How Can We Get To Know the Heart, Character, and Identity of Jesus Christ?
After looking at all the above, consider the following:
Jesus has been called a liar, a lunatic or the lord (the Son of God as he claimed). Thus, he was either lying, delusional, or telling the truth. No one else has ever made these claims or predicted his own death and resurrection.
Question: In the context of all you have read about him, which of these labels seems most true to you?
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15-20 (Written by Saul/Paul of Tarsus to the Christians living in Colossae)
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to th angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
Hebrews 1:1-4 (Written to the Jewish Christians - possibly by Paul)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only begotten Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but God the only begotten Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
John 1:1-4,14,17-18 (Written to all people by the apostle John of Zebedee)
The reason the Son of God (Jesus) appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
1 John 3:8b (Written to all Christians by the apostle John of Zebedee)
God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord (King) and Christ (Savior/Messiah).
Acts 2:36 (Written by Luke the Doctor, stated by Simon/Peter Bar Jonah the apostle)
Additional Eyewitnesses Claims About Jesus:
Friends - Peter in Acts 2:42
Family - Mary, his mother, in Acts 1:14
Enemies - Chief priests and elders in Matthew 28:11-15
Skeptic - Thomas in John 20:24-29
Persecutor of Christians - Paul in Acts 22:1-16
While speaking with Pilate, Jesus said:
"You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place"
While speaking to the Jewish people, Jesus said:
"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own, but he sent me. ... I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM."
John 8:42, 58
While speaking to the Jewish people who intellectually believed he was sent from God, Jesus said:
"If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. "
"I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
John 8:31,32; John 6
Jesus also claims He the following about himself:
Additional Scriptural Support:
1. Mark 8:31-32, Mark 10:32-34. Jesus predicts his resurrection.
2. Acts 2:32. The message of the resurrection was at the heart of NT preaching.
3. Had the story of Jesus ended with his death, it is highly unlikely that any of us would have heard of the man.
4. Without the resurrection the church would never have begun. It woulde have had no message - no "good news" - no "gospel". The word gospel means good news. The NT would never have been written. There would have been no need.
5. Key Resurrection Scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:14 - it all depends on the truthfulness of the resurrection
Luke 24:17-21 - after his death the disciples thought it was all over. "We had hoped he would redeem Israel."
John 20:19-29 - The disciples did not find the idea of resurrection easy to accept, but Jesus produced the evidence.
Acts 1:1-3 - The disciples tremendous faith in the resurrection was built through repeated experiences over a period of 40 days.
The accounts of his miracles are a crucial part of the story of Jesus found in the gospels. There are accounts of miracles at almost every turn.
John 20:30-31. He did many miracles even beyond the ones reported in the gospels.
Four important points:
1. He demonstrated his miraculous power in many different ways and over the following:
illness- Mark 1:29-31, Mark 2:1-11
nature - Mark 4:35-41, Mark 6:45-51
demonic beings- Mark 1:32-34
hunger- Mark 6:35-43
death- Luke 7:11, John 11
2. His severest critics did not deny his miracles, but claimed these miracles were done using Satan's power. See Matthew 12:22-24
3. Jesus said, "Don't believe me unless I can back up my claims with miracles." John 10:37-38, 14:11
4. The reason people did not follow him was NOT because he couldn't perform miracles. Rather, they were afraid of the religious authorities (who were intimidating people at that time who followed Jesus and threatening to kick them out of the Temple) or because they WERE in a position of power over others and saw Jesus as a threat to their comfortable way of life. Or, just sheer laziness and ignorance - refusing to go and listen to his message, refusing to check out what others were claiming about him, and refusing (if you were a good jew) to check out the scripture that talked about the coming Messiah that all of Israel was waiting for! See John 12:42
Isaiah 9:6-7. The OT prophet fortells the coming of one from God who will set up an eternal kingdom. The NT shows that Jesus sees himself as the fulfillment of this and many other OT prophecies.More prophesies to come...