Discovering Jesus Christ
- Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The Messiah... The Prince of Peace… The Word made man… Savior and Lord… The King of Kings… The Lion of Judah… The Lamb of God
When Christians answer the question "Who is Jesus Christ?" they build their answer on the Bible - on things He said about Himself, on prophecies from the Old Testament that foretold His coming, and the doctrines laid out about Jesus Christ and His Church through the rest of the New Testament.
There is little doubt historically that Jesus existed, but people do often wonder about His divine nature, His miracles, and God's offer of eternal salvation by grace through Christ "first to the Jew and also to the Gentile" (Romans 1:16)… in other words, to all mankind who would believe.
Because the love that Jesus offers comes in the form of a "personal relationship" with Him, many believers have particular definitions about who He is to them. We want to give you the Biblical basics about this amazing, paradoxical Savior who purports to be simultaneously the Son of God and Son of Man.
The gospel of Jesus is literally "good news," so we hope you enjoy exploring the miracle and wonder of what the God of all creation did for you through His Son.
Let's begin our study on the identity of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16, where the Lord put the very question to His own disciples:
When they came to the area of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his followers, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They answered, "Some say you are John the Baptist. Others say you are Elijah, and still others say you are Jeremiah or one of the prophets." Then Jesus asked them, "And who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus answered, "You are blessed, Simon son of Jonah, because no person taught you that. My Father in heaven showed you who I am." (Matthew 16:13-17)
The same questions are being asked to this day: Who does everyone else say He is, but then, who do you say He is? It is the most important question to settle during your lifetime, for reasons we'll examine shortly.
The New Testament book of Hebrews is another source that attempted to answer the same question for an uncertain group of people. As the Ryrie Study Bible states, "The theme of the book is the superiority of Jesus Christ and thus of Christianity." But superior to what? Among other things: prophets, angels, Moses/The Law, priests, and other powers. In other words, He is supreme among any thing that has issued from God, or any person that is beloved of God. "For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it," says Hebrews 2:1 about the nature of the Messiah's identity. This is why even Christians continually study these precepts; it is not merely skeptics, seekers, and unbelievers who benefit from asking the question, "Who is Jesus Christ?"
The Apostle Paul, before his conversion, was known as Saul, a legalistic Jew who persecuted Christians… until he was confronted with the answer to our question in a most dramatic way that changed his life and the course of history (Acts 9). After that, Paul would often refer to himself as a "bond-servant of Christ Jesus," someone little more than a voluntary slave, but one sharing in the same servitude. How did Paul answer our question? In Philippians 1:21 he would express his secure devotion to the Lord when he wrote: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
You see, finding the answer can be jarring and life-altering. It can also fill what has seemed to be missing inside you, since the Father sent His Son to reconcile you to your original purpose - communion with a wonderful, holy Creator. So as you pursue knowledge of the Savior, consider yourself joyfully warned.
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