WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
That mankind has struggled with this question for centuries is not in doubt, and yet with recent attacks growing in number, especially when it comes to agnostics, atheists, and false religions each lining up, and sometimes even joining forces to continue their onslaught against the Lord Jesus Christ, we felt the compiling of this article would be of help to any sincere seeker of truth to use in defence of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the process be used as a great blessing to one's growth and subsequent faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible is very clear about who the Lord Jesus Christ is. However, what you believe about Him will have eternal consequences for your soul, the very moment you die.
In each of the gospel records, Jesus claimed to be God Almighty (Matt. 4:7), which entitled Him to be called the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28); Son of David (Luke 18:38); Lord and Master (John 13:13); and the I am of Exodus 3:14 (John 8:58); with the arresting temple guards - all 600 of them - falling backwards by His supernatural power (John 18:6).
So either He is telling us the truth about His deity or He is not. However, for the doubting Jews of Jesus' day, there was absolutely no confusion whatsoever about whether He meant it or not, for they immediately took up stones to throw at Him, with the clear intention of killing Him (John 10:31-33). This was done to enforce the Mosaic Law of blasphemy (Lev. 24:16), something Jesus would have been guiltily of had He not been God manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).
In Matthew's Gospel, we read the following:
"Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" (16:13).
Peter, with God's supernatural prompting, uttered the truth:
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."
So was Peter incorrect when he put Jesus on par with the God the Father? Jesus never condemned him for it. Therefore, he must have been speaking the truth.
Such a personal declaration, as the above, speaks multitudes for us today; Christ must be exalted and worshiped as God Almighty (Rom. 9:5).
Some people have suggested that Jesus never called Himself the Son of God but simply allowed others to address Him as such. While it is true that He called Himself the Son of Man (a Messianic title) 82 times, He did also address Himself by His eternal name, the Son of God on at least 10 occasions.
Please see Scriptural proof concerning Jesus' deity:
With the above verses proof enough of Jesus' role as the second member of the Trinity, we should also highlight certain verses where Jesus claimed to be equal to God the Father: Matt. 21:5; Mark 7:6-7; Luke 20:18; John 4:26).
One must also appreciate that the apostles, all eyewitnesses to Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, wrote their epistles, believing and affirming that Jesus is the eternal and mighty God in the flesh (Is. 9:6).
Paul said that Jesus is our "God and Saviour" (Tit. 2:13). Peter echoes this with exactly the same words (2 Pet. 1:1), and so too, does the apostle John:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one" (1 John 5:7-8).
The apostle Peter would prohibit people from worshiping him, even though he was an apostle of the Lord Christ (Acts 10:25); also Paul (Acts 11:14-15), and John, who after falling at the feet of an angel (Rev. 22:8-9) was rebuked by his angelic messenger for worshiping God's creation, rather than the Creator Himself who is blessed for ever. Amen (Rom. 1:25).
Therefore we return to our original question: Who is Jesus Christ?
Paul the apostle wrote the following:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9).
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).
Please note this verse, taken from the epistle to the Philippians is a direct quote from Is. 45:23; and in Isaiah's passage, it is speaking about Jehovah God. How amazing therefore, to find Paul citing this piece of Scripture to be in reference to the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 1:6-13).
Jesus, as God Almighty, willingly left heaven and came to earth to become a man and die on the cross for the sins of the whole world (Is. 49:6; 1 John 2:2). No mortal man, 'god' or angel could ever attempt this impossible task, only God Himself (John 1:14).
Jesus is the only way to heaven
The Bible clearly promotes the fact that there is one God in three persons: Gen. 1:26; John 17:5; Eph. 4:4-6, and that they are all equal in deity and attributes: Ps. 110:5; Is. 9:6; Matt. 4:7. Therefore the Bible is clear that Jesus is the Jehovah God: Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13; Isaiah 45:22-23; Philippians 2:9; Psalm 24:7-10; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Isaiah 48:17; Acts 3:14; Isaiah 44:6-48:12; Revelation 1:17; Isaiah 9:6-7; John 1:1-14.
