Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Who Is Jesus Christ?

Who Is Jesus Christ? 

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."1

Almost 2,000 years ago when Caesar Augustus was ruling the vast Roman Empire, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem in very humble circumstances. Until he was 30 he was virtually unknown.

However, during a brief three-year public ministry, His impact was such that it changed the world—including the change of our calendar from B.C. to A.D.

H.G. Wells, the famous historian, once said about Christ: "I am not a believer. But I must confess, as an historian, this penniless creature from Galilee is irresistibly the center of history."

No other person ever made the stupendous claims that Jesus did. He claimed to be the Son of God, the promised Jewish Messiah, and the only way to God for all mankind. He claimed to have power to forgive sins and to give people eternal life. Above all, He claimed to be God, saying, "I and the Father [God] are one."2

Socrates once said, "Oh, that someone would arise, man or God, to show us God." Four hundred years later Christ came and claimed to be that person.

But was Jesus Christ the Son of God? If not, He would have been the greatest impostor who ever lived!

Lew Wallace, a distinguished general and literary genius, and Robert Ingersoll, a notable skeptic, agreed to write a book that would prove Christianity to be a myth. After two years of research, however, in some of the leading libraries of Europe and America in preparation for writing this book, Mr. Wallace had a transformation of attitude. He was only up to the second chapter when he fell to his knees and prayed, "My Lord and my God."

After studying the evidence, Wallace became convinced of the deity of Jesus Christ. He then wrote Ben Hur, one of the greatest novels ever written about the times of Christ. Later, Robert Ingersoll had this to say: "In using my speeches, do not use any assault I may have made on Christ, which I foolishly made in my early life." A similar thing happened to one of today's leading Christian authors and spokesmen, Josh McDowell. His outstanding book that supports Christianity, Evidence That Demands a Verdict, began as his attempt to deny Christianity.

As another has said, "You can speak of Jesus as prophet, holy man, teacher, or spiritual leader, and few will object. But speak of Him as Son of God, divine, of the same nature as [God] the Father, and people will line up to express their disapproval. A billion Muslims will say: "Prophet, yes. God, no!" Jews scattered around the world will say: "Teacher, yes. Messiah, no!" Some liberal Protestants and religionists of various stripes will say: "Exemplary man, yes. Divine, no!"

But as Jesus said to His disciples He also says to you and me, "Who do you say that I am?"

One's answer to that question will help determine his or her eternal destiny and that of every person alive today.

"From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."1

Jesus Christ is not the only religious leader who claimed to be God, but He is the only one who ever convinced a great portion of the world that He is. He is also the only leader who ever claimed that He would rise from death.2 According to historical evidence, He did. He was seen by the women who visited His tomb and found it empty, by the disciples, and by more than 500 other witnesses.3

Further evidence to support the deity of Christ is seen in the more than 300 prophecies concerning Him and His life that are found in the Bible and were written centuries before His birth.

For instance, 700 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem, Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem ... though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel."4

A thousand years before Christ's death, David predicted how He would die. "They have pierced My hands and My feet," he wrote.5 This happened at Christ's crucifixion. This is even more remarkable when considering that in David's time, death by crucifixion was unknown. This inhuman, torturous death was first used by the Persians centuries later.

David also predicted that Christ would be betrayed by a friend, that people would "throw dice" for His clothes, and that He would die with criminals.6 He also predicted the dying Savior's cry: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?"7 All of these predictions came true.

Six hundred years prior to Christ's coming, Daniel predicted when it would be. One hundred years later Zechariah told how Christ would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey; how He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver; and how this money would be used to buy a potter's field.8

All these predictions about Christ and many more—written hundreds of years before His coming—were fulfilled in detail, giving evidence to show that Jesus Christ was indeed God's promised Messiah—the Savior of the world.

When Jesus came, He asked His disciples, "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."9

This is the crucial question that each of us needs to answer. If Christ is who He claims to be, then our response to this question will determine our relationship to God for all eternity.

Jesus Himself said, "He who is not with Me is against Me."10 That is, unless we act on our belief and make a commitment to follow Christ in our everyday life, we are automatically against Him.

However, if you do believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and have never committed your life to Him, you can do so through a simple prayer of faith. Tell Christ that you believe He is the Son of God who died for your sins, and that you would like to become one of His true followers starting today. To assist you in doing this, click on "God's Invitation at: http://tinyurl.com/6k49w.

Suggested prayer for those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior: "Dear God, thank You for revealing Yourself in the heavens and all of nature; in Your Word, the Bible; and especially in and through Jesus Christ—the Son of the Living God-my Lord, My God, and my Savior. Help me always to live so my life will be a living example of Christ living in me. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."

 1. Matthew 16:21 (NIV).
 2. Matthew 16:21.
 3. Luke 24:13-43; 1 Corinthians 15:5-8.
 4. Micah 5:2 (NIV).
 5. Psalm 22:16 (NIV).
 6. Psalm 41:9; 22:18.
 7. Psalm 22:1 (NIV).
 8. Daniel 9:25-26; Zechariah 9:9-10; 11:12.
 9. Matthew 16:15-16 (NIV).
10. Luke 11:23, 4 (NIV).

NOTE: Adapted from the article, "Jesus Christ: God or Man?" by Dick Innes at: http://tinyurl.com/lu577


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