Christmas time has arrived. It begs the question, Who IS Jesus? Who is the babe in the manger that the ACLU and others would like to be hidden from our site. Let’s take a look.
Some say he’s a good man who came to teach us how to live. Some say He is God who condescended to come to earth as a man to save men from their offenses against God. If Jesus Christ referred to Himself as God incarnate, we have only three choices. He either is who he claimed to be or, as C.S. Lewis says, “He is on the level of a man who claimed to be a poached egg, or he was a liar, or he was something worse.”
The question is, did Jesus ever claim to be God? That’s the question isn’t it? “If He’s not God then He is just one of many on the plane of world religions, and Christianity has lost its dominant role in the world” says Alistair Begg of Truth for Life Ministries. Is there any evidence in the Holy Bible of Jesus making direct or indirect claims of being God?
Some of Jesus statements infer indirectly that He is God. “Follow Me, I am the Way the Truth and the Life no man comes to God the Father but through me, I am the Bread of Life, I am the good Shepherd, I am the Resurrection and the Life.” He claims the ability to meet every individual’s need for peace, security, forgiveness, and direction. That is BOLD.
In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes on false interpretations of the OT and corrects them:
You have heard statements such as: “Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment, “BUT I TELL” you that anyone angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:21-22)
Many other “but I TELL you” statements are found in Matthew 5: 27-28; 31-32; 43-44. What’s your point? He is saying, you know what the Bible tells you, but I’M telling you otherwise, I’m telling you more. He speaks with authority that the religious leaders would never dare to do. So who does HE think he is?
The I am statements are crucial. When Moses was being commissioned by God in Exodus 3:13-14, God the Father identified Himself in a certain and unusual way to Moses question.
“Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I shall say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” And God said to Moses, ” I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘ I AM has sent me to you.'”
The Jewish leaders and people were well aware of the statement God made to Moses. Consequently, the confrontation with the Jewish leaders after the healing at the pool of Bethesda was so powerful that they sought to kill Him. They knew exactly what he was saying. Jesus was, in their words, “making Himself equal to God.”
John 5:11-18 (NASB77)
16 And for this reason the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath.
17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”
18 For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God. “
A direct claim of diety. Jesus did nothing to correct their interpretation of what He said.
In His priestly prayer in John 17, he says in part “ And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.” BEFORE the world began. If he were mere man, that would be a stunning statement. It would be utter blasphemy and nonsense since He is addressing God the Father on equal terms.
When the soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Him, he asked “Who is it you want? Jesus of Nazareth was their reply. Jesus said, “I am he.” When He spoke, the group fell to the ground. The mere power of his voice, the voice that spoke the world into existence sends them to their backsides. The soldiers didn’t believe in Him. They weren’t playing His game. It was the very power of His being.
These were eye witnesses accounts recorded in the Gospels of the New Testament.
In his letter to the church of Philippi, the apostle Paul, a former persecutor of the church of Jesus Christ, writes this synopsis of Who Jesus is: Philippians 2:5-11 (NASB77) :
5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,
6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
9 Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth,
11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
John, the Beloved disciple and apostle of Christ records after the Revelation given to him on the Isle of Patmos, 22:8-9 (NASB77)
8 And I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.
9 And he •said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book; worship God.”
ONLY God is to be bowed to and worshipped. “Every Knee Should Bow” is ONLY for God Himself.
This was planned. All of this was planned before the foundation of the world was laid. A baby born to die. The purpose of the death, to die in the place of those who deserved it. Who pays the price? God is the judge who removes his robes, tells the guards to release the prisoner from his/her chains. He takes the prisoners place at the gallows so that justice and mercy can meet in one place, the cross. Only a perfect being can die and satisfy the judgment and rise again to eternal life and impact a life of those who trust the merciful act provided by their Creator, Judge and Savior. His name is Jesus. Isaiah calls him Emanuel, translated “God With Us.”
We have no options with Jesus. He is either a lunatic who went to a horrifying death for one man, Barabbas, a bad man telling lies, or the incarnate God man who came from eternity, took on flesh for the specific purpose to declare peace, mercy, and salvation to all who will believe. His GIFT to us.
Those are our only choices.
Merry Christmas—–2 Corinthians 9:15 (NASB77) Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!