Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So who is this Jesus?

My last couple postings talked about becoming a disciple of Jesus. Well, maybe we need to understand a little more about who this Jesus really is if we hope to become His disciple. Notice I used the verb “is” rather than “was”. Jesus is very much alive. No dead prophet can ever effectively serve as our master. A true disciple can only be produced from someone with whom we can have an active relationship and whose voice we can still hear.

So who is this Jesus? Most people believe that Jesus is a prophet and/or great teacher. Surely He is both, but that isn’t what makes Him someone whose disciple we want to become. Here’s the bottom line: Jesus is God and as such He serves as the ultimate example for us to follow. Yes, He is fully human but it is the fact that He is also fully God that makes Him worthy of following.

So how can we know that He really is God? Here are seven key biblical teachings about the Christ (Messiah) that prove that Jesus is God:

1. Jesus is the Messiah prophesized in the Old Testament (Rom. 1:2-3, John 19:28, Rev. 5:5). In fact, Jesus fulfilled over 70 Old Testament prophesies concerning the Messiah many of which were required to be completed prior to the destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70. Therefore, Jesus is either the Messiah (Christ) or there will never be a Messiah.

2. The Old Testament has numerous references to the Messiah (Christ) being called God (Yahweh and Elohim) and even God refers to the Messiah as being Yahweh which is God’s covenant name (Isa. 7:14, Isa. 9:6-7, Isa. 40:3, Zech. 12:10).

3. Jesus even equates Himself with God (John 8:19, John 8:56-58, John 10:38).

4. The attributes and abilities that are applied to God in the Old Testament are applied to Jesus in the New Testament (Isa. 43:11, Isa. 43:25 and Isa. 44:24 compared with Mk. 2:7-10, Acts 7:59, Matt. 28:16-17, John 5:21, John 5:22,27, Titus 2:13-14, Col., 1:16).

5. Christ eternally existed with and as God and created all things (John 1:1-3, John 6:38, John 8:54-58, John 17:4-5, Phil. 2:5-7, Col. 1:15-17, Heb. 1:2, Rev. 22:13).

6. Jesus was supernaturally conceived and born of the Virgin Mary and lived a sinless life while on earth (Isa. 7:14, Matt. 1:18-25, Isa. 53:9, John 8:46, 2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15, Heb. 9:14, 1 Pt. 1:18-19, 1 Pt. 2:22-23, 1 John 3:4-5).

7. Jesus proved everything that He said was true by rising from the grave in the same yet glorified body just as He and the Old Testament had predicted (Ps. 16:10, Matt. 12:40, Matt. 17:22-23, Lk. 9:22, John 2:19-21).

Since Scripture proclaims that there is only one God (Dt. 6:4) and there was no God before Him and will be no God after Him (Isa. 43:10, Isa. 44:6&8, Isa. 45:5) and the Messiah is called God, then Jesus must be God - not a god, but the God!

Now here’s the real dilemma we face – Jesus expects us to be like Him but how can we do that if He is God? The truth is we can’t ever be God but we can live a Godly, God directed life. This is what Jesus expects us to do and He provides His life as the example for us to follow. There is no other example that warrants our emulation. It is Jesus' humanity that helps us to see and understand what being His disciple means. But it is His divinity that empowers us to live as one. Only Jesus can serve as our example and He can only do so if we are willing to make Him our Master.

Dr. Richard Tompkins