Saturday, 31 January 2009

Who Is Jesus?

Christ carrying His cross. El Greco (1580). Image from Wikipedia

Joel Kontinen

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
(Matt. 16:13-16)

We still have different views about Jesus. Some secular humanists doubt His historicity although we have strong evidence of His life in early extrabiblical literature as well. Others think that He is just a good teacher. For Muslims He is a sinless prophet called Isa whom God saved from the cross and took alive to heaven. Jehovah’s Witnesses say He is the archangel Michael.

Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matt. 16:17).

The Bible refutes all non-scriptural views of Jesus. The Gospel of John (1: 1-3) says that He is God who has been in existence from the beginning and through whom all things were created. Paul also calls Him Creator in Colossians 1:16-17:

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

Jesus was also a good teacher and a sinless prophet. But He was much more. After the resurrection, the apostle Thomas finally understood who Jesus was. He acknowledged, "My Lord and my God!" (Gr. ο κυριος μου και ο θεος μου, John 20:28).

Many theologians believe that in Old Testament times Jesus appeared as the Angel of the Lord. But this does not mean that He is the archangel Michael, who is a created being.

Christianity is a paradox in many ways. The Creator of the entire universe was born in Bethlehem as a human being and suffered a horrible death for man’s sin on a cross in Jerusalem.

But He rose from His grave and lives forever.

Scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV).