Who is Jesus?
Who is Jesus?
No person in history can lay claim to more followers than Jesus. Jesus is by far the most influential, the most written about, the most studied, the most sung about, and the most discussed person who ever lived.
So just who exactly is this guy and what’s so special about him?
Jesus was a man who lived in Roman occupied Palestine between 4 BC to AD 33. When he was about 30 years old, he began to publicly teach about himself, about God’s family and how to be part of it.
Jesus made the outrageous claim that anyone who wanted to have a relationship with God had to go through him. According to Jesus, there was no other way.
As he went about this, he also performed miracles to demonstrate he was no ordinary man. Some people concluded from his teaching and miracles that he was God and worshiped him.
What happened to Jesus?
As a result of his teaching and his bold claims, Jesus was eventually publicly executed and died by crucifixion (a common Roman method of punishing criminals at the time). His followers ran away for fear of being implicated.
But that is not how it ends.
Jesus rose from the dead, ate with his followers, and appeared to five hundred eyewitnesses thereafter. This event in history, what Christians call “the resurrection,” changed everything.
It turned Jesus’ small number of followers from cowards into people who gave up everything they had and died for the sake of telling people about Jesus. Today, about two billion people across the world from all races, languages and backgrounds pledge allegiance to Jesus (as their “Lord”) and trust in his power to save (as their “Saviour”).
What did Jesus teach?
The central part of Jesus’ teaching is the “gospel”. The word “gospel” means “good news” (not “good life advice”). The good news proclaimed by Jesus, and those who follow him, is this:
- There is a God who is the one true and living ruler of all things. God is not corrupt or self-serving. He is a thoroughly good, loving and just ruler.
- God is the maker of all that exists. He made it, and he is in charge of everything. He made us humans to have a relationship with him, and he gave humanity a unique place in his good world – ruling over the world and obeying him as our ruler.
- Yet from the very beginning, we did not want God to be our ruler. We rejected him as God by deciding to live our own way, in defiance of him, and God calls this ‘sin’. Sin infects all of us without exception – rich or poor, healthy or sick, educated or uneducated, regardless of the colour of our skin. It is us living in God’s world without reference to him.
- And since we do not want anything to do with God, it would be just for God to judge us by removing us from his presence forever. This is a terrible thing, because being away from God’s presence also means being removed from every good thing. But this is what we all face because we’re all rebels against God.
- Yet the amazingly good news is that God does not treat us as we deserve. Instead, God knows we cannot fix the problem of sin on our own, and so he comes to earth himself in the person of Jesus to save us from our rebellion, from our sin.
- Jesus lived a life that was fully obedient to God and willingly took the punishment due to us for our rebellion against God when he died on the cross. When he rose from the dead, Jesus demonstrated that death had no hold on him, nor on anyone who trusts in him. In doing this, Jesus offers us a way back to God, to be put back into a restored relationship with God, and to be part of God’s family.
Why believe in the “good news” of Jesus?
The beauty of the gospel is that the joy of being in a right relationship with God does not depend on our own efforts and good works. If it were up to us, we would be in big trouble. Instead, the joy of being in a right relationship with God depends solely on the sheer “grace” (that is, unmerited favour) of God to sinners, like you and me. And this grace is available to anyone who trusts in Jesus and follows him.
This free grace and acceptance into God’s family transforms the life of any true Christian. Instead of trying to earn favour with God by being a “good” person, Christians are free to love God and his ways out of gratitude and joy. Our obedience and “good deeds” are motivated by thankfulness to God and our desire to be more and more like the one he sent to save us from God’s righteous judgment – Jesus.
How can you respond?
If this is your first time hearing this, or you have not given much thought to the person of Jesus before, why not read one of his preserved biographies (also called “gospels”) with a Christian friend or someone from our church?
Jesus makes big claims about himself and about humanity, you included! Why not consider his claims and the evidence for yourself? If his claims are false, then Jesus is irrelevant to you (and to everyone). But if they are true, then that… changes everything!
We would love for you to meet Jesus for yourself (whether at our church or otherwise), and find real hope and everlasting joy as you place your trust in him.
Connect with us if you would like to talk to someone about this!