A Unique Life
There is one man who is so distinct amongst all other men who have lived upon the earth, that He is worthy of careful examination. Many people have great difficulty with the Christian church and organized religion–and so they should. The religions of men are frequently a catastrophe of errors and diversely opposite from who Jesus is and what He represents.
Jesus is not a religion, He is not a church. He claimed to be God, living within the flesh of a man, and the only Savior of the world. Either He is a liar, a man delusional, or He was telling the truth. It is our responsibility to examine the evidence for His life and determine if He is who He claimed to be.
Jesus never commanded men to join a particular church or religion, He said “Follow Me.”
A mistake that is often made by many people, is the association of Jesus with the man-made religions of the world, and believing that He approves or ignores the terrible things that people do in His name. When we examine Jesus–what He said and did, we find that He is nothing like those who often misrepresent Him. This has become–great cause for scorn and ridicule against Jesus, while He Himself, never commanded or encouraged His followers to act in the manner that many do today.
It is a common problem amongst human beings that we can take something beautiful and pure and corrupt it into something ugly and repugnant.
If a person will carefully study the words and actions of Jesus, they will come away stunned at who He is. There has never been another human being like Jesus. Not a single word or action that He has said or done, has ever called into question–His character or nature. Those who knew Jesus best–testified that He was Holy and without sin. Even when speaking against the false pretentious religion of the Scribes and Pharisees, Jesus was justified in all the words and observations that He made against these men. A perfect balance of love, grace, mercy, and judgement–consistently flows out from Jesus. Everything about Him is exceedingly-extraordinary.
Many have labeled Jesus as a great teacher, a prophet, the Messiah, even God. Let us examine what He said for ourselves and decide if He is worthy of further time and attention.
First, we know that Jesus is a historical person. No credible Biblical scholar today believes that Jesus was not a real person of history. The evidence for His existence is so overwhelming that to deny Jesus lived in Galilee at the time depicted in the New Testament, would place any writer in a classification of incompetency. Second, He said and did things that no one has ever said or done before. Third, Nearly a Billion people on the earth today claim to believe in Him. For these three reasons alone, we should consider Jesus independent of the thoughts and opinions of skeptics.
Let us examine the claims that Jesus has made about Himself and determine by His words and works, who He is.
All religious men and women seek to direct us to a set of ideals, a religion, or a set of teachings. Jesus is unique, in that He consistently seeks to direct all of our attention to Himself.
Others seek to teach certain truths; Jesus said that He is the truth.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Other religious leaders try to point us to the light; Jesus said He is the light.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
Others tell us where we can find satisfaction; Jesus said that only He can truly satisfy us.
John 6:51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.
The various religions of the world try to tell us how we can have eternal life; Jesus said that He is the bestower of eternal life.
John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”
Normally, anyone who would make such brazen claims would be viewed as a person who is beyond eccentric; they would be classified as insane.
Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that before Abraham was born, He existed.
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
Jesus said that Moses and all the prophets were writing about Him in their prophecies.
Luke 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
When Jesus returned to His hometown of Nazareth, He went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. He was asked to read from the prophet Isaiah, to whom over 132 of the prophecies of the Messiah were written. As He finished reading from Isaiah Chapter 61, Jesus handed the scroll back to the attendant and then said to those who were in the synagogue: “Today this scripture is fulfilled…”
Luke 4:20-21 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus was claiming that all of the prophecies that Isaiah wrote about the coming Messiah were fulfilled by Him.
Often, we read in the Bible and by many other religious documents, that people are encouraged to believe in God. Jesus said that we should believe in Him. He claimed that—to reject Him is to forfeit eternal life.
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Jesus said that we should not only believe in God, we should believe also in Him.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
We can stop here for just a moment. These are claims that are quite astounding considering that Jesus was only a simple carpenter from a small town in ancient Israel. If what Jesus said is true, then every person on the earth should consider Him. If He is deluded or a liar, His name should be stricken from the pages of all books ever written of Him. We cannot, however, ignore what He has said, and determine casually that He is not relevant to all the questions of life. Whether or not there is a God who has created and sustains this universe is not the issue at this point. Our dilemma is whether or not Jesus can substantiate and prove any of these claims that He has made about Himself. If He can, then He very well might be able to answer every other question regarding the mysteries of life and human existence.
Jesus did not encourage us to join a church, a religious organization, or follow a set of ideals; He commanded us to “follow Him.” He asserted that He is able to quench the insatiable desire that all human beings possess to be once and forever satisfied, in our innermost being; this is the constant and unrelenting pursuit of our life.
John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.
