What if Jesus really is who He said He was? For a moment here let’s stop and think about who Christ claimed to be. Especially those who see Him only as a great teacher or great man. Or even those who are agnostic or atheist. Just suppose that everything He said and did was true? Where would that leave you? Where would your own personal truths stand? Be open-minded and just think of the possibility.
Consider this, for the past 2,000 years, Jesus Christ has been named as the founder of one of the world’s largest religions, Catholicism. Most won’t deny that since all other churches that branched off on their own, beginning in 1517 with Martin Luther, know that they cannot historically lay claim to Christ as their founder since their churches were all founded well after His death. So there must be some merit to His claims even though there are still many who just view Him as a provocative teacher and a great moral example.
However, if we take a careful review of history, it doesn’t give us the actual luxury of considering Jesus as just a great teacher or a good moral example for people to follow. Because historically, if Jesus was not really who He claimed to be then the options that are offered to us would be extremely limited. In fact, there would simply be two logical options:
- He really is who He said He was
- .He was an evil or deluded man.
Historically it has been written that Jesus laid claim to being divine. John points this out in his writings in the New Testament. He was often confronted by the religious leaders of the time and there often were many heated debates on this topic. He outraged religious leaders by claiming to know God in a way that they did not know God. Jesus is quoted as saying “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was ever born, I AM!” When He spoke those words the religious leaders immediately picked up stones to throw at Him. They did this because they knew exactly what He meant by those words. Jesus claimed to be a deity and this is something that utterly enraged the religious leaders of the time.
These men knew very well what “I AM” meant. Because this was the name that God called Himself when He spoke to Moses through the burning bush. They considered what Jesus had said as blasphemy
and in Jewish law that was a crime punishable by death.
Matthew, Luke, and Mark all write about Jesus asking His disciples “Who do people say that I, the Son of Man is? Who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!” In return, Jesus affirmed Peter’s bold statement.
Through His ministry, Jesus never wavered on His claims of who He was. Even when he was interrogated after His arrest and was questioned by the high priests “I demand in the name of the living God, tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God!” Jesus simply replied “You have said it. And in the future, you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven!” This so enraged the priest that he tore his clothing to show his horror in that
statement and cried out “Blasphemy!” So, why would a man with such deep Jewish roots such as Jesus remain steadfast in His claims of being the Son of God? Again, was it true or was He just deluded?
Consider this, for example, of all the founders of the different religions in this world there has only been
ONE to have ever claimed to be God and the one person was Jesus Christ! Some might say, “So if his claims are true, where is the proof? What evidence is there to support his claims of being God incarnate instead of just a great spiritual leader?” (Incarnate = God became man).
The New Testament writings of people such as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John give us a variety of perspectives about the life of Jesus Christ. They also all share the same conclusion that there is no explanation for who Jesus was except for who He claimed to be. They all agreed with all the following:
- There were miracles of physical healing – He healed a man with a terrible skin disease, reversed paralysis, cured the blind and the deaf.
- There were miracles of nature – He turned water into wine, multiplied bread and fish on more than one occasion stilled the storm on the Sea of Galilee and He walked on water.
- There were miracles of resurrection – He was seen to raise the dead daughter of a religious leader, a widow’s dead son and his friend Lazarus.
Of course, skeptics will try and challenge these miracles and say they run counter to empirical science and so they have to be impossible. Skeptics or not, the miracles were recorded by those who saw them. In fact, the news of His miracles is the reason why people flocked to Him from all over. Even King Herod wanted to see Jesus perform one of His miracles that he had heard so much about.
So, if the miracles were real, then they could only happen if the person, Jesus in question here, were capable of truly having supernatural powers in order to perform supernatural acts. So, according to those who wrote about them, Jesus must have been far more than a mere mortal man.
But then again the critics will try to back their claims by saying that miracles of this nature simply are impossible and that the claims in the Bible are just extravagant claims that were added at a later time. However, if you let yourself have an open mind, we truly must admit that the origin of life itself really seems quite impossible without a causal agent, something or someone must have planned it all. With a truly open mind, can you really and truthfully say that the creation of life just happens with no rhyme or reason? So, if there is a possibility of a “grand designer” of the universe, why is it so difficult to
believe that this same grand designer chose to come to us in human form?
