Jesus

Who Jesus Is And The Reason That He Came To Earth Are The Two Most Important Questions Of Human Life

When we examine the words and conduct of Jesus of Nazareth, we are astounded by His singularity as a human being. Never before in the history of the world has there been a individual equal to Jesus.

Those who see Jesus as a mere myth or the creation of men, fail to take the time to investigate the evidence that has been left for us to examine. If we simply read the words that Jesus spoke and see the ways in which He treated people, we are able to comprehend why the Bible is the best-selling book of all time.[1]

When Jesus spoke to the poor, the humble, the sick, and the repentant, He exercised great mercy and grace. To those who were arrogant, self absorbed, and insensitive to their own deficiencies; Jesus was able to reveal their weaknesses, while also showing them unconditional love. Everything that Jesus said and did during His short thirty-three and one half years on earth, displayed compassion and caring. Even while being abused and tortured, Jesus prayed for those who brutalized Him. When Jesus clearly had the power to stop the pain and suffering that was inflicted upon Him, He chose to bear it and stay the course so that our Salvation would be possible.

It is the details of Jesus life that makes His story so compelling. When we examine the literary components of