“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

2.0 Who is Jesus of Nazareth?

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)

This Jesus of Nazareth. At the close of the previous chapter on the great Day of Judgment, we ended with a promise of hope to come – so that we can stand before God on that Day of Judgment, holy and blameless, and be declared “NOT GUILTY” of sin. I also indicated that we would be moving from a position of bondage under sin, suffering, and death towards redemption and eternal life. We read in Scripture that God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” so that none are lost in judgment, and that He has provided a way for everyone to obtain eternal life through a “Savior”:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” – Luke 2:10-14

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:3-4

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” – John 5:24-29

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.  – John 6:47

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:14-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:1-5

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. – Ephesians 1:18-21

So, to proceed further, we must first know Who this “Son of God,” this “Son of Man,” this “Eternal Father,” this “Prince of Peace,” this “Savior,” this “Immanuel,” this “Redeemer,” this “Word,” and this “Christ” is. Scripture says that we must “believe in Him” to be forgiven of our sins and stand righteous (blameless, morally pure, free from guilt or sin, declared “not guilty” of sin, justifiable) before God on the great Day of Judgment and saved to eternal life. The Bible tells us that this “Son of God” is Jesus Christ – “Jesus of Nazareth.” Of course, there are many opinions, myths, and man-made distortions about who Jesus was (and still is), but we will give the truth as stated in Scripture. Please also note that this chapter’s title doesn’t say “Who Was Jesus,” for He is alive this very day! Yes, He lives! Let’s learn more about Him.

“Jesus of Nazareth,” “the Christ of God,” is a man who lived approximately 2000 years ago. Christ is not His last name; it is a title meaning “anointed one,” “anointed by God,” or “the Messiah.” Christ and anointed are the same word in Greek and the same as “messiach” or “Messiah” in Hebrew. Jesus (Ἰησοῦς, Iésous) is the transliteration of the Greek name Joshua (Jehoshua, Yeshua) in English. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.

Jesus’ genealogy is given in the books of Matthew and Luke. Luke traces His legal genealogy back to Adam (“the first man”) on His father’s side (Joseph), while Matthew traces His biological genealogy back to Abraham on His mother’s side (Mary). Jesus was a Jew; He was born and lived under Mosaic law – the Old Testament law given through Moses to Israel and the Jews after they were brought out of bondage (slavery) in Egypt by God.

Scripture says Jesus was supernaturally born of “a virgin” (Mary), that He lived a holy, pure, and sinless life, and that He died on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for your sins, indeed, for the sins of all who choose to call on His name! Scripture says that God raised Him to life after three (3) days and that He [Jesus] is right now “seated at the right hand of God [the Father]” in heaven, ruling as King in His kingdom.

His life was documented and confirmed by many eyewitnesses (the twelve disciples and many others) who testified and wrote as to what they saw, heard, and experienced, many living with Him during His three-year ministry on earth. Even skeptics and atheists concede that there is overwhelming historical evidence that the man “Jesus of Nazareth” did indeed live exactly as told in Scripture.

Jesus Christ was “God manifest in the flesh,” God incarnate – fully man but also fully God. He is our Lord and Savior and our King, and it is through Him, and Him alone, that we have salvation:

And the Word [Jesus] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” – Matthew 16:13-16

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:8-12

Opening his mouth, Peter said:

“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)—you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” – Acts 10:34-43

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord… – Romans 1:1-4

And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. – 1 John 5:11-13

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. – 1 John 5:20

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

H.M. Riggle writes in The Christian Church: Its Rise and Progress: [1]

The Morning Light Is Breaking.

While the world was shrouded in darkness, and no prophet’s voice could be heard; while Israel, with a few individual exceptions, was engulfed in sin and idolatry, forsaken of God; while the then known world was under the rule of pagan Rome, and heathenism held sway in the hearts of men everywhere—suddenly there appeared “one crying in the wilderness” and saying, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” After four hundred long years of silence, a prophet appeared, yea, more than a prophet. John, the looked-for Elias, the harbinger of a new day, was now preparing the way for Messiah to begin His ministry. “There was a man sent from God whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the light” John 1:6-7. Of John and his work, the angel told Zacharias this: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” Luke 1:16-17. Zacharias said of him, “And thou, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” Luke 1:76-77.

