|Who do you say
Who was Jesus?
"Who do people say I am?" (Mark 8:27) Jesus asked this question of his disciples at
Caesarea Philippi. It's an important question. It's one that is still asked by millions of
people today. Who was Jesus? A lot depends on the answer of this question.
Wikipedia gives this definition: "Jesus (7–4 BC/BCE to 26–36 AD/CE), also known
as Jesus of Nazareth, is the central figure of Christianity, and is also an important figure in
several other religions. He is also called Jesus Christ, where "Christ" is a title derived from
the Greek Χριστός (Christós), meaning the "Anointed One," which corresponds to the
Hebrew-derived "Messiah". The name "Jesus" is an Anglicization of the Greek Ίησους
(Iēsous), itself a Hellenization of the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua) or Hebrew-Aramaic ישוע
(Yeshua), meaning "YHWH rescues"."
Yet, defining who Jesus was, and is, continues to perplex many people. In his
lifetime, Jesus was known as a Jewish carpenter from the village of Nazareth. He was the
son of Mary. He was claimed by his followers as the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Others saw him only as a great rabbi or teacher. He was known by many as faith healer.
Others saw him as a rebel and a political threat, a criminal who had been put to death by
Roman justice. To understand Jesus, we must seek to understand the historical Jesus.
We cannot fully know who Jesus is apart from his life and times.
|From Jesus to Christ
Exploration of the
|Jesus was/is fully
human and fully
God. You can't
separate the two
from each other.
Jesus himself said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me... I am in the Father and the Father is in me." (John 14:6,11)
How can this be? Jesus' very name can help explain things. Jesus in Hebrew
means "Yahweh saves." Yahweh is the divine name that God used introduced himself as
at the burning bush in Exodus 3:14 when he said, "I Am Who I Am" which can also be
translated as "I Will Be Who I Will Be." God in effect tells Moses you can't put me in a
box. The Gospel of Luke says the same thing. "For nothing is impossible with God."
(Luke 1:37) Scripture and faith claim Jesus as being fully God incarnate. He is the very
heart of God. To know Jesus is to know God.
The truth is, to understand Jesus, you have to understand that Jesus was/is
fully human and fully God. You can't separate the two from each other. Jesus is both
the man from Nazareth that can be known and explored in history, and the Crucified One,
the Risen One, the Living One, the Christ, the Son of the living God who can only be
experienced through the eyes of faith. This is what others, historical scholars and
theologians can say about Jesus.
Yet the real question is the second question that Jesus asked his disciples in Mark
8:29, "Who do you say I am?" That is the question that matters most. Do the historical
research. Explore the possibilities of faith. Experience the living Christ. Spend some
time with those who have been touched by him. Then, answer this question for yourself.
That is the only way to have a Living Faith. You'll be glad you did.
was life, and that life was light
of men... The Word became
flesh and made his dwelling
among us. We have seen his
glory, the glory of the One and
Only, who came from the
Father, full of grace and
truth." (John 1:1,4,14)
The Apostle Paul wrote in
Colossians that "Christ is the
visible image of the invisible
God... For God in all his
fullness was pleased to live in
Christ, and by him God
reconciled everything to
himself." (Colossians 1:15,19)
After Jesus' death and resurrection, the Early Church
sought to define Jesus. He was called "Lord" and "Savior"
by those who followed him. But, was he God? Was he human?
Was Jesus both God and human? The Early Church tried to
answer these questions when they composed the Apostles
Creed and Nicene Creed. Those answers are very important.
They are foundational for understanding the Christian faith.
The answers drawn up by the Early Church summarize
the teachings of Scripture. "In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God, and the Word was God... In him
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