Who Is Jesus?
Jesus is the most influential man that has ever lived. People through the centuries have talked about him, written about him, preached about him, and even died for him. How could he have such a profound and far-reaching impact on the whole world?
In his days, Jesus performed miracles that no one had even heard of. He fed thousands of people with five loaves of bread and two fish. He walked on the sea. He calmed the storm. He opened the eyes of the blind, made the lame walk, and even raised the dead to life. Where did his supernatural power come from?
Jesus promised his believers lasting spiritual fulfillment. He assured his followers that they would always have peace in their hearts. He even told the people that the only way to receive eternal life was to believe and follow him. What gave him the authority to offer these promises?
God Became Flesh
The fact is that Jesus was not just a man; he was God who became man. He was not just a historical figure; he is the everlasting and almighty Creator. He was not just a religious leader; he is Lord and Savior.
Although Jesus was born at a point in history, he has always existed even before his entry into this world. He has no beginning or end. He said of himself, "I am the Alpha and the Omega*, the first and the last, the beginning and the end" (Revelation 22:13).
When we talk about Jesus, therefore, we must not only think of him as someone who lived two thousand years ago in the land of Palestine. Jesus is the everlasting God, who humbly became a man in order to save us into his eternal kingdom. So to understand the life and work of the Jesus in history, we need to first turn our attention to Jesus the eternal God, the maker and ruler of all things.
* Alpha and Omega are the first and last alphabets, respectively, in the Greek language.
Lord of Heaven and Earth
The God that we ought to believe in is not the invention of our mind. The many gods that human beings worship are only man-made. We must search and worship the true God because he made us and provides for our needs, and he is the King and Judge to whom we all will have to answer to.
The Bible explains to us who the true God is and how he relates to each of us: "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being'" (Acts 17:24-28 NIV).
Jesus is this only true God. As the Bible says, "in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:16-17). Therefore, to worship the Lord of heaven and earth means to believe and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.
God surpasses the physical realm. The Bible says, "God is spirit" (John 4:24). Because we live in a physical universe, we cannot see or touch God.
God is self-existent and eternal. He does not have a beginning or an end. The Lord God declared, "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god" (Isaiah 44:6). No one ever brought God into being. He is the only God who made all things and gave life to every living creature.
As the Creator and Master of everything in existence, God is all-present, all-powerful, and all-knowing. His Spirit pervades the entire universe. He sustains and rules over the whole creation with his almighty power. He also knows and sees everything, including the intentions of our hearts.
God is holy. His nature is the absolute moral standard. There is nothing wicked in him. In fact, he hates all evil. He expects all human beings, who have the ability to make moral choices, to imitate his divine nature.
God is true. He does not lie. He does not change his rules on a whim. Whatever he says and does is trustworthy. We can rely on all his promises because he will never fail to keep any one of them.
God is just. He shows no partiality, but punishes the wicked and rewards the obedient. Everyone will have to give an account to God for their every deed before his judgment throne. He will condemn the wicked to eternal fire, and reward the obedient with eternal life.
God is loving. He cares deeply about us because we are his children. Although he is just, he still shows mercy and much patience when we disobey him, hoping that we would change, and he readily forgives us whenever we turn back to him. He knows and sympathizes with our weaknesses and pain. That is why he came to this world--to experience our weakness, to feel our pain, to bear the punishment for our sin, and to bring us back to himself.
Man's Problem: Sin
People through the ages have been searching for ways to fill the void or loneliness inside. Things such as health, fame, education, and romance can bring only temporary fulfillment. In search for more excitement or escape from problems, people turn to drugs, sex, alcohol, wild parties, violence, and many other such means. But instead of finding satisfaction, they face an even greater emptiness, with more and more problems such as broken families, suicides, and violent crimes.
A spiritual void is something neither material nor physical enjoyment can fill. The void that is inside every human being is the result of sin, a state of alienation from God. As much as we wish to find true happiness, we are not able because we have rejected God as our king.
More dreadful than the spiritual emptiness is the eternal separation from God. As sinners, we belong to the dominion of darkness and cannot enter the kingdom of God. Instead, when our days on earth end, we all have to suffer the torment of everlasting fire.
God's Answer: Jesus
God is not a supreme being who is always waiting to punish us for our sins. Nor does he just look at our problem from a distance with a sympathetic eye. He wants to share our sufferings and help us. He cares about what we are going through. Most importantly, he wants to deliver us from the dominion of darkness into his glorious kingdom.
So God put his love into action. To save us out of Satan's control, God had to pay a ransom for our sins with the life of someone who is completely sinless. Since no one is sinless except God alone, God himself came to the world in the flesh in order to lay down his own life for our sake. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
An Extraordinary Birth
Jesus' entrance into this world was most unusual. He was born of a virgin! The birth of Jesus itself set him apart from all other human beings.
As incredible as such birth is, God had already foretold of the virgin birth of Jesus through the prophet Isaiah hundreds of years before it took place. "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel*" (Isaiah 7:14).
Since Jesus is of divine origin, he did not descend from human ancestors through marriage. He was born of God, and was therefore called the Son of God. The Bible tells us that Mary was found to be with child through God's spirit. Through this miraculous birth, Jesus came to this world as the only sinless person who would ultimately lay down his life for the sins of mankind.
* Immanuel means God with us.
The Man Who Is God
Since God's Spirit is not limited by space or time, while Jesus walked on earth, he was also in heaven, and he still filled the universe. The same God took the roles of Lord and servant, Father and Son at the same time. Jesus is called the Son of God, yet he is actually the manifestation of the Father in human form. Thus the Lord Jesus said, "he who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Although Jesus is God, he shared in our humanity. He never committed sin, yet he did feel the lure of temptation. He spoke with authority, yet he humbly served others. He performed supernatural deeds, yet he also experienced hunger, thirst, weariness, and sorrow.
