Who Is Jesus Christ?
“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Matthew 16:13). If anyone else asked, “Whom do men say that I am?”, we would think him either mad or arrogant. But in the case of Jesus, a right confession of who He is is basic to salvation (Romans 10:9-10; 1 John 2:18-23; 1 John 4:1-3). His Person and His work go together and must never be separated. It is amazing to see how confused the public was about Jesus. “There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” (John 10:19-21). Perhaps, like Herod, the people thought Jesus was John raised from the dead.
This is the question Jesus put to His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration. They replied that He was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Matthew 16:14). Then our Lord asked them what THEY thought, and Peter replied, “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” There are many different categories that people place Jesus in. Some say He was a blasphemer and deserved to die. Some say He was the world's most gifted personality. And some say that He was God, the Creator, who came in fashion as a man.
C. S. Lewis summed it all up neatly and said that Jesus is one of three things: a liar, or a lunatic, or the Lord. If we want a straight answer, perhaps we should ask a straight question. And that is exactly what happened in the high priest’s palace on the night when Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane and led away and shackles to face the Sanhedrin.
Caiaphas was the high priest and led the inquisition. All four Gospels record the event. Look in Matthew 26:63—“I adjure thee by the living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” It was a court of law. The highest officer in the nation presided, and Jesus was placed under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
A normal human response would be to say, “That’s what some of my overtly enthusiastic followers are saying, but in all seriousness, I am only a carpenter’s son from Nazareth and have never claimed to be God manifesting the flesh.” The question was as pointed as language could make it. The setting was solemn. The issues were life and death. And Jesus answered so that no one need ever again be in doubt. In Luke 22:67-70, we read, “Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.” Matthew 26:64 Jesus made this statement: “Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
The result, of course, was inevitable. The assembled supreme court judges shouted, “He is worthy of death. What need we any more witnesses?”
A pointed question. A clear answer. Jesus said He was the Son of God. Not a prophet. Not a teacher. Not an example. But much more. The Daysman from on high who has visited us (Job 9:33); Whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
Does it really matter who Jesus is? It matters eternally. It matters tremendously.
• Does He have power on earth to forgive sins?
• Is He the first fruits of them that sleep?
• Will the dead one day hear His voice and come forth from the grave?
• Will He confess us before the Father if we have confessed Him on this earth?
• Is His the only name by which we have salvation?
I have heard people say that Jesus never claimed to be God. These people have never read the Bible or they have read it and then tossed it onto the scrap heap. It is popular today to believe that all roads lead to heaven and that no one who is sincere will fail to spend eternity in heaven. That is as foolish as saying that all roads lead to Mitchell Corners.
This is the truth. The Name of Jesus is the “only Name given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6).
John wrote in his gospel, chapter 1:1, 3, 14, “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. All things were made by Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. He became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Paul said in Colossians 2:9, “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
Peter wrote in First Peter 1:3, “begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.”
When John wrote his gospel he said, “these things are written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye might have life through His name” (John 20:31).
The Book of Hebrews says His throne is an everlasting throne and that when He came into the world, God instructed all the angels to worship Him (Hebrews 1:6). This is good news!
• He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world (John 1:29).
• God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained (Acts 17:31).
One thing is clear: We can never make a true decision about Jesus Christ by taking a poll of the people. Some people do get their “spiritual knowledge” this way! The important thing is not what others say, but what do you and I personally say? The decisions of the crowd (wrong or right) can never substitute for personal decisions.
Years ago, someone wrote a little chorus:
Everybody ought to know, everybody ought to know
Everybody ought to know who Jesus is.
He's the Lord of glory, He is the great I AM
The Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
His Name is Wonderful, the Prince of Peace is He,
The everlasting Father throughout eternity.
Jesus is the One, He is the Only One.
Have you come to Him?
Have you welcomed Him into your life?
Have you confessed Him before men?
If not yet…today is your day. Now is God’s time.