Who is Jesus?
Jesus’ identity is so mysterious, so complex, and so astonishing that it would take a million lifetimes to fully understand who he really is. That being said, Jesus wants to be known, and He’s given us the Bible so that we can know him.
Here are three basic things we need to know about Jesus:
Jesus is GOD. Jesus got into hot water with the Jewish leaders of his day because He claimed to be the “Son of God,” which was actually a claim to deity (see Luke 22:66-71). The Apostle Paul developed this idea further when He called Jesus “the image of the invisible God” and credited Him with creating the entire universe (see Colossians 1:15-20). When we read the Bible, we find that Jesus shares every characteristic with God the Father except one: Jesus came to earth and became a man. (See John 1:1-14.)
Jesus is LORD. The Jewish leaders knew they couldn’t get rid of Jesus by charging Him with blasphemy, so they brought Him to the Roman governor and accused Him of claiming to be a king (see Luke 23:1-4; John 18:28-39). The irony was that Jesus wasn’t a king in the usual sense—He wasn’t starting a military revolution and trying to overthrow Rome.
But He was (and is!) the “Son of Man” —the one true king, not only over Israel but over the entire universe! Jesus is the one rightful king of heaven and earth who will reign forever—and He came to inaugurate the kingdom of God here on earth. (See Daniel 7:13-14.)
(“Christ” isn’t Jesus’ last name; it’s His title. “Christ” is a Greek word that literally means “anointed one,” i.e., king. The Hebrew equivalent is “Messiah.”)
But there was a problem: No one could be admitted into this glorious new kingdom because of humanity’s guilt and rebellious nature. We’re all insurgents who need to be reconciled to our king, but even if we were reconciled, we’d still keep resisting his gracious rule. What could God do about this?
Jesus is SAVIOR. Jesus became the “Lamb of God” when the Jewish leaders and Roman authorities murdered Him on the cross (see John 1:29). He took our sin and shame, and we were credited with His perfect record (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). He was abandoned by the Father so that we might be adopted; He bore the judgment we deserved, and we got the glory He deserved (see Romans 8:15-17).
But that’s not all. The Father raised His Son to new life by the power of His Spirit! Because of this, we can also be raised to new life—a resurrected life, a flourishing life, a life that submits to the gracious and loving rule of the King.
In Jesus, God himself reclaimed the throne of heaven and earth, saved us from eternal death and destruction, and gave us new life by His Spirit. This is the message we proclaim—this is the Good News!