He Showed Us the Way
Being God himself, Jesus manifested God's nature in its fullness through his speech and deeds. He revealed God to us so that we may truly know God. "For in [Jesus] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" (Colossians 2:9). In Jesus, we see the true God who is perfectly just and loving.
Jesus lived among us and spoke to us in ways we could relate to. He offered healing, guidance, and consolation. He preached about the good news of the coming of God's kingdom. He also taught us how to live to please our Father in heaven and showed us the way back to God.
He Died on the Cross
Jesus is also called the "Christ," which means "the anointed one." God anointed Jesus to be King, Prophet, and Priest, to rule in the hearts of men, proclaim the message of salvation, and offer himself as a sacrifice for mankind.
Jesus' mission was to save humanity from sin. In order to do that, he died in our place. He was sentenced to be crucified to die a slow and painful death. Though he had the power to destroy the whole world, he willingly laid down his life. On the cross, he became a sinner, bearing the sin of the whole world and suffering God's rejection. Though we deserve to be punished, the Lord Jesus took up our punishment. Because he, the righteous, died for the ungodly, whoever believes in Jesus today may have eternal life. He is the bridge by which we may reach the shores of Heaven. He is the Savior of the world. Through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we can receive eternal life and escape the fires of hell.
The story of Jesus on the cross is the greatest story of love. It is the story of the Creator dying for his creatures. "God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). From kings to slaves, from the educated to the illiterate, from the old to the young, from developed countries to primitive tribes, this true story of love has been told over and over again, and it is still being told today.
He Now Lives
Jesus' power to save did not end at his death. Since he is God, the Lord of life, death could not confine him. He rose from the dead three days after his burial and then appeared to hundreds of his followers before ascending back to heaven. As he had promised, he sent us his Holy Spirit to be our personal Counselor, teaching us and transforming us to live according to God's will.
The disciples of Jesus preached that Jesus was alive. Many suffered persecution and martyrdom for proclaiming that Jesus was alive. Today, Christians throughout the world also confess that Jesus is alive. He is the glorious Lord of heaven, worthy of our praise and worship. Because he is alive, he still answers prayers, transforms lives, and gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.
Our Lord Jesus gives this beautiful promise to his believers: "because I live, you will live also" (John 14:19). By his resurrection and the renewal of his Spirit, we can now have a new life, a life full of meaning and hope, a life everlasting.
He Is the Only Way
Jesus Christ is the way to heaven. Having paid for our sins and overcome the power of evil, the Lord Jesus has opened the door of salvation for us. "There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). In him alone can we have true freedom, peace, joy, and hope.
We can never reach heaven by trusting in a religious leader or trying to be "nice people." Only those who walk in God's way can enter his kingdom. We must believe Jesus as our Lord and Savior and become his follower. There is no other way. The Lord Jesus declared plainly, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).
He Is Coming Again
Before going back to heaven, our Lord comforted his followers, "In my Father's house are many rooms... and when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also" (John 14:2,3). The Lord Jesus, who is in heaven now, will come back again. Whereas he came once as a humble servant to die for our sins, he will come again as King and Judge.
With justice he will exercise the final judgment. He will judge everyone according to what they have done, both good and evil. Even the dead will rise to stand before the throne to hear their sentence. Our Lord will banish the unbelieving and disobedient away from his presence into eternal fire and darkness, but will welcome the believers into his eternal kingdom. The physical universe will be consumed by fire. Then God will establish a new creation, a new heaven and new earth, for the saved ones (see 2 Peter 3:7-13).
Friends, God is the reason to live. Our goal in life is to live according to his will so that we may one day reunite with our heavenly Father. With this joyful hope, we eagerly wait for his coming, and we look forward to the heavenly kingdom, where we will be with our Lord forever.
Believe and trust in the Lord Jesus as your Lord and Savior*. He will save you; he will give you joy and peace in life; and he will receive you into his kingdom when you complete life's journey.
* To find out more about the good news of salvation, please request the other booklets in the series or contact the nearest True Jesus Church.
Appendix: Call on the Lord with a Prayer
Start your personal trust in the Lord Jesus with prayer. As you study the truth, learn to communicate with God through prayer. Though we cannot see God, prayer offered in faith allows us to experience him in marvelous ways.
Close your eyes to concentrate; kneel down as a gesture of humility. Begin your prayer by saying, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I pray." The Lord promised, "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son" (John 14:13). It is only by the name of Jesus Christ that we have the privilege to make a request to God. Therefore we need to pray in his name.
Then say, "Hallelujah, praise the Lord Jesus." "Hallelujah" means "praise the Lord." This is how the multitude in heaven worships God. "After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying, 'Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God'" (Revelation 19:1).
Prayer is a pouring out of your thoughts and feelings to God. Praise and thank him for giving you life and the chance to know him. Tell him your troubles and worries. "Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7).
Ask him to forgive you, teach you, and help you. Make a commitment to accept the gospel and obey Jesus as Lord. Ask God's Spirit to come into your heart and your life to be your Counselor. Thirst for God as you would thirst for water.
Open yourself up to God: "Lord, I want to receive you into my life and obey your will. Please guide me to know you more and strengthen me with your Spirit."
When you have finished your prayer, simply say "amen," an expression of trust that means "surely" or "may it be fulfilled."
God looks for sincerity. If you humbly pray to him from your heart as you praise him aloud with "Hallelujah," God, who examines your heart, will guide you and provide for your needs.