John 1:43 The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.”
Jesus claimed that to follow Him was the most important decision that a person could ever make in their life. He declared that to reject His claim of Lordship over our lives was the greatest error we could ever commit.
Again, we are struck by the fact that this is not just a man who claims to be a great teacher of truth. He is claiming that He is the source of all truth. This is the reason that many people find Jesus so offensive. He does not afford us the opportunity to remain neutral in our determination of who He is; Jesus demands an answer.
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
The Bible asserts that the greatest commandment is to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Jesus said that if we love anyone more than Him, we are not worthy of Him.
Matthew 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
At this point, most people might reach the limits of their tolerance. “No more, I cannot listen to another word—Love Jesus more than I love my own dear mother? That is unreasonable and ridiculous!”
These declarations sound like the ramblings of a sick man—the claims and demands of an ideologue. But what if we walk away now and forever ignore Jesus, what will be the end of our life if we find out later that all His claims are true? We will have missed out on the greatest treasure in the universe—to know the Creator of all things. Could these claims be true? Is it possible that everything Jesus said about Himself is factual?
Jesus said that He was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies which are written about one man who would be the only Savior of the world. He described His own death by crucifixion that would be the end of His life. He said that when He was “lifted up” on the cross, the stunning reality of His actions would draw all people to Him.
John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.
The cross is a place of incredible polarization. People are either profoundly drawn to Jesus because of it, or they are exceedingly offended by it. People are attracted by the Love exhibited by what Jesus has done for us at the cross; while at the same time, repelled that we should be thought of as sinners which made the cross of Jesus a necessity.
Jesus was the most self-centered person who has ever lived.
Everything that He said and did in His short 33 ½ years of life was directed at drawing attention to Himself. At the same time, Jesus taught humility in all other people.
Luke 18:17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God (humbly) as a little child will by no means enter it.
He rebukes the men who had followed Him for their assertiveness in seeking an honored place in His kingdom.
Mark 10:35-40 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared.”
Yet, when Jesus speaks of Himself, He takes an entirely different approach.
Matthew 26:62-64 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” 64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
It is clear by the above statement that Jesus believed that He is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies that speak of the Messiah. By using the title “Son of man” to describe Himself, Jesus is making it clear that He is the Messiah, “the Son of man,” whom Daniel described in His prophecy of the last days.
Daniel 7:13 I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.
Jesus also believed that His purpose in coming to earth was to fulfill the prophecies of Isaiah Chapter 53, which speak of the suffering servant who would die for the sins of all people. This single chapter of Isaiah contains 38 prophecies that vividly describe the suffering of the Son of man for the sins of all people. When these 38 prophecies are carefully examined in contrast to their counterpart scriptures in the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus was purposely fulfilling everything Isaiah wrote.
Who will believe?
He will come from a poor family.
No Physical Beauty
He will be despised.
He will be rejected.
He is a man of sorrows.
They will hide from Him.
He will bear our griefs.
He will carry our sorrows.
Thought to suffer for His own sins.
He will pay for our sins.
He will make peace for us.
By His scourging, we are healed.
He will bear all our sins.
All our sins will be laid on Him.
He will be oppressed and afflicted.
He will not defend Himself.
Led as a Lamb to the slaughter.
He will be arrested.
His trials will be unjust.
He will be killed.
His life is the payment for our sins.
Buried in a rich man’s gravesite.
Accused, but innocent.
He will bear witness of the truth.
It pleased God to punish Him for us.
His life, an offering for our sins.
He will see those whom He has saved.
His salvation for us will succeed.
He will see His plan ahead of time.
He will come as the servant of God.
He will justify those who believe.
He will bear all of our sins.
His name will be exalted above all names.
He will pour out His life for us.
He will be killed with criminals.
He will bear the sins of the world.
He will pray for those who kill Him.
Peter came to the conclusion that Jesus was far more than just a prophet or great teacher in Israel.
Matthew 16:13-16 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” 14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Many people had begun to wonder who Jesus was. Some thought that He was one of the Prophets. Peter believed that Jesus was the One that the prophets had predicted would come.
“Jesus was not just another signpost, but the destination to which the signposts had led.”—John Stott.
As we consider who Jesus is, we are confronted with who He believed Himself to be. In speaking of the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus described the events that were happening all around Him, as He conducted His ministry. He claimed to be fulfilling the very details that all the prophets had written so much about, but understood very little of.
Jesus often spoke in the veil of a parable, which hid closely below the surface, the deeper spiritual revelation of what the kingdom of God was truly about.
