What difference does it make who Jesus is? He lived 2,000 years ago, so how could that matter today? The truth is, knowing who Jesus is can mold your character, impact your belief system, and change your lifestyle. And more than that, it will determine your eternal destiny.

To discover who Jesus is, we can begin by reading what is written about His birth. Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Micah said that One would come out of Bethlehem whose beginnings were from eternity past. (Micah 5:2) The Bible also teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin after being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and angels sang to announce His arrival. All of this makes Him very exceptional. In Colossians 1:16, we read that "by Him all things were created." So Jesus did not originate at birth, but was pre-existent with the Father in heaven, and was born into the world He Himself had created.

Next, consider His life. He was raised in Nazareth and worked at His earthly father's trade as a young man. But when He was only twelve, He discussed theology in the temple with the religious leaders of His day. (Luke 2:46-49) It is clear that at this point, He was now about His heavenly Father's business. John the Baptist acknowledged Jesus as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), and a voice from heaven confirmed, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased" (Matthew 3:17).

When it was time to launch His ministry, Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, began preaching that the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17) He taught that, if a soldier says to go one mile with him, we should go two. And if someone slaps our cheek, we should offer the other cheek as well. The people had never heard such things, but more than that, they had never experienced teaching with this kind of authority-it was obvious He was no ordinary teacher.

Then there were the miracles. At Jesus' command, the blind could see, the deaf could hear, and the paralyzed could walk. He healed all kinds of sickness and cast out demons. Thousands were fed with just a few loaves of bread and a handful of fish. He walked on water, calmed a raging sea, and even raised the dead. Yes, He was a miracle worker, but that wasn't the reason He came. It was clear that He was sent from God, and in reality, He was God in human flesh.

The crowd flocked to Him, eager for His touch. Many loved Him and believed in Him. But not everyone did. Some were indifferent, and others, including the religious leaders, despised Him. Although His was a life of absolute sinless perfection, there were those who sought to destroy Him. Today, many people still choose not to believe in Him. When I come across someone who says, "I don't believe all this about Jesus," I like to ask, "What is it about Him you don't believe? What is it that He ever said or did that you disagree with or can prove wrong?" Because, you see, He never ceased to be God. Whatever He was doing, Jesus was both God and man at the same time.

One of the best ways to understand someone is to find out what he thinks about himself. Jesus said many, many things about who He was-He said that He is the Son of God (Matthew 16:16-17), that He and the Father are one (John 10:30), and that the Father is the One who sent Him. (John 5:37) He also announced that He did not come to be served, but to serve and that He came to give His life as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:28)-He came as a substitute payment in behalf of humanity. He agreed with His accusers when they called Him "King of the Jews." His "I am" statements from the book of John reveal that He claimed to be the Good Shepherd who loves the sheep (10:11), the Bread of Life who can prevent hunger (6:48), and the True Vine who abides in us as we abide in Him. (15:1)

Jesus also said He was the Door to Heaven (John 10:9), and in John 14:6, He expanded on that thought: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but though Me." That statement has caused many people to back away, thinking, What a bigoted, egotistical statement! How narrow-minded to think that the only way to Heaven is through the person of Jesus Christ. And yet, this man called Jesus is exactly who He says He is. He is the Good Shepherd. He is the Bread of Life. He's the way, the truth, and the very life itself. Because, you see, in order for us to have eternal life, we must receive Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.