Who is the REAL Jesus?


"Will the real Jesus please stand up?" There are so many portraits of Jesus to be found in the world. And most, if not all of them only cause confusion among God's people today. In fact there are so many images that many people have given up any hope of ever finding out who He really is. So, who is Jesus anyway? And is there any way for us to know anything about Him? The answer is most assuredly yes. And why is it important for us to have an accurate answer to this question?

 

 

 

In order to know the REAL Jesus we must go to God's word, the Holy Scriptures. It's critical for us to have an accurate understanding of not only who Jesus is, but we must also understand why He came, and what He did for us here in this world, as well as in the realm of our eternal destiny. Really we, as God's people, need the REAL Jesus, not simply one that the world has conjured up as a mere compromise. One who is made in the image and imagination of men. We don't need a Jesus who cannot redeem a single soul, or a Jesus who is no more than a symbol for some group, whose only wish to have a show of religion, but have no real sense of the truth. And most importantly, if we don't have the REAL Jesus Christ, we are left with an Anti-Christ (1 John 2:18-22; 4:3; 2 John 1:3). And prefix "anti" means to "be against" or "in the place of." So when we, or some other person presents a false Christ, we, or they are become an Anti-Christ, being opposed to Christ Himself.


This Jesus can be changed at the fancy of the artist's preconceived prejudices, criticism, or devotion to His own personal view of Jesus of Nazareth. With the flick of a pin or paintbrush, or a few words, he can change the color of His skin, His hair, in order to suit any particular cause of which he might wish to align himself. This kind of image can be created, and re-created in their own image, which is an image of unbelief. The problem today with so many of the images that we have not only of Jesus Christ, but also of His Church, is that there has been an open attempt to redefine and neutralize the very authority of the Bible. The so-called Bible seminaries and popular churches of our day have all but banished the REAL Jesus of the Bible. And without the REAL Jesus there is no Church. After all, it's Jesus who established the Church Kingdom of God. It is ruled, sanctified and protected by Jesus Christ. And we need the Church just as a little baby needs its mother's milk to nourish it, so that it will grow. And in a real sense we cannot embrace Jesus without embracing the Church. So in a real sense our faith (not our eternal salvation,) stands on the REAL biblical Jesus.

 

So beloved, how do we uncover the REAL Jesus? And as I said, to answer that question we must go to the only reliable source of witnesses available to us. And that source is the scriptures, in the English Bible, our King James Translation. This is the only place that we can find the written accounts of those people who knew Him. After all it was the disciples who walked with Him on those dusty roads. They were there and heard His words, and they of all people knew the REAL Jesus; I mean they were there, and they have left their witness for you to view.

 

Someone might come along and assert that the disciples were biased, and so they are not reliable witnesses. But we read that John said, "and he' [John] 'that saw it bare record and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe" (John 19:35). What a foolish assertion for anyone to make, saying that their witness cannot be true because they are biased, and they have some hidden agenda. If that were true it would also follow that we couldn't trust any "biased" witness. And what would happen then? That would end our system of justice, because all that someone would have to say is, "well, this witness is biased, and we can't trust him." No, and in fact their agenda was not hidden at all, but was published openly.     

    
Doesn't it seem strange that all of these people, these men who are accused of being biased, whose witness we are not trust, should hold fast to a lie? Even when they were faced with their own sure torture and death? I mean doesn't it seen strange to any normal person that they would stand firm for something that was not true? Yes, to even give up their own lives...and for what...a lie?


We see that under Roman law all that they would have to do in order to not die was to renounce Jesus, and His resurrection, proclaim that Caesar was Lord, and they would be allowed to live. How easy it would be to simply say, "Well we made it all up? None of it really happened." And then they'd be allowed to walk free. But no, not one of them gave in to this temptation, they stood firm, and all of the disciples who were witnesses held to their witness till the end. And so beloved child of God, if we can't trust the Apostles to lead us to the REAL Jesus we're only left with opinions. And that would lead us into heresies of theoretical philosophies like Gnosticism. Or, we become like those who accuse us, just another skeptic relegating Jesus to realm of mere Christmas ornaments for the holiday season, or an untruth perhaps, not be really taken seriously. No beloved let us stand for, and go straight to the source, the Holy Scriptures...our Bibles.

 
The trusted Doctor Luke says, "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed" (Luke 1:1-4). Here is our eyewitness, and he has left us his written account of "those things which are most surely believed among us." How can we possibly ignore him as a witness?


The Apostle Peter also says, "for we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter 1:16). Their claim is a firsthand account given to us by those who were willing to give up their lives for Him. Lets us hold fast to their record. So then, "who was Jesus?" The scriptures give us titles which give us a picture of His person and work here in this world. "He is Christ, Lord, Rabbi and Master, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Son of David, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Rose of Sharon, the Bright and Morning Star, the Word of God, the Advocate, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb Without Spot or Blemish and the Great I Am. These are but only a few of the titles that just give us a hint of His life, and the glory of His work.


We make a distinction between His person and His work, but we can never remove the one from the other. These titles give us a picture of the whole person of the REAL Jesus as found in the witness of the New Testament, allowing us to see the person and His work. I would like to take out time to examine all of these titles for Christ, but for the sake of time and space we will only take a look at a few of them as the Lord leads. And if the Lord is willing we will try to take a look at "Jesus as the Christ" next time. God bless you and keep you, dear ones in Christ.  