Matthew 13:13-17 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled (Prophecy 162, Isaiah 6:10), which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” 16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.
Isaiah was predicting that the Messiah would teach by the use of Parables.
These stories from familiar images and situations of everyday life should have caused the people who heard them to dig deeper into the spiritual meaning behind what Jesus was saying. Because the hearts of the people were not seeking after God, the intended purpose of the parables that Jesus had taught was lost. Instead, those with unprepared hearts walked away from the Lord and missed their opportunity to obtain eternal life.
See the chapter in this book, “The Parables of the Messiah,” for more information.
Sin thrives in our indecision. The opportunity for eternal life and everlasting peace passes us by, because we have not opened up our hearts and minds to receive the truth that God is desiring to give us.
Again, we should not miss the fact that Jesus is not only constantly seeking to point people to Himself, but He is also consistently declaring that He is “the Son of man,” the Messiah, the One to whom all of the Old Testament prophecies were written.
Jesus claimed to be “The Son of man,” the Messiah. At the same time, He claimed to be “The Son of God” and equal to God Himself. We cannot ignore these claims, for they demand an answer. A good man, a sane man, does not say such things about himself—unless, of course, He is who He declared Himself to be.
Jesus Claimed to be the Creator of the universe.
More important than the question of His identity as the Messiah is the belief that Jesus had claimed that He is the Creator/God of the universe.
The Bible reveals a unique and exclusive relationship between Jesus—who claimed to be the Son of God—the Father, and the Holy Spirit. These three are all described in the Bible as being “One God.” They are eternally existent, with no beginning or first cause. John begins his account of Jesus by stating that in the beginning, Jesus (the Word) was with God and was God.
See the chapter: How Father, Son, and Spirit, Can Be: One God
When Jesus spoke of His special relationship with God as His Father, He did not describe this relationship in the same way that we would. Jesus calls Him “My Father.”
Matthew 10:32-33 Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.
John 10:30 I and My Father are one.
John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me.
Jesus taught us to refer to God as “my Father.” Listen to how Jesus distinguishes between His relationship to God and ours, as He speaks to Mary Magdalene.
John 20:17 Jesus said to her, … “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.”
Jesus did not say that He was ascending to “our Father.” He said “your Father.” Then He said that He was ascending to “My God” and “your God.” Can you see here that Jesus believed that His relationship with God was that of a Son, to whom all the scriptures refer to as “One God”? The concept of three distinct persons being “One God” is difficult for us to grasp as human beings. We attribute more than one of anything as being impossible to be only one. In the Book of Revelation, chapter 5, we see how these three distinct persons are illustrated as “One.”
In the narrative of Revelation, chapter 5, we see:
Verse 1: Him who sat on the throne.
Verse 6: A Lamb in the midst of the throne.
Verse 6: The Spirit from within the throne.
Verse 7: The Lamb taking the scroll from “Him who sat on the throne.”
Revelation 5:1-7 And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. 4 So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 5 But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” 6 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.
We see just one throne in heaven. We see One God sitting on a single throne. We see a Lamb coming from the “midst of the throne of God.” We see Him who sat on the throne, having a scroll in His right hand. We see the Holy Spirit described as the Seven Spirits.
However, we might struggle to understand One God, Three Persons. Here, we see all Three in Heaven, seated on a single throne.
The Holy Spirit, who is always invisible to us yet always present, is not declared or recognized. The Holy Spirit is seen–a part of the Lamb as “the Seven Spirits” (Seven is completeness). It is the work of the Holy Spirit to exalt and magnify Jesus, not to exalt Himself. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is always spoken of as also being God.
Acts 5:3-4 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
The relationship that Jesus claimed with God was that of a Son—equal to God. He made this clear by the language that He used in the four Gospels. When Philip asked Jesus to show him the Father, Jesus said: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…”
John 14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”
Jesus claimed that—to know Him was to know the one true and living God. To see Him was to see God. To believe in Him was to believe in the only Eternal God. Jesus said that unless a person receives Him as the only Savior of the world, they cannot be saved.
1 John 5:12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
When Jesus began His dissertation with the Pharisees on the subject of Abraham, He said something that utterly shocked their sensibilities.
John 8:51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.
If Jesus was seeking to gain their confidence, this sentence immediately turned them defensive. To intimate that He had authority greater than Abraham or one of the Old Testament prophets was utterly offensive.
John 8:52-53 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
Jesus then directs these leaders of Israel back to the fact of His eternity. In order to explain who He is, He had to define His true origin.
