No matter what you think of him, Jesus Christ of Nazareth has transformed human history. Our calendar is divided by his short life, hospitals and schools are built in his name and more artwork, movies, songs and books have been produced about him than anyone else. It is in Jesus’ name that desperate people pray, grateful people worship, and angry people swear. Though he ascended to heaven over 2000 years ago, his band of followers continue to gather, continue to worship and continue to grow and spread right across the globe.
So who is this Jesus?
Jesus is not just a prophet or a good teacher or a godly man as some have supposed. Indeed, anyone that makes the claims Jesus made is not a good man. Quite simply, in the words of C.S. Lewis, there are only three options for such a man. He is either a malicious liar, a deluded lunatic or is in fact, the Lord God of the universe. Jesus claimed to be the latter.
In John 10:30, Jesus boldly declared, “I and the Father are one.” In John 8:58, Jesus claimed, “…before Abraham was born, I am!” Following both of these occasions, the Jews attempted to stone Jesus, charging him with blasphemy for claiming to be equal with God. Jesus never backed down from this charge and never corrected them.
Jesus even claimed to have power over life and death. In John 11:25-26, after raising his friend Lazarus from the dead, Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” This is an outrageous claim that is either a damaging lie or a glorious truth.
Throughout the three years of his public ministry, Jesus confronted the religious hypocrites, gave grace to the hurting and the sinful, spoke truth to all and performed astonishing miracles. By both his words and his works, Jesus proclaimed to the watching world that He was in fact, God in flesh.
But what did Jesus come to do?
Jesus entered into human history to reveal who God is, to redeem and reconcile broken humanity back to their Creator and to begin His reign as King. All of these events and purposes find their fulfilment in the cross and resurrection of Jesus. If you want to really know who Jesus is, you must look to the hill upon which he died and the empty tomb from which he emerged.
The substitutionary death of Christ on the cross absorbs God’s righteous wrath towards our sin and is a vivid and scandalous display of both the great holiness and love of God. Jesus’ resurrection and the empty tomb secures our resurrection and assures us that sin, death, evil, suffering and Satan do not have the final say but Jesus does. And Jesus’ final say is that all who trust in Him will never die (John 11:25-26), will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11) but rather will have a sure and solid hope, flowing over into eternal life and joyful worship of the living God forevermore (John 3:16; 4:14).
How do I get to know Jesus?
Getting connected with Jesus isn’t something you can earn. You can’t do anything to gain his favour and get yourself right with God. The only thing you can do is something that really isn’t doing: trusting that Jesus and his sacrifice are enough for your forgiveness. This is what is called the gospel. It is the good news that we were so sinful the Jesus had to die for us, but at the same time, so loved that he was glad to die for us.
If you want to learn more about Jesus, the Bible is a great place to start. The following are some parts of the Bible that speak of Jesus. If you want to dig deeper, we encourage you to start reading the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and the book of Romans.