Who is Jesus Christ?
Notice: the question is, not 'Who was Jesus Christ?' If he was just a person who lived long ago, he might be interesting for historians to study, but he would mean little to people living today.
Rather the question we are raising is this: 'Who is Jesus?' We ask this question because the Bible says that with Jesus we are not talking about just a figure from ancient history. Following the Bible, Christians say that 'Jesus is Lord.' They have good reason to believe that Jesus is alive today. He lived on earth for a while; he died; and then came back from the dead. He returned to heaven, from where he rules as Lord of all.
You owe it to yourself to find out whether this story is true. Whether what the Bible says about Jesus is correct: that he 'died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve' (1Corinthians 15:3-5). And also that he will one day return from heaven to be the judge of all mankind, the living and the dead. If this is all true, then the implications for each one of us are stupendous, affecting not only this life but the life to come.
According to the Bible, there are a number of vital things that are true about Jesus:
1. He is a man
The 'Christmas story' each year reminds us that he was born in Bethlehem, in a stable. His mother was Mary, a woman whom God had chosen to carry him, and deliver him. He had no human father, because Mary had fallen pregnant by a miracle of God, but he was fully human. He grew and developed, he could suffer pain, he grew tired and needed to sleep. Like other people, he died, but in a way most cruel and unjust. And, according to the Bible, he was raised from the dead as a man with a material body able to eat and drink.
2. He is God.
The Christian Faith affirms that the Bible teaches that there is one God, and that this one God exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person is fully God, and each person is distinct from the other two.
When we read the accounts of Jesus' life and teaching in the four Gospels, we are confronted with a remarkable fact: Jesus clearly claimed to be God. Actually, he called himself the 'Son of God' and the Jews of his time knew what he meant: they knew that he was claiming to have the same nature as God, just as any son shares the (human) nature of his own father. This was why they plotted to kill him: they found this claim totally unacceptable.
3. He came to die
As you read the accounts of Jesus, you will soon discover that he had a clear sense of mission. He didn't just drift through life, then die: he was following a plan that had been formed in heaven before he came. It was a plan leading to his death by the most cruel method of execution known to the Roman Empire: crucifixion. And though everything in him revolted against such a death, he went through with it according to God's purpose.
But why did he come to die. The Bible says, 'The wages of sin is death' (Romans 6:23), but this man never sinned. He was at one with God. He loved God and loved his neighbour perfectly. You only need to read the Gospel accounts to sense the holiness, the compassion, the authority. No, he did not die for his own sins, but for the sins of others: the people whom he referred to as 'my sheep.' He said, 'I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. (John 10:14-15).
4. He came to save
His death was deliberate and planned, because it was to be a self-sacrifice to save others. He died as a substitute for his sheep, in their place, receiving the wages of sin that were due to them. And he rose triumphant from the grave, having defeated death and satisfied the demands of God's justice. He is both Lord and Saviour—Rescuer—of all his sheep.
The question for you and me is this: are we part of the flock that Jesus will save on the Day of Judgment? How can I be assured that I am? In John 10, Jesus said, 'My sheep hear my voice; they follow me.' In other words, they recognize his authority as the Shepherd, and they entrust themselves to his care for this life and the life to come.
Only such people will come safely through the Day of Judgment: they are only ones who will escape the punishment of everlasting separation from God in hell.
Our desire for you, the reader of this booklet, is that you should investigate the claims of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our prayer is that you will 'hear his voice' calling you through the pages of the Bible, and that you will turn from your sins and trust him.
May God bless you, and lead you to Jesus, who is the Saviour of all who put their trust in him.