If Jesus is not God, then He cannot offer us total forgiveness of our sins through belief in His name (John 1:12), which is what justification by faith alone means (Rom. 3:24). But because Jesus is God, He has tasted death for all, by dying on the cross for the sins of the world, and after 3 days, the Triune God resurrected Him from the dead. He has now paved the glorious way for all true believers to enter His Father's promised Kingdom upon death. Jesus is the only Saviour of the world (Matt. 1:22), and only by one's faith in His precious blood can one be saved from one's damning sins (1 Pet. 1:19).
One much also conclude that if He wasn't who He said He was, then millions upon millions of people have perished and subsequently died in vain (1 Cor. 15:12-19.) He would be the biggest fraud and deceiver the world has ever known!
Yet with overwhelming evidence to refute this catastrophic and exaggerated claim, the reader is left with the same question: Who is Jesus Christ?
The Bible teaches that anyone who does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah/Christ makes God a liar (1 John 2:22). The Bible states that if anybody rejects that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, the same is antichrist (1 John 4:3-4), and is therefore cursed due to one's wilful rejection and unbelief (Mark 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:10-12).
The Bible teaches that God has ordained only one way for all of mankind to be reconciled to Him, and that is solely through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
Can Jesus and additional evidence for Christianity be found outside of the New Testament?
The answer is absolutely yes, and the amount of material is abundant!
One Christian writer said the following:
"There is more evidence that Jesus lived, than Caesar crossed the Rubicon."
"It is rare for us to have more than one record of any person in the ancient world; to have four biographies [the gospel's] written by contemporaries or almost contemporaries is unparalleled" (New Bible Commentary, p. 898).
It may also interest the reader that much of what we know about antiquity comes from writings much later after events have occurred.
Please see some of the following religions:
So, let us examine what some of the impartial writers of the first century (all non-believers in Jesus) had to say about this Carpenter from Nazareth, who changed the world forever:
Josephus, a Jewish historian, writing around 93 AD, The Antiquities, 18:63-64:
"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feasts and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many Greeks. He was the Christ. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
Cornelius Tacitus, a Roman historian, wrote in 115 AD, Annals, 15:44:
"Nero fastened the guilt and afflicted the most exquisite torture on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the Populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty: then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convinced, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."
Pliny the Younger, Governor of Northern Turkey, wrote, Letters, 10.96, in 111 AD:
"I have asked them if they are Christians, and if they admit it, I repeat the question a second and third time, with a warning of the punishment awaiting them. If they persist, I order them to be lead away for execution; for, whatever the nature of their admission, I am convinced that their stubbornness and unshakable obstinacy ought not to go unpunished. They also declared that the sum total of their guilt or error amounted to no more than this: they had met regularly before dawn on a fixed day to chant verses alternately amongst themselves in honour of Christ as if to a god, and also to bind themselves by oath, not for any criminal purpose, but to abstain from theft, robbery, and adultery this made me decide it was all the more necessary to extract the truth by torture from two slave-women, whom they called deaconesses. I found nothing but a degenerate sort of cult carried to extravagant lengths."
One writer, when asked what information we have of Jesus, outside of the New Testament, said the following:
"We would know that first, Jesus was a Jewish teacher; second, many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; third, some people believed he was the Messiah; fourth, he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; fifth, he was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius; sixth, despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by AD 64; and seventh, all kinds of people from the cities and countryside men and women, slave and free worshiped him as God."
So, when consulting Josephus, the Roman historians and officials, the Jewish writings, the letters of Paul and of the apostolic fathers, you've got persuasive evidence that corroborates all the essentials found in the biographies of Jesus.
We should also mention, Julius Africanus from the 2nd century, who quoted the 1st century historian, Thallus, concerning what was written by him in regards to the moment when the whole earth, in the afternoon, went pitch black (please see Matt. 27:45):
"[It was] an eclipse of the sun."
