Thoughts to Ponder

Who is Jesus?

I want to try to address who Jesus really is. This is a daunting task, I know that we will never truly understand all His attributes, nor will I be able to give a full picture of what the Bible says about Him. Having said that I want to at least try to dispel some of the misconceptions going around today about who He is. I will try to present a clear picture of what I believe Scripture says about Him.

Let's start at the beginning: (Genesis 1:1-3 NIV) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. {2} Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. {3} And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

I believe we see the Trinity in these first three verses. In verse one we see God the Father as well as the whole embodiment of the Godhead. In verse two we see the Holy Spirit and I content in verse three we see the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ. I say that because John tells us who spoke creation into existence: (John 1:1-3 NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} He was with God in the beginning. {3} Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. Jesus Christ is that Word, who created everything. Is it any wonder we call all that we know the universe? Uni = one and verse = spoken sentence.

I believe that Jesus was who walked in the garden in the cool of the day. Adam and Eve would have been very familiar with Him. (Genesis 3:8 NIV) Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. He would also be the one who placed the curse on creation because of Adam and Eve's sin. He placed that curse because His holy nature demanded punishment for mankind's sins. Remember He would have already known that He would be the Redeemer of mankind, by suffering and dying for our sins.

So why would Jesus place a curse on mankind if He knew He would have to die to redeem us? I think the answer is simple, yet very difficult for us to understand. Jesus is God and therefore He has a holy nature which demands punishment for sin. He could not deny His own nature and just forget our sin. Yet He loved us: (Romans 5:8) 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. I believe that we can see Jesus in many places in the old testament. This would be a pre-incarnate Jesus, in other words, taking on the form of a human but not truly human as He was after His physical birth. Many times the Bible states that the Angel of the LORD did something, this often represents Jesus. For instance when Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32, I believe it was Jesus whom he wrestled.

Again in Numbers 12 I believe we see Jesus. Aaron and Miriam were speaking against Moses and the Lord heard it and came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. We know that God told Moses in Exodus 33 that he could not see God's face. Anyone who sees God's face would instantly die.

This brings me to a statement God made about Moses Numbers 12:4-8 (NIV) 4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you." So the three of them came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, 6 he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. 7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" Notice that God says He speaks to Moses face to face, so it must be Jesus to whom Moses is speaking. It must be Jesus who wrote the ten commandants on the stone table, it must be Jesus' glory which shined on Moses' face so brightly that he had to wear a veil.

Now I believe we are getting a much clearer picture of who Jesus is, was and will always be. There are many more times in the Old Testament where Jesus interacted with mankind, before His incarnation.

In Daniel we read about Jesus walking in the fire with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: Daniel 3:25 (NIV) 25 He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods."

Many people claim that Jesus was not God and for that matter never claimed to be God. Is that true? No it is not. But before we look at what Jesus Himself claimed let's look at what the Bible says the Messiah would be like. Look at Isaiah 53 for a full picture of who the Messiah was going to be. I only quote part of it here: Isaiah 53:3-6 (NIV) 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Isaiah 9:6 (NIV) 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We see in this passage also from Isaiah that the Messiah would be God. Not a mere man, but Mighty God, Everlasting Father. So if Jesus was the Messiah, He had to also be God. Notice too that at the beginning of the verse it shows that the Messiah would be born as a child. So we can know that the Messiah was both human and God in one.

In John we read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. Here are two verses from that story: John 4:25-26 (NIV) 25 The woman said, "I know that Messiah" (called Christ) "is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us." 26 Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." Jesus just claimed He was the Messiah, which means He was also claiming to be God.

Now in other places we see that Jesus claimed to be God. The Jews knew that only God can forgive sins, so they understood what Jesus was saying when He healed the lame man and said: (Mat 9:2 NIV) Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven." In effect He was claiming here to be God and to have the right to forgive sins, which belonged to God alone.