Jesus Claimed to be the Promised Savior
In every single one of the four Gospel records, we are told about Jesus repeatedly talking about what His mission was all about. When His popularity began to rise, the religious leaders started to worry about Him and all of His radical and bold claims. This was around the same time that Jesus started telling His disciples that He was going to have to return to Jerusalem to die. Even though His followers didn’t believe it nor did they want to let it happen and would try to convince Him not to follow through with this, He did return to Jerusalem where He would be completely rejected by the national leaders and then be crucified for His claims of being the Savior of the world, the King, the Messiah of the Jews
and the whole world.
Even His followers didn’t understand the impact of what Christ had decided to do until after His execution. They didn’t even understand the words of John the Baptist three years earlier “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” until after Christ died on the cross.
The Jewish faith for thousands of years contained in their religious laws required the death of an innocent animal on their altars in order to wash away the sins of the people in the eyes of their God and all during these times there were prophets that told them that they needed to prepare for the time when God would send the Messiah who would, in the end, bear the sin of all of fallen humanity. But the meaning of this Suffering Savior was never understood until Jesus died.
Even when John shouted out to all who Jesus was when he first saw him, He did not contradict the words of John the Baptist. With an open mind, we can see that Jesus truly believed that He was going to be the sacrificial lamb that the prophets of old spoke about.
According to hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses, Christ really did die and three days later He left the tomb He was in, alive and not dead, nor stolen from the tomb. Consider the following:
1. Historians all acknowledge that Christ was a real person who gained a lot of renown in the 1st century
Israel as a healer and a teacher.
2. Historians also acknowledge that Christ did die at the hands of religious leaders and the Romans.
3. The record in the Bible also tells us that Jesus was also seen alive by more than 500 people after He had died and been taken down from the cross.
4. There are dozens of Old Testament prophecies that point to the crucifixion as well as the resurrection
of the Savior.
5. If you read the Gospels in the New Testament there are claims that when Jesus was resurrected the first person He appeared to was Mary Magdalene. However, it’s a historical fact that women were not considered credible sources or witnesses in the Jewish court of law. So, this being a historical fact, why would the writers of the Gospels, all of which were men, report that it was a woman who first saw the risen Christ and not just says it was men that first saw Him?
6. When Jesus was first arrested all of His disciples ran away in fear for their own lives and let’s not forget Peter who vehemently denied knowing Jesus later that same night. With that being said, why is it then that years later, 10 of these same fearful followers of Jesus would be martyred for their strong faith in the resurrected Christ? What could it have been then that changed their fear to courage, unless they truly knew that the resurrection of Jesus had been in fact true and they saw Him with their own eyes?
When it comes down to the options of whether or not you believe Jesus was who He said He was, He doesn’t make it easy for anyone as He was quoted as saying “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.” With that bold statement, He doesn’t give us the luxury of choosing the option that He was just a really good teacher and moral model.
C.S. Lewis, once an atheist turned Catholic/Christian had this to say:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I am ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg or else He would be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can
spit at Him and kill Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
No matter what one might believe, the truth is that Jesus had a profound effect on the people of His time who were willing to die for Him and He had an effect on the entire course of our human history. So how does just a mere man have such an effect on us still, 2,000 years later? As we continue, continue to have an open mind to all of this.
Think about it, what if Jesus really is the Creator of all things?
Every December quite a large part of our world that we live in celebrates the birth of the Son of God. However, there are so many gift givers out there that truly don’t appreciate the true significance of the most popular Christian holiday and often even forget about the event that is behind it all. Also, a lot of people who celebrate Christmas may not even realize that Jesus was born into our sinful world to be “the visible image of the invisible God.”
Paul wrote in Colossians 1:16-17:
“For through him, God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we
can see and the things we can’t see, such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”
So, who is this that created the heavens and the earth? He is the visible image of our invisible God, so if Jesus’ claims are true, then He is the God that we can see. Paul goes onto to say this about Jesus “He is his dear Son.” If we are to believe the Bible then, Jesus is not just the Son of God but He is also the Creator of all.
More Scripture points to this:
“In the beginning, the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him.” (John 1:1-3)
“But for us, there is one God, the Father, by whom all things were created, and for whom we live. And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:6)
“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son, he created the universe.” (Hebrews 1:1 2)
So, the Bible claims that the Creator is the One who came to all of us in the person that we know and call Jesus.
The wondrous idea that the God of creation was among us is really more important than any of us can actually absorb. So, if this is true, then we can only begin to scratch the surface of the literal thought of this little infant wrapped in swaddling clothes in a crude stable abode was truly our Creator. However, this is what the Bible tells us and it’s what has been handed down to us for 2,000 years.
We are told this:
God was in a human body. This has to be the most astounding miracle of them all in history. God became a man. This is what the amazing reality of Christmas really is about. That God came to the world He created in human flesh!
