Who is Jesus?
Who is Jesus? There may be a lot of disagreement about who Jesus is, but there is no disagreement about whether he existed in history. So the controversy about Jesus is not about his existence, or even about his basic teaching and ideology. Most people are moved by Jesus’ compassion for the poor, the forgotten, the marginalized. All religions, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Mormon, Christian….. they all believe Jesus was a good moral teacher.
Maybe you haven’t made up your mind yet about Jesus or you’re exploring who he is and if there any evidence to help you decide? Possibly you believe in Jesus, but you’d like to be able to explain to other people that you love why you believe in Jesus. Are you or someone you know going through a season of doubt and you wonder if what you thought you believed about Jesus is really true?
Jesus is arguably the most controversial figure who has ever walked the earth. The controversy is Jesus God in human form? Jesus himself made some pretty incredible claims about his identity in John 14:6 he says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” When asked if he is the Son of the blessed one?” in Mark 14:61- 62 Jesus said, “I am.” In John 14:9 he confirms, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
It may be challenging to believe these claims from 2,000 years ago. Especially if you’ve been hurt by religious people, or appalled by the politics, the antics, and the behavior of people who say they are Christians. You might even view these claims as outrageous, bigoted, narrow-minded and intolerant for Christians to say that Jesus is the only way to God. What if these statements aren’t a sign of great arrogance, but of tremendous compassion and love?
Many say Jesus was just a great moral teacher. And that sounds reasonable on the surface except if you consider the claims he made. The late CS Lewis, an Oxford professor who was an atheist and later became a believer in Jesus, referred to this issue as the great trilemma because you really only have three options when it comes to the claims that Jesus made about his identity.
Is there evidence of Jesus?
WAS JESUS A LIAR? Would an ethical moral person knowingly spread premeditated lies about their identity? I mean, how could he even be a great moral teacher if he was lying when he said, anyone who has seen me has seen the Father? And do you think a great moral teacher would knowingly ask his friends and family to risk their families, careers, imprisonment or death if he knew deep down he was a complete phony? If Jesus was lying, do you think he would’ve been willing to be arrested, mocked, beaten, whipped, and spit on for claiming to be God? The conclusion that Jesus was a premeditated liar just doesn’t ring true.
WAS JESUS A LUNATIC? Maybe Jesus thought he was God, but he was just crazy. Jesus believed he was telling the truth when in reality he was just delusional. The problem with the lunatic theory is experts in psychology who studied the historical records of his life have determined that Jesus was the picture of emotional, relational, and psychological health. Dr. Gary Collins, who has a PhD in psychology from Purdue and has written 45 books on psychology, observes that Jesus was a picture of emotional health. He didn’t show signs of inappropriate depression, extreme anger, anxiety or mental illness. He showed no signs of delusion, and managed to stay steady in adversity and calm in a storm.
If Jesus wasn’t a liar, and if Jesus wasn’t a lunatic, there’s really only one other option for you to consider. Could he be the Lord he claimed to be? If Jesus was who he claimed to be, if he was the Son of God, God in the flesh, shouldn’t there be some evidence to substantiate that claim? Yes! Want to learn more watch this series on who Jesus is.
Where is the evidence that proves his claims to be true? First, Jesus lead a sinless life. Jesus didn’t just make wild claims about being God. He proved it by living a perfect, sinless life. Even Pilate confirmed he could find no fault in Jesus. After observing Jesus closely for three years, no one could come up with one sliver of evidence of sin.
The early writers of the Old Testament made bold, descriptive predictions about the coming Messiah. One of the major prophecies is from Isaiah 53 predicts, “He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him. And by his wounds, we are healed”. This passage was written approximately 700 years before Jesus was born. It describes in haunting detail his suffering on the cross. Other verses in that same chapter confirm the fact that he would be taken to prison, that he would go through a trial. The chapter even speaks about the fact that he would be buried in a rich man’s tomb. Jesus was in fact buried in the tomb of a wealthy individual named Joseph of Arimathea. Another prophecy is found in Isaiah 7, “A virgin will be with child and give birth to a son and call him Emanuel.” Micah 5 tells in advance that “The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.” and Genesis 49 further shares that “He will come from the line of Judah”.
When you discover each verse is fulfilled in the person of Jesus you have powerful and overwhelming evidence of his identity. The statistical odds of just eight of these 300 detailed prophecies coming true in one human being, by mere coincidence, have been calculated by mathematicians, and the odds are astronomical. It’s one chance in 1000 trillion. There is no religion in the world that has one verifiable, viable, believable prophecy except Christianity. How can anyone explain these prophecies being fulfilled apart from a God who authored them?
Simon Greenleaf, a professor of law and head of the law department at Harvard University, considered the greatest expert on evidence in the history of our country, looked at the evidence and became a follower of Jesus. Edmund Bennett, Dean of the Boston University Law School for 20 years, looked at the evidence and became a follower of Jesus. Lee Strobel, an atheist, a graduate of Yale University with a law degree, and an investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, looked at the evidence and became a follower of Jesus.
Jesus is in every book of the Bible
What about you? Who do you say Jesus is? Maybe it’s not the lack of evidence that keeps most people from following Jesus. Sometimes it’s just pride in not wanting to admit the need for him or the need to make some changes in your life. Sometimes it’s a wound, seeing so many religious hypocrites or sadly the mistaken belief that God can’t love someone like you because of shame or your past. Don’t believe the lie that God could never forgive you or accept you. Today when you consider all Jesus sacrificed hopefully you’ll see just how much Jesus loves you, how much Jesus endured for you.
There is something called fingerprint evidence. Jesus is the only historical figure who alone fits the fingerprint evidence of prophecy in the Bible. Hundreds of years before Jesus walked on this planet, there are over 300 prophecies that were written in the Old Testament. To be clear if Jesus didn’t fulfill every single one of these prophecies, if he was missing just one, he couldn’t be the son of God. He couldn’t be the savior of the world because the fingerprints wouldn’t match. Jesus is in in every book of the Bible. We’d love to share this resource with you!