When Moses saw the burning bush, and God talked to him and told him to go to Egypt, Moses asked who should he say sent him. God answered: (Exodus 3:14 NIV) God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" Now look at what Jesus said (John 8:58 NIV) "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" A man could not claim that, Abraham was born thousands of years before Jesus. The wording itself tells us that Jesus was claiming that He was the great I AM, or in other words God.

Let's look at another statement that Jesus made: (John 10:28-33 NIV) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God." There was no doubt in the Jews mind that Jesus was claiming to be God.

(Mat 10:1 NIV) He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. No one but God could give this kind of authority. Not only did He claim to have the authority but He was able to give it to others, who were then able to use it.

I think we have established that Jesus was God, now let's look at His human side. He was born to a virgin. Many people will try to tell you that all the Bible says is that Mary was a young woman. I believe she was young, but she was also a virgin. Look at this passage: Matthew 1:20 (NIV) 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit." Jesus did not have a human father.

He was human because His mother was human, but I believe He was born without sin, because the Bible shows that sin is passed from the Father. Romans 5:12 (NIV) 12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- Notice it says that sin came into the world through one man. Since Jesus did not have a human father, He would not have gotten the taint of original sin passed down from generation to generation.

A recent made for TV movie showed that Jesus confessed His sins before John would baptize Him. That is pure fabrication. He had no sins to confess. The people who wrote that in the movie could not have read and understand scripture. Look at this passage: Matthew 3:13-17 (NIV) 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." John tried to deter Jesus from being baptized. There are also those who preach today that Jesus was all there was, there is no Trinity. I tried to show at the beginning where all three of the Godhead were and in this passage we see them all again. Jesus was being baptized and I have already shown that He had to be God to be the Messiah. God the Father speaks about His Son; Jesus and the Holy Spirit descended on Him as a dove.

He was fully human. He got irritated just like we do. Mark 7:17-19 (NIV) 17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") He was zealous for His Fathers house: John 2:15-16 (NIV) 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"

He had compassion and a tender heart: John 11:33-35 (NIV) 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34" Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. 35 Jesus wept.

Some people try to claim that Jesus was learning His purpose and God the Father's will while He walked this earth. I don't believe that. I believe this passage shows just that. Jesus delayed going to see Lazarus for three days because He knew that he was going to die. There was a greater purpose in Lazarus' death then in healing him before hand. Yet Jesus was overcome with the grief He saw in these people. He did know His purpose and He did know His Father's purpose and even when it went against what His human nature wanted He still did it.

Another point on this subject is this passage, where Jesus obviously knew who He was and what His purpose in life was at the age of 12: Luke 2:41-52 (NIV) 41 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you." 49 "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50 But they did not understand what he was saying to them. 51 Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Again we see Jesus' compassion and love: Luke 13:34 (NIV) 34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"

So we see He was fully human, but remained fully God. The Bible says He was the full embodiment of God. Hebrews 1:3 (NIV) 3 The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. Don't ever be tempted to think of Jesus as less then fully God. Fully aware of what He was to do as a human, fully aware of what was ahead of Him.

Look at this passage: John 2:23-25 (NIV) 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. 25 He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.

My heart breaks to see people lower the image of Jesus Christ. He was fully human, but no ordinary human. He was fully God, but allowed Himself to be limited by time and space so that He could redeem the very people who lower Him in their own eyes. He limited Himself physically because a human body could not contain His full glory, but that does not mean that He was not conscious of His purpose or God the Father's will. He often spoke about doing the will of the Father. He knew what that was and He did it without looking around trying to figure out what it was.

John spent three years walking with Jesus on this earth, yet look how he reacted when faced with the resurrected Christ: Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV) 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Don't let anyone lower your view of Jesus our Lord and Savior. I have hardly scratched the surface, but I hope it has made you think about who Jesus is.

E-Mail Ralph

These devotionals are written by Ralph Dettwiler, and reflect his views.

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