 Elder Thomas McDonald

     


   

 Jesus is the Christ

The expression that Jesus is the Christ is used so often that most people think that it's His name. But beloved Jesus is His name, and Christ is His title. Looking at what Doctor Luke tells us in His gospel genealogy, he writes, that when "Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph." (Luke 3:23). The Greek word "bar" means "son," so Jesus would be referred to, so far as the common people were concerned, His name was "Jesus Bar-Joseph," or "Jesus the son of Joseph." And often He would be referred to as being Jesus of Nazareth. But for the most part today, when people refer to Jesus, they say, "Jesus Christ." And because this term is used so often most people lose sight of the significance of the term. Really Jesus is His name, while Christ is His title. And the title "Christ" is used more often than any other title for Jesus than any other title in the New Testament. The title comes from the Greek word "christos," which means the "anointed." And this Greek word used corresponds with the Hebrew word "Messiah." So when we say, Jesus Christ, we are actually, making a confession, at least with our mouth, that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.

 

 


The Old Testament expression or title of "Messiah" was someone who was uniquely anointed by God to fulfill the divine task of deliverance. And the concept was not just a simple concept, because of what the Old Testament had to say about the thought. And as one would view each of the text that had reference to "messiah" they would seem to contradict each other. For example one text would refer to the "messiah" as being a reigning king, like David, who was expected to come and reign as an earthly king, restoring the monarchy of Israel. And the people thought that He would come, and throw off their enemies, and put them under His feet.


And at the time of Jesus, the most popular belief was that Jesus, as the "Messiah" was coming to overthrow the Roman Empire, and restore to Israel their full independence. This is evident in John chapter six, just after He had taken five loaves of bread, and three little fish and fed about five thousand men. In verse fifteen we read, that "when Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain himself alone." We see that He knew what they were all thinking about Him, now that He had done this wonderful miracle for them, and they all had a full stomach, now they wanted to force Him to become a natural king. And that was not what He came to the earth to do.     

   
In another place the "Messiah" is viewed as the "suffering servant of Israel, the One who would come and bear the sins of the people, taking away their sins. This picture of "messiah" can be seen in Isaiah 53:3-5, "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." It's so easy to see the agony of Jesus who was "despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." From these two points of view it was very hard for them to be able to believe that He could be a suffering servant and also be a Reigning King. How could He be a Suffering Servant, and at the same time be a Royal King?


The third view of the "Messiah" is found in what some refer to as being the apocalyptic scriptures of the Old Testament. Writers like Daniel and Ezekiel have in view a heavenly being who come down to us out of the glorious presence of God Himself, to become an earthy king, and a supernatural judge, who would come and judge the world because of their evil. This view became almost overwhelming during the Roman rule while the people of Israel looked for a "Messiah King" who would come in David's name and restore to the nation of Israel it's former glory. This expectation for a coming political "Messiah" didn't come simply from wishful thinking, but has rooted on certain Old Testament prophecies. In Psalms 132:11 we read, "The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." And again in Psalms 89:29, 34-36, God declares, "His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heavenžMy covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me."


And the prophet Amos declared, "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up His ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old" (Amos 9:11).      

    
And so naturally, in the time of the seeming crisis this hope of an earthly king was set ablaze by the Man Jesus Christ. With His miraculous signs and wonders. That surely He would come and throw off the bondage of their cruel Roman rule, and set up, and establish a great new kingdom of David to rule over all the world forever!


This view was so compelling among the disciples of Jesus, they knew that He came from the house of Judah. Wasn't that the very tribe that scripture had promised would hold the royal scepter from God would come from? How could they miss the apparent fact that Jesus of Nazareth was the literal fulfillment of the Old Testament hope of the coming "Messiah?" And they believed, especially Judas Iscariot that they would see Jesus ascend to the thrown of Israel. So many times Jesus felt the need to flee away from the multitudes who sought make Him a "their king" by force (John 6:15). They could not possibly see nor understand that, yes He was a king, but that their view of Him was most limited and that they could not comprehend how that He could be both at the same time. They, as well as the crowds had very little patience of a King who would also be their suffering servant. Jesus had repeatedly warned His disciples about declaring that He was in fact the "Messiah." But He never denied this fact; He was the "very Christ" (John 7:26; Acts 9:22).


When they boldly proclaimed this fact to Him, Jesus accepted the designation with His blessing. Then He put the question to His disciples, but "whom do men say that I the Son of man am?" (Matt.16: 13-17). Then Peter boldly proclaimed saying, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." To Which Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." God had revealed this to Peter, not by blood, but thru His Holy Spirit. Peter's eyes were opened by the revelation from God the Father.


In another place we see John the Baptist testifying that Jesus as the Christ, he said that "there cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose" (Mark 1:7; Luke 3:16; John 1:27), and he called on the people to follow Him. Later when he was cast into prison, his faith began to falter and he sent messengers to Jesus asking, "Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?" (Luke 7:19-20). To which Jesus replied, "Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." These weren't just idle words spoken, but were carefully chosen by Jesus showing that the prophecy of Isaiah 61, the text that He had chosen the day that He entered into the synagogue in Capernaum where He read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord" (Luke 4:17-18). And when He finished reading He said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:17-21). So what Jesus' was saying to John was this: "go back to John and have him recall the prophecies of Isaiah, and he will know with full assurance the answer to his question." Jesus is the Christ!


May God bless us to have the same knowledge of our Saviour the Lord Jesus as the Christ foretold in the scriptures.


Elder Thomas McDonald