John 8:56-59 “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.” 57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” 59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Whatever courtesies the Jews might have extended to Jesus up to this point, they were now ready to stone Him to death. Jesus had not simply claimed greater authority over the words of Abraham, He now took for Himself the eternal name for God—“I AM.”
By claiming this title, Jesus was stating that He was the voice of God from the burning bush, in the Book of Exodus, that spoke to Moses.
Exodus 3:13-14 Then Moses said to God, “Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
We must pause now to consider where we are at, in the discussion of “who Jesus is.”
Many people—when they arrive at this destination where they realize that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal God—they can go no further. When a man claims to be God, we have reached the limits of reason.
It was because Jesus claimed to be the eternal God, that many Jews today cannot receive Him as the Messiah. The traditions of the elders in Jerusalem determined that the Messiah would be only a man, like the Old Testament prophets. This is puzzling, since there is such a large body of Hebrew prophecies which describe the Messiah as “God.”
The Messiah will be God in Human Flesh.
The following Old Testament Prophecies described the Messiah as being “God”:
The Messiah will be the Great “I AM” of the Old Testament.
The Messiah will be the eternal one who made all things.
The Messiah existed eternally as God; but from eternity, in His wisdom, decided that He would offer His life for the sins of all men.
The Messiah will come to Earth and be called “Mighty God.”
The Messiah will be presented to Israel as “Your God.”
The Messiah shall be referred to as “The first and the last.”
The Messiah shall be a descendant of David, who is called “THE LORD, OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”
The Messiah will be both David’s Son and God’s Son, a King and the great Jehovah God who created the universe.
The common people knew that the Messiah was the LORD, Jehovah.
The nation of Israel and the Jews will finally “look upon” the crucified One and understand that He is their Messiah, their God.
In the gospel of John Chapter 8:58, we see the leaders of Israel take up stones to kill Jesus for His statement, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” According to the law of Moses, a man who claimed to be God, has committed Blasphemy and should be stoned to death. There is only One God, and no man could take this title for himself. The problem was—Jesus was no ordinary man; He was God dwelling within the body of a man, which was the prediction of Isaiah Chapter 7, “Immanuel, God with us,” Prophecy 165. Isaiah was not simply predicting that God would be on our side, He would come to earth to live amongst us as God.
Can you imagine a person who has been described as a wonderful and gracious teacher, who then comes to sit before you and claim that He is the eternal God? What would your reaction be? Most people would quickly end the conversation and walk away in shock and dismay. Not many would care to continue a discussion with anyone who claims to be God. When we put ourselves in the place of the leaders in Israel, would we have reacted any differently?
The problem for these leaders is that although they were appointed to be the teachers of the Law of God, they apparently were not very well taught themselves.
It is important to understand that a large body of the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah describe Him as being “The Son of God.”
The Messiah will be the Son of God.
There are seven Old Testament prophecies that either state or allude to the fact that the Messiah will be the “Son of God.” The seventh, although not referring directly to the “Son,” is generally understood to be a Messianic prophecy, describing the coming of God’s Son and those who are waiting for Him.
2 Samuel 7:14 “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.”
1 Chronicles 17:13 “I will be his Father, and he shall be My son…”
Psalms 2:7 “I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’ ”
Psalms 89:26 He shall cry to Me, “You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.”
Proverbs 30:4 Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, If you know?
Isaiah 9:6-7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God.
Isaiah 33:2 O LORD, be gracious to us; We have waited for You.
With such a great witness to the Messiah as the “Son of God,” why do many Jews today find that it is impossible to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, because He claimed to be the Son of God?
Clearly, it was the intention of the Old Testament scriptures to inform us that the Messiah would be God’s Son. When Jesus referred to Himself as The Son of God, He was firmly stating that He was the one to whom all the Old Testament prophecies of the Bible were written. Which Son was Isaiah referring to, in chapter 9:6-7, if not God’s Son? In the context of this verse, Isaiah writes that this “Son” is the “Mighty God.” See Prophecy 171.
Further proof of Jesus’ claim that He is God was His bold assertion that He is able to forgive sins. All of us can and should forgive the sins of those who hurt, offend, or take advantage of us. We cannot, however, speak for God and forgive the sins that are committed against God (All sins are committed against God, whether directly or indirectly). In Jesus stating that certain individual’s sins were forgiven, He was forgiving sins committed against God.
Mark 2:5-7 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” 6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Luke 7:36-49 Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. 37 And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil… 48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
An interesting perspective on the woman who had committed many sexual sins and was forgiven by Jesus is the implied principle that sexual sin is a personal affront to God. What we do with our bodies in committing sin are not innocent acts, limited only to ourselves; they offend God who made our bodies for Him and Holy living.