Phlegon from 137 AD also affirms that this supernatural event occurred in the 202nd Olympiad 33 AD:
"The greatest eclipse of the sun. It became night in the sixth hour of the day [Matt. 27:45 tells us this was from noon - 3:00 pm] so that the stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake [see Matt. 27:51] in Bithynia, and many things overturned in Nicaea."
We can also turn to another independent writer, Suetonius [Claudius 18], who not only affirms that in 45-46 AD, a severe famine gripped beyond the region of Palestine, which is recorded in Acts 11:28, but also confirms what Acts 18:2 tells us, how the Roman Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome, probably because of the ongoing and sharp contentions about the Messiahship of Jesus (Life of Claudius, 25:2).
The fact remains that we have better historical documentation for Jesus than for the founder of any other ancient religion.
Sources from outside the Bible corroborate that many people believed Jesus performed healings and was the Messiah, that he was crucified, and that despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed he was still alive, worshiped him as God. Seven secular sources and several early creeds concern the deity of Jesus, a doctrine definitely present in the earliest church.
In total there are around thirty-nine ancient sources that corroborate more than one hundred facts concerning Jesus' life, teachings, crucifixion, and resurrection.
Top lawyers investigated and later proved the resurrection to be factual
But one must ultimately be amazed to find the power of Scripture, when prophesying thousands of years before Jesus was born, how and when He would die (Ps. 16:8-11; Ps. 22; Ps. 110:1; Ps. 118:22-24; Job 19:25; Is. 53:10).
And of course the Lord Jesus prophesied of His death over seven times, something Muhammed, Joseph Smith, the popes of Rome or Ron Hubbard never did (Matt. 12:38; John 2:18).
How does Jesus compare with other 'gods'?
It is my genuine belief that when one takes the time to compare the words, life, and example of the Lord Jesus Christ with that of other religious leaders, than it soon becomes apparent that there really is no comparison: Jesus Christ stands truly alone; He is in a league totally of His own (John 7:46).
So, may I share with the reader what other religions teach and say about their leaders?
Therefore it is my conclusion, that as none of the above can claim perfection for their leaders, then once again Jesus Christ stands out as being completely superior to the above, or any other religion in the world for that matter.
Please see the following verses that not only affirm His perfection but also His sinlessness:
And for those that follow and look up to secular and infamous leaders, the following comparisons once again demonstrate the total sufficiency and superiority of Christ:
Lenin told the Russian people that there would be bread for every household.
Yet he never had the nerve to say, 'I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst' (John 6:35).
Hitler expected Germany would experience a thousand year reign, but it only lasted 12 years.
Despite these outlandish claims he never said, 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him' (John 3:36).
Buddha declared enlightenment to his followers, even though he died seeking 'more light'.
But he never had the audacity to say, 'I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life' (John 8:12).
Muhammad believed he was a descendent of Ishmael, Abraham's illegitimate son.
But he too could not bring himself to say, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am (John 8:58).
Freud taught that psychotherapy would heal people from emotional and spiritual problems.
But he dared not say, 'Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27.)
New Age gurus teach all with be reincarnated (whether they want to or not).
Yet not one of them can say: 'I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on Me, thought he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die' (John 11:25-26).
So I return to my initial question: Who is Jesus Christ? And please remember, that as Jesus very clearly believed in absolute truth (that being Himself), is it quite right and logical to then say that there is absolute falsehood! And with the laws of logic being transcultural, i.e. that all religions of the world can be wrong; they cannot all be right, you are therefore, asked to choose which one to follow and submit to? It may either be a perfect Man who never sinned, or on the other hand, an ordinary man who was just trying to better himself.
Other religions take good men and try to make them better, but only Christ takes dead men and makes them alive.
So, please remember, you are allowed to have your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own private truth.
The Bible was written by 41 men, living on three continents, over 1600 years apart. Collusion therefore would have been impossible. These men ranged from kings to prophets, farmers to fishermen. Every writer of the New Testament personally knew the Lord Jesus Christ. And every writer of the Old Testament either saw the Lord Jesus Christ (a Christophany) or they heard Him through dreams or visions. Their writings therefore are inspired of God almighty.
"For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Pet. 1:21).