People have been asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” since he came to earth. At one point, Jesus even posed the question to his disciples, “Who say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Many in his day thought he was a great teacher or prophet.
How do you answer Jesus’ question “Who do you say I am?” Your answer has enormous implications for your eternal destiny.
Some see him as a teacher or example. They see him as a rule-giver who shows you the way you should live. Yet, because of all he did and the claims he made, author C.S. Lewis suggests we can’t see Jesus merely as a teacher:
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
If you call Jesus your Savior, but you mean that Jesus is your example who shows you the way you should go, then you are seeing Jesus as your teacher or rule-giver; you don’t yet truly know him as your Savior. Knowing him starts with understanding how the Bible describes Jesus.
Jesus is Called God
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). Jesus is God from all eternity. There was never a time when he wasn’t God. In the very beginning, he was God. Jesus is referred to as the Son of God. This does not mean the Father existed before him. Rather, it describes an intimate relationship between two distinct persons. While the Bible repeatedly states there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6), it reveals God as three persons: Father, Son and Spirit (Matthew 28:19).
Some try to make a distinction between Heavenly Father as Elohim (Hebrew word for God) and Jesus as Jehovah (God’s proper name in Hebrew) but these terms often appear together as one name (no less than 11 times in Genesis 2) translated “LORD God.” Father, Son and Spirit are one incomprehensible LORD God.
Jesus Demonstrates He is God
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth…Lo, I am with you always.”Matthew 28:18,20
Jesus has all power and authority. He is eternal (John 1:1–2) and knows all things (John 21:17). These characteristics, only true of God, are ascribed to Jesus.
Jesus also acts as only God can. He turned water to wine (John 2). He calmed the storm (Matthew 8:23–27), cast out demons (Mark 5:1–20) and even raised the dead (John 11:38–44). As God, Jesus is credited together with the Father (1 Corinthians 8:6) and the Spirit (Psalm 104:30) with creating the world (John 1:3).
Yet perhaps most striking of all was his spiritual authority. On one occasion, a paralytic was brought to Jesus. Attending to his greatest need, Jesus forgave his sins. The religious leaders of the day recognized this was something only God had the power to do. So, in order to prove he had the authority to forgive sins, he demonstrated his power as God and healed the man of his paralysis.
“But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house.”Matthew 9:6-7
Who is Jesus to You?
Jesus isn’t just different in degree or progression than you. He is an entirely different being, in a class all by himself. He is higher than humans. He is higher than the angels (Hebrews 1:4). He is equal in his very essence to God.
As God, Jesus is worshiped in heaven and earth (Philippians 2:10, Revelation 5:13). In fact, those who do not ascribe this honor to Jesus offend God: “All men should honour the Son, even as the honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which has sent him.” (John 5:22–23)
Jesus asked, “Who say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Peter answered, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Thomas answered, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
The Most Important Answer is Yours
If, along with Peter and Thomas, you recognize Jesus as nothing less than God himself, you’ll begin to understand how he could pay the price for all the world (Mark 10:45). You’ll appreciate his power to forgive even you. You’ll see him on a much grander scale and it will dramatically increase your view of God’s love. Most importantly, as you learn what he’s done for you, you’ll discover what it truly means to call him your Savior.
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