Who is This Jesus? He is God (Part 1)

Jesus can be a controversial figure for some people. For centuries the outside world has viewed him as little more than a nice person who taught people how to live, or worse, a complete lunatic who led people into his crazy way of life. As Christians, we see him much differently. We have been redeemed by him, loved by him, and bought with his precious blood. But often we fall into similar patterns of thought regarding Jesus. We believe that he is more than a mere man, but we treat him as little more than an example for us to follow as we live our daily lives. While he is most certainly the one who obeyed perfectly and modeled for us, he is so much more than that. And as we read the Gospels the question that most frequently arises is “who is this Jesus?” not “how can I follow his example?” Because in reality a close reading of the Gospel accounts shows us that no amount of our own attempts to be like him will produce results in our lives. Why? He is God, and we are not.  

I have been reading through the Gospels for the last couple of months, and our church is going through the Gospel of Mark on Sunday mornings, so these thoughts and ideas have been swirling through my mind a lot lately. In the next few posts I hope to get some of those ideas on paper (or Internet paper, so to speak). I want to get away from simply viewing Jesus as a good example for me to follow, and I hope you do to. Even though theologically we hold to right thoughts about him, we often functionally treat him as little more than this good teacher with some good ideas for happy living. So before we begin looking at all of the characteristics that describe Jesus, we must begin with his identity.

If the overarching question in the Gospels is “who is this Jesus?” then the consistent question that must first be answered is: “who is he at the core of his being?” Where does his identity come from? What enables him to do all of the miracles, signs, and wonders? How does he know the thoughts and actions of people before they even do them? How does he refrain from sin? Before we begin applying the actions of Jesus to our lives we must first stop and worship at the feet of who he is. He is God. Everything he does flows out of this very truth. Jesus Christ is God made flesh (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-20). He has always existed (John 9:58). He created the world by the word of his power. He is one with the Father (John 10:28-30; John 17:11). He is the second person of the Trinity. The same Jesus who walked this earth and shows up in the Gospels is the same Jesus who lives and reigns today at the Father’s right hand. Jesus Christ is God.

And it’s not just the biblical writers who attest to his deity. Jesus was pretty clear about it too (Luke 6:5; Luke 23:43; John 9:58; John 18:6—and countless other passages). In fact, it is one of the reasons he was crucified. The Jewish authorities believed him to be blaspheming God by claiming to be God. To them it was complete nonsense to declare himself to be God.

The fact that Jesus was (and is) God is further evidenced by his sovereignty and knowledge even while he walked this earth. Every attempt to overtake him was thwarted until the appointed time had come. And Jesus knew when that would happen (Matthew 26:45-46; John 18:4). His complete power and authority was shown even to the point where he drew his final breath (John 19:28-30), leading those who witnessed his crucifixion to declare that he was the Son of God (Matthew 27:54). Jesus bore our sins completely and fully, and gave himself over to death only when atonement was fully complete. He was sovereign over it all.

So what does all of this mean for us? It means that we worship and trust him as the perfect, holy, God made flesh. It means that no attempt to “be like Jesus” will be sufficient on our own. You can’t just simply follow him and do what he does—he is just too majestic and other than us. He deserves much more than mere imitators.  He deserves our full, life-long devotion. He is worthy of it all. Jesus Christ is God incarnate. He is perfect, holy, and good. And he is our Savior.

The Gospels should cause to ask repeatedly, “who is this Jesus?” First and foremost he is God, and the manifestations of his deity, as shown in the Gospels, are endless.