God lived among us. Let’s face it, when God sent His only Son in human form, Jesus did not come just to stand on the sidelines and be an observer. Instead, He came to experience it to the full. He walked on the very ground that He had created.
God showed His goodness to us. Jesus didn’t just come to us as that small child we hear about on Christmas to live a quiet and secluded life. He was not born into an easy life either, but He could have but chose not to. Instead, He lived on this earth experiencing all the different conditions of man, all the sufferings and all the temptations that we all face on a daily basis.
How God Showed His Love
John wrote telling us this: “God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him.” (1 John 4:9)
Other ways that He has shown His love for us
He released us from our sins by dying in our place. This is what Hebrews 2:9 leads us to believe. “What we do see is Jesus, who was given a position ‘a little lower than the angels’; and because he suffered death for us, he is now ‘crowned with glory and honor.’ Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.”
If we look closely at what the Bible says it is not God who has abandoned us but it is us who have abandoned God.
If God abandoned us, then why was it he went to the cross and died for our sins so that we could be made one again with God? “This is real love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
With an open mind, we can see just how powerful of a thought that is. The Creator of all, hung on a cross, dying for people who were basically living on “death row”. He was willing to give up His life so that others could live not on their own merits but by the merits of the One who is perfect and died on their behalf.
If we are to believe that Jesus is truly who He claimed to be and not some raving lunatic willing to die for nothing then we also need to believe:
“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory” (Romans 5:1-2)
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16)
If you can open your mind to these thoughts, then you might see that the Creator of all, died for our sins to help bring all of us back into a loving relationship with Him, the one that was broken and lost in Eden. This rings true in the words of Jesus Himself “The Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10)
So, Can it Be True That the Creator of All Cares for Us?
As human beings, we all are desperate for a relationship that offers to meet our needs. We all want to give and receive love, to experience and share intimacy, to care for and to be cared for. We all want to experience the joy of someone’s full attention. But sadly too many of us go through life without ever finding that kind of satisfying relationship.
Continuing to have an open mind. It’s not that we so much fail to find that kind of relationship, but it’s more that we idealize such a relationship and makes it difficult to find what we need. This is because we have such a deep longing inside that leaves us feeling empty and that often is a yearning for a closer relationship with our Creator and we just are unaware of the fact that this is what we are truly searching for.
The Bible states that Jesus was God’s plan to help restore our relationship with Him. Jesus was and is
the bridge that can close the gap that mankind experiences in their relationship with the One that
created them. It is only by crossing this bridge and seeking God can one find their way. This means that
when one begins searching for Him, He will find us.
C.S. Lewis said when he looked back at his conversion and his journey in faith that he discovered that “God closed in on me.” He also said “Amiable agnostics will talk cheerfully about man’s search for God. To me, as I then was; they might as well have talked about the mouse’s search for a cat.”
So, yes, the seeking for a higher power, the Creator, is real, but in reality, who is seeking whom? Truth be known it is the Creator that is seeking you, me, all of us! This is because as the Creator, everything belongs to Him and He wants to reclaim all that He has made.
Believer or Not What Does All of This Mean for You?
In the middle of all of our searching for a real and truly loving relationship, it can often feel like we are chasing something that is blowing in the wind. However, the Bible is there to assure us that the Creator of this universe and all that’s in it cared so much for us and still does that He came seeking us through His Son, Jesus.
Look around, we live in a world that is filled with loneliness, despair, and rejection, but the Bible is something that offers us all hope and encouragement.
The American astronaut Guy Gardner once said when reflecting on the wonders that he saw in space:
“It’s very hard to think this must have happened by chance. You realize at the same time that there had
to be a Master Designer, a Creator of this planet. And to me that makes life all the more special. Because that tells me that instead of me being something that just came along in the course of time to live and die, that instead of a meaningless existence, I have Someone, who cares for me, who has made me and cares about me.”
So, What if it is True?
What if Jesus really is the One who He claimed to be all those years ago? What if it’s really true that the Creator really does care for us? This then would mean that everything now depends on our own willingness to put our trust in Him. If Jesus truly is God made flesh, this then means that without Him we will never know the reality of true joy, true meaning, or true peace in our lives. So, if it’s really true we then must carefully consider what the Bible has to say:
“For this is how God loved the world. He gave His one and only Son so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
“What have you got to lose, and tell me why you’re so afraid? What have you got to lose, what have you got to lose? Think of all you have to gain!” (Third Day)