you personally.)
Ask these questions as you journal:
- What does this passage tell me about Jesus - His characteristics (such as His power and holiness), how do His actions show His love and care for the people and hence me too.
- What new insight about Jesus do I see from this passage?
- How can I apply this passage to my life? For example, in Mark 4, Jesus stills the sea with a few words, He can bring calm to my life if I listen to Him. (What we read in God's word should start changing our life...)
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