Who is Jesus anyway?
For hundreds of years people have been asking that question. Look at the life and influence of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, throughout history and you will see that He and His message always produced great changes in the lives of men, women, children and of nations. Wherever His teachings and influence have gone, women’s rights and voice in society have been acknowledged; the sanctity of marriage is upheld; schools and universities of higher learning have been established; laws to protect children have been made; slavery has been abolished; and a multitude of other changes have been made for the good of humanity. Individual lives are dramatically changed.
For example, Lew Wallace, a famous General and literary genius, was a known atheist. For two years, Mr. Wallace studied the leading libraries of Europe and America, seeking information that would forever destroy Christianity. While writing the second chapter of a book he planned to complete, he suddenly found himself on his knees crying out to Jesus, “My Lord and my God.” Because of solid indisputable evidence, he could no longer deny that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Later, Lew Wallace wrote the book “Ben Hur“, one of the greatest English novels ever written concerning the time of Christ.
Napoleon Bonaparte said, “I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ was no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire on love; and at this very hour millions of men would die for Him.”
When H.G. Wells was asked what person had left the most permanent impression on history, he replied that if you judge a person’s greatness by historical standards then, “By this test Jesus stands first.”
The late C.S. Lewis, professor at Oxford University in England, was an agnostic who denied the deity of Christ for years. But he, too, in intellectual honesty, submitted to Jesus as his God and Savior after studying the overwhelming evidence for His deity. In his book, “Mere Christianity”, C.S. Lewis said, “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him, ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the kind of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to”
Jesus Himself said, “I and the Father are one.” He also stated, “If you have seen Me you have seen the Father.” Jesus said He was one with God the Father. He repeatedly forgave sins, something only God can do.
Who is Jesus of Nazareth to you? Your life on this earth and for all of eternity is affected by your answer and response to this question.
What does Jesus say?
Many people today think that Jesus was a fine man. Some even think that by following Jesus you might find one of the ways to heaven, or peace and fulfillment. The truth is, most people don’t know what He taught. Here are some of Jesus’ words to examine…
Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born?
Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.
What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above).
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.
He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation–he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ’s name.]
The [basis of the] judgment (indictment, the test by which men are judged, the ground for the sentence) lies in this: the Light has come into the world, and people have loved the darkness rather than and more than the Light, for their works (deeds) were evil.
For every wrongdoer hates (loathes, detests) the Light, and will not come out into the Light but shrinks from it, lest his works (his deeds, his activities, his conduct) be exposed and reproved.
Therefore He said again to them, I am going away, and you will be looking for Me, and you will die in (under the curse of) your sin. Where I am going, it is not possible for you to come.
At this the Jews began to ask among themselves, Will He kill Himself? Is that why He says, Where I am going, it is not possible for you to come?
He said to them, You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world (of this earthly order); I am not of this world.
That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be–if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins (and if you do, then where I am going, it is not possible for you to come).
Jesus said to him, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.
You see, Jesus did not say that He was one of the ways to heaven. He did not even claim to be a real fine man. He did say that there is only one way to God, one way to real lasting peace, one way to have your sins forgiven and possess eternal life. He made that very clear when He said, “I am the way…”.
What does Jesus want me to know?
He wants you to know that He loves you but because you have sinned (lied, stolen, committed adultery, used God’s name to curse by, etc…) those sins have separated (distanced) you far from God. He wants you to know that being guilty and condemned by sin, there is no payment nor sacrifice that you by yourself could ever offer that would remove the penalty of your sins. (The fact that He loves you does not remove sin from your life.)
Jesus wants you to know that His great love for you compelled Him to do the only thing that could be done to make it possible to have your sins forgiven, eternal life restored to you, and bring you into a right relationship with God. Jesus left the glories of Heaven and humbled Himself by becoming as a man. Since sin and death came into the world through a man, a man had to be the instrument to bring life and restoration (I Corinthians 15:21-22). But all of humankind was guilty and stained by sin. No one was innocent.
That’s why Jesus had to come and become as a man. He was 100% God, and 100% man at the same time. Being a man He was tempted, yet He never sinned. Being God, He forgive sins, commanded the forces of nature, and offered Himself as the only acceptable, holy, spotless sacrifice for sinful humanity. The Holy One died for the unholy, the righteous for the unrighteous, the guiltless for the guilty, and in doing so, Jesus became our substitute and went to the cross in our place. He satisfied the demands of justice and died for our sins. He was raised from the dead and today He is offering you, free of charge, forgiveness from all of your sins…eternal life right now…and a right relationship with your Creator God.
What does Jesus want me to do?
He wants you to come to Him, just like you are, and believe in His great love for you. He wants you to believe that He died in your place and that He has been raised from the dead and is alive today. He wants you to turn from what you know is wrong and confess Him as the Lord of your life and receive His love, forgiveness and life. And you can do that right now…talk to Jesus…