It is at this point that we must ask the question, “Who is Jesus?”
We are compelled to make a decision. Either Jesus is God, or He is not. Either He has the right to forgive sins, or He does not. The importance of this subject is observed by the claims that Jesus makes and the answers that we must give for who we believe that He is. If Jesus is the eternal God of the universe, then we must decide whether or not we are willing to submit our lives to Him as Lord and Savior. If He is not God, then we must forever put out of our mind any further consideration of Him.
When the men who had been following Jesus were confronted with the question of who He was, they were also compelled to decide His true identity. When Jesus presented the hard questions that demanded an answer as to His true identity, many people simply walked away and no longer followed Him.
Others asked Jesus what they must do to please God. Jesus said, “Believe in Me.”
John 6:28-29 Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
In the question of Moses providing bread for the children of Israel in the desert, Jesus said that He was the bread which came down from heaven. He claimed to be the answer to the question of meaning and purpose in life.
John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
Jesus claimed to be the single source for eternal life.
John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
The Jews could not reconcile the fact that Jesus was claiming to be the eternal God, because they knew that He was the son of Joseph and Mary, from Nazareth.
John 6:41-42 The Jews then complained about Him, because He said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that He says, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus continues His claims by stating—to believe in Him is to have eternal life. He claimed that a person must “eat His flesh and drink His blood” in order to have eternal life.
John 6:47-56 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”
Jesus meant that eternal life does not come by a casual acknowledgment of Him. As a person eats or drinks—whatever they partake of becomes a part of every cell of their body—so also must we take Jesus into every fiber of our being, to make Him our life.
The Catholic church missed this deep spiritual meaning and took only the outward physical words of Jesus. Catholic doctrine states that the bread is the literal body of Jesus, and the wine is the literal blood of Jesus. This in not at all what Jesus intended. He was not concerned with outward physical acts, but the inward transformation of the heart and mind to belong completely to Him. In the same verse, Jesus said that these things (eating His flesh and drinking His blood) were “spiritual” examples of the need to make salvation personal.
Those who heard Jesus say these things also had a very difficult time understanding what He meant. Without carefully considering who Jesus was and exactly what He meant, they gave up and walked away.
John 6:60-61 Therefore many of His disciples, when they heard this, said, “This is a hard saying; who can understand it?” 61 When Jesus knew in Himself that His disciples complained about this, He said to them, “Does this offend you?
Many people today are offended by Jesus’ statement that He is the only way to heaven. They are further insulted by the fact that He called us all “sinners,” with no hope of eternal life, apart from His Salvation. Those who heard Him say these things 2,000 years ago could not receive Him—even as many today also find it impossible to accept that Jesus is God and the only Savior of the world.
John 6:66 From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.
When Jesus asked the twelve men, who had been following Him for three years, if they would also leave Him—Peter answered with the most important question of life: “Where else can we go? Only You have the words of eternal life.”
John 6:67-68 Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68 But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
After deeply considering who Jesus really was, Peter determined that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Matthew 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Finally, in the most profound and undeniable proof for who He is, Jesus kept His promise and rose from the dead on the third day after He was brutally crucified. This is an event which is proven by eyewitness testimony and has never, in 2,000 years, been impeached. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most substantiated event in the history of the world. The reason today that the world still highly elevates Jesus as the Savior of the world is that—2,000 years ago, He rose from the dead; and this fact is proven by time and the record of antiquity.
For detailed evidence for the Certainty of Jesus Resurrection, see the chapter: “The Certainty of the Resurrection.”
The entirety of this web site and all of my books, are dedicated to a demonstration of the facts in evidence that prove, beyond any doubt, that Jesus is God and the only Savior of the world.
You might also be interested in these articles:
Empirical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ
40 Empirical Facts that Prove the Existence of God
The Historical Record of Jesus Life from Secular Sources
Historical Evidence For Jesus Resurrection
 Robert E. Van Voorst Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence Eerdmans Publishing, 2000. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9 page 16 states: “biblical scholars and classical historians regard theories of non-existence of Jesus as effectively refuted”
James D. G. Dunn “Paul’s understanding of the death of Jesus” in Sacrifice and Redemption edited by S. W. Sykes (Dec 3, 2007) Cambridge University Press ISBN 052104460X pages 35-36 states that the theories of non-existence of Jesus are “a thoroughly dead thesis”
The Gospels and Jesus by Graham Stanton, 1989 ISBN 0192132415 Oxford University Press, page 145 states : “Today nearly all historians, whether Christians or not, accept that Jesus existed”.