This was the dawning of a new day, the breaking forth of earth’s most glorious day—the day of salvation. The prophets foresaw this, and spoke of it as a clear morning. Isaiah foretold it in these words: “The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come” Isa. 21:11-12. Dumah signifies silence. This was the time of silence from Malachi to Christ. The inquirer asks, “What of the night?” namely, What time of night is it? The watchman cried, “The morning cometh.” This morning was the clear morning of the Christian era. “For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” Isa. 60:2-3. This time of darkness was the night of Judaism. But it was foreseen that the Lord could arise and that His glory would be seen. This refers to the ushering in of the better dispensation. The coming of Christ was to be a beautiful sunrise, and the Gentiles were to come to the brightness of His rising. “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves in the stall” Mal. 4:2.

The Pristine Glory—The Ushering in of a Clear Day. 

In fulfillment of these predictions, Christ came the Sun of righteousness, and ushered in a clear day. “Weeping may endure for a night; but joy cometh in the morning.” Nineteen centuries ago a babe was born in the stable of an inn, in the Roman province of Judea. At this time Caesar Augustus was an absolute sovereign. With unlimited power, he ruled over three hundred millions of people, comprising the Roman empire. Such power no mortal ever swayed before. Little did this proud ruler of all the world then known dream, as he sat upon his throne in gorgeous apparel, that a newborn Babe who was slumbering in a manger, in the town of Bethlehem, in far-off Syria, and whose infant cries were mingled with the braying of donkeys, the lowing of cattle, and the bleating of goats—little, I say, did this mighty sovereign dream that this lowly infant was destined to establish a religion and kingdom before which all the glory and power of the proud Caesars would fade away. But, dear reader, it was so. At the birth of that Babe the bells of heaven rang and all the angels worshiped. The glad news was at once wafted from heaven to earth that this was the “Saviour, . . . Christ the Lord.” Shepherds on the Judean hills heard the angels sing the glad refrain, “Glory to God in the highest.”

“Through the tender mercy of our God; thereby the dayspring [sunrising, margin] from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” Luke 1:78-79. The advent of the Saviour was a beautiful sunrising. “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” Matt. 4:16. Christ Himself was that Light. He said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Christ was not the light of one nation only, Israel, but the Light of “the world.” Yes, He was the “salvation” which God “hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:25-32). “For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth” Acts 13:47.

Surely this was a glad morning to the inhabitants of earth, who for long centuries had sat enshrouded in the night of sin. Brilliant, transplendent light broke forth in the earth, salvation waters began to flow, and thousands were made to rejoice in a Redeemer’s love. They could say, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” Rom. 13:12. The gospel message was like “a light that shineth in a dark place”; and as people accepted it, Christ entered into their lives, like a beautiful “day-dawn” and “day-star” (2 Pet. 1:19). Oh, how beautiful, clear, and bright was the dawning of the gospel day!

The gospel of salvation that Christ preached penetrated the dark places of sin and idolatry, like sun-rays driving back the darkness of night. Wickedness in the hearts and lives of men gave way to grace and truth.

BIBLE PROPHECY FORETOLD JESUS

The Bible contains some 300+ prophecies (future predictions) about Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. These prophecies were recorded (written down in Scripture) long before Christ was born – in some cases, many hundreds of years prior. And every single prophecy was fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus even said that “it is those very Scriptures [of the Old Testament] that testify about Me.” A few of these prophecies are listed here:

A Coming Prince, on the Throne of David:

For a child [Jesus] will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace,
On the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness
From then on and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:6-7

Born in Bethlehem:

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” – Micah 5:2

Born of a Virgin:

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Given an Eternal Kingdom:

“I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
“And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.” – Daniel 7:13-14

Pierced Through for our Transgressions (with details):

Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors. – Isaiah 53:1-12

He Would Heal the Broken and Sick:

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:1-3

“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture, and they will be fruitful and multiply. I will also raise up shepherds over them and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
“In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
‘The Lord our righteousness.’” – Jeremiah 23:3-6

Riding on the Foal of a Donkey:

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey. – Zechariah 9:9

John the Baptist would precede Him (in the spirit and power of Elijah):

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.” – Malachi 4:5

He Would be Rejected:

The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief corner stone.
This is the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O Lord, do save, we beseech You;
O Lord, we beseech You, do send prosperity!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord;
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God, and He has given us light;
Bind the festival sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I give thanks to You;
You are my God, I extol You.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting. – Psalm 118:22-29

He Would be Crucified (His Garments divided, etc.):

I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me in the dust of death.
For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots. – Psalm 22:14-18

He Would be Scourged:

I gave My back to those who strike Me,
And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;
I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. – Isaiah 50:6

None of His bones would be broken (on the cross):

He protects all his bones,

Not one of them is broken. – Psalm 34:20

It is by and through these fulfilled prophecies that we know:

  1. The Bible is true and inspired of God, and that
  2. Jesus is, in fact, the “Messiah,” the “Savior,” the “anointed one of God,” the “Redeemer,” and “the [spotless] Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world,” and that
  3. Jesus was “God manifest in the flesh” who “dwelled among us” (covered in an upcoming chapter)

The book Science Speaks by Peter Stoner lists many of these prophecies and calculates the odds that someone could have accidentally fulfilled just a subset of them is 1 in 5.76 x 1059! When written out, we get a better realization of just how astronomically large that number is: 1 in 5,760,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000[2]

To further emphasize just how enormous that number is, here are some comparisons. The number of grains of sand in the world is estimated to be 7.5 x 1018. And the total number of stars in the entire universe is estimated to be 7 x 1022. The total number of people who have ever lived on Earth is estimated to be about 100 billion (give or take a few billion). Let’s be wildly and unrealistically conservative and error on the side of caution and multiply the number of people who have ever lived by a factor of 1,000 (to make sure we are not underestimating the odds), which gives us 100,000,000,000,000 or 1 x 1014 people that have lived on Earth over all time. So even if you had a million times a billion times a trillion planet Earths, the odds that in all of those one person would have been born by chance and fulfilled (even partially) the prophecies of Jesus are effectively zero. Jesus wasn’t an accident.

The odds of an ant lifting up the Sun and putting it on its back are about the same as someone being born by chance matching and fulfilling the prophecies that are foretold concerning Jesus in the Bible: namely zero. So, His life was not by chance, or random, or a lucky set of coincidences; no, Scripture says that “He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God,” appearing “when the fullness of time came” and “while we were still helpless [in sin], at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.”

Furthermore, God is not asking us to “blindly believe” in Jesus without giving us overwhelming proof, evidence, and eyewitness testimony that He was, in fact, “the Son of God.” God wants us to come to a fully rational, conscious, and informed decision to believe in Jesus based on hard evidence about his birth, life, death, and resurrection. The many miracles He performed were done to demonstrate and testify that He was indeed “the Son of God” – God in the flesh. If all of this evidence and eyewitness testimony presented today in an unbiased court of law as evidence in even the most severe of capital punishment cases, the preponderance of the evidence would support a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus of Nazareth did, in fact, live, die and was resurrected as told in Scripture.

You simply have to look at the evidence without a preconceived bias against “religion” and against Jesus. Those who deny Jesus do so against the preponderance of the evidence – evidence that any jury in the world would say IS beyond a reasonable doubt! Even many reputable secular scholars (i.e., those who don’t believe the Bible) concede and admit that Jesus, the man, did exist as the Bible claims.

[On a side note: The Bible itself is also the most highly documented, recorded, and confirmed book in history, many times more than other widely accepted books such as Homer’s Iliad, for example, with more fragments and originals still present today than any other work ever written – and not just by a little bit, but by a wide margin. The accuracy and agreement/consistency among the widely found biblical fragments has also been stunning. You can read up on this subject yourself, as much research is available on this topic.]

JESUS HAS THE AUTHORITY TO FORGIVE SIN

As will be explained more in the next chapter, Jesus did declare that He is God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and that “all authority” was given Him by God the Father to forgive sins. It is therefore only through Jesus that forgiveness of sins must be obtained and how all men are saved:

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18

And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” – John 14:6

For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son. – John 5:22

For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. – 1 Timothy 2:5-7

Additionally, recall from the previous chapter that Jesus will be your judge on the great Day of Judgment, for He [God] has given all judgment to the Son.” Why? Because He became a man unto death, and He was tempted in all things as we are, so he knows what we have gone through here in this fallen world, and yet He remained without sin unto death. This makes Him the only “mediator” (between man and God) and also a fair and impartial judge. He was victorious over sin and death and the power of the Devil – He defeated sin, Satan, and death at the cross for us!

Jesus was born under the Old Testament’s Mosaic Law and perfectly “fulfilled” that Law. He lived a perfect, sinless (morally pure) life in obedience to God, even “obedient to the point of death: death on a cross,” being crucified as a substitutionary atonement (an atoning sacrifice, payment) for your sins.

THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD

Know that when you see (read about) Jesus, you are seeing (reading about) God:

He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. – Colossians 1:15-16

What you see Jesus is like from reading Scripture is also exactly what God is like. The kindness, compassion, patience, healing, loving, caring, full of grace, slowness to anger, with extreme restraint and temperance person that Jesus was, and is, is also your God. God is not a God of evil, deception, trickery, lying, or deceit; in fact, no evil, sin, or deceit is found in Him. God is 100% holy, just, and pure.

Please also notice in Scripture how Jesus didn’t use force or coerce anyone to follow Him, nor does God force anyone to follow Him. Sure, there are consequences for disobeying God, but the choice is yours. God doesn’t want robots obeying out of rote command, for that is not love and “God is love.” He wants those who come to Him to do so freely of their own choice, out of their own free will, and out of love for Him. True love cannot be commanded, nor coerced, from anyone.

IN SUMMARY

In summary:

  • God became flesh in the man Jesus Christ who was fully God while also fully man,
  • He was supernaturally born of “a virgin” (Mary) through the power of the Holy Spirit,
  • He came humbly, born not in a palace but in “a manger,” 
  • He came not to the religious or political rulers/elites of the day but to people just like you and me: the sinners and the lost,
  • He drew people not by His appearance (i.e., physical attraction) but by the message of His Word,
  • He was “obedient to the point of death: death on a cross,”
  • “He was pierced for our offenses [transgressions, sins],”
  • He took our sins on Him (“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”),
  • “He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” and
  • He is right now “seated at the right hand of God [the Father]” in heaven, ruling as King in His kingdom,
  • He has existed from eternity past to eternity future, the “first and the last,” the “alpha and omega,” the great “I AM,”
  • He walked among us and was “tempted in all things just as we are so He can empathize/sympathize with us, so that He can mediate for us now in heaven before God (He is the “one [only] mediator between God and men”), and also so He can be (and will be) a completely fair and righteous Judge on the Day of Judgment, and that
  • He will judge all mankind on the great Day of Judgment (“For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son”). He is, in fact, both Judge and also your attorney if you choose Him to be! Your court victory can be certain even before trial begins – that is the “good news” of the gospel!

He was “declared [by God to be] the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness” and also by supernatural miracles:

  • He made wine from water,
  • He healed the sick (blind, lame, deaf, lepers, etc.),
  • He commanded nature (walked on water, calmed the storm, etc.),
  • He fed thousands of people with only a small loaf of bread and fish (several times), and
  • He raised people from the dead

I can only scratch the surface in this book about who Jesus the man was, but it is all written in the Bible. All I ask is that you evaluate the evidence with an unbiased and logical mind, free from any preconceived notions against Jesus. It is only a preconceived bias against God, and against religion, along with a willful rebellion and prideful refusal to submit to your Creator, that causes one not to see the logical verdict on this matter.

Now many today also claim: “Ok, I will grant you that Jesus existed as the man, but Jesus was simply a ‘good moral person’ or a ‘good teacher’.” And others will say that He didn‘t really claim to be God. Such claims are in contradiction to Scripture, which is clear that He declared Himself to be “the Son of God” and also God Himself (“I AM”). Scripture also declares that Christ has “no beginning, and no end”; in other words, He is immortal – and only God is immortal. Scripture also says that “all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being”; He was there “in the beginning.” It is only through Christ that you can be saved from the judgment to come and be saved to eternal life, for only God can forgive sins, and He has told us how we must approach Him (through His Son).

Therefore, in the next chapter, we will look further at this most important question: Was (is) Jesus (the man) really God in the flesh?

FALSE TEACHING(S) YOU WILL ENCOUNTER:

  • Jesus is just a mythical figure, not a real person
  • Jesus was just a “good moral person,” but not God
  • Atheism (there is no God)
  • The Bible is Simply fictional “myths, folklore, and poetry”

RELATED SCRIPTURE:

For He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:20-21

John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One [Jesus] is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” – Luke 3:16

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “LordGod with us.” – Matthew 1:18-23

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29

John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him [Jesus]. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” – John 1:32-34

After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him [Jesus], and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17

In Him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:4-5

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” – John 10:27-29

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. – Hebrews 2:14-15

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table. But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, ”Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” – Matthew 26:6-13

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:8-11

Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him [Jesus]. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. – John 19:1-3

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” – John 19:17-19

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. – 1 Peter 3:18

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8

He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless [without sin], the blood of Christ. – 1 Peter 1:17-19

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. – 1 John 2:1-2

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

…”Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He [Jesus] has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” – Luke 24:5b-7

…and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:14-17

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” – John 14:1-3

And after He had said these things, He [Jesus] was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:9-11

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-28

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. – 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” – John 8:12

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He [Jesus] was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory. – 1 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

…through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. – 1 Peter 3:21b-22

Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He [Jesus], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. – Hebrews 10:11-13

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. – Hebrews 1:1-4

[1] Riggle, H.M. (1912), The Christian Church, Its Rise and Progress, (The Gospel Trumpet Company), Prestonsburg KY.

[2] Stoner, Peter and Newman, Robert C., Science Speaks, The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, 1969/1976.

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