WHO IS THIS MAN JESUS?
Many people have heard about Jesus. Some believe that he was a good man, others that he was a prophet, still others that he was the founder of a new religion. And some accept him as their Savior and Lord. Already in the times of Jesus the opinions varied (Mt 16:13-14).
I. Jesus’ Claims
In the New Testament many amazing claims about Jesus are found. But Jesus himself made also some interesting statements about himself.
(1) John 5:25-27 – He is the Son of God and the Son of Man and will raise the dead.
(2) John 6:47-48 – He provides eternal life for those who believe in him.
(3) John 10:30-33 – Jesus is one with God the Father.
(4) John 14:6 – Jesus is the only way to God, truth personified, and life.
(5) John 17:5 – Jesus lived with God before creation.
(6) John 18:37 – Jesus is King.
(7) Mk 14:61-62 – Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. He sits at the right hand of God and will come back on the clouds.
(8) Mt 28:19-20 – Jesus is with us always, even to the end of the age.
This is not a comprehensive list. But it tells us: Although Jesus was a human being, he claimed to be God’s Son, who became man in order to save us. He is God and creator (John 1:1-3), judge and king, and will come again.
II. Reactions of His Audiences
While Jesus and his claims were rejected by a number of his contemporaries (John 7:46-49), there were others who believed in him:
(1) Mk 15:39 – A Gentile, namely a Roman centurion.
(2) Mt 16:16 – Peter, one of his disciples.
(3) John 11:27 – Martha, a woman who followed him.
(4) John 20:25-28 – Thomas, a sceptic.
(5) Rom 9:5
Col 2:9 – Paul who had persecuted the Christians and denied the Lordship of Jesus.
Jesus has shaped this planet and has changed the life on it in a remarkable way. He has influenced it more than all armies that ever marched, all kings and rulers that ever reigned, and all inventions that were ever made. He left us his commandment of love, his exemplary life, and above all he saved us. More books are written about him, more pictures and sculptures manufactured portraying him, more music composed to honor him than any other person that walked on this planet. Even time is reckoned from him.
III. Evidences for the Validity of His Claims
Centuries before his birth Old Testament prophets made detailed predictions about the Messiah to come. It is said that there are more than 300 such predictions which were fulfilled in Jesus. Most of them Jesus could not have fulfilled himself even if he had wanted to. The predictions include his genealogy, place of birth, year of the beginning of his public ministry, triumphal entry in Jerusalem, speaking in parables, performing miracles, his rejection, betrayal, being abused and mocked, his crucifixion, year of death, his death in our place, burial, and resurrection. Here are some examples:
(1) Micah 5:1; –
Prediction: 8th century B.C., Bethlehem as the place of birth.
Mt 2:1, 5, 6;
Lk 2:1-7 –
Fulfillment: God used the Roman emperor Augustus for the fulfillment of the prophecy, because shortly before her delivery Mary and Joseph were still in Nazareth.
(2) Zech 9:9 –
Prediction: 6th century B.C., triumphal entry.
Mk 11:7 –
Fulfillment: Jesus enters Jerusalem.
(3) Zech 11:12-13 –
Prediction: Thirty shekels of silver to be paid for the Lord.
Fulfillment: Jesus is betrayed for exactly thirty shekels of silver, Judas threw the money into the temple.
(4) Ps 22:16-19 –
Prediction: 10th century B.C., crucifixion.
Fulfillment: Jesus was crucified, and his clothes were distributed.
(5) Ex 12:46 –
Prediction: c. 16th century B.C., no bone of the Passover lamb was to be broken.
John 19:31-36 –
Fulfillment: Jesus’ bones were not broken. The Passover lamb was a symbol for Jesus (John 1:29)
IV. Jesus and I
The Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled in Jesus and in him alone. He is what he had claimed, the Messiah, the Son of God, but especially our Savior (John 3:16). We are asked to recognize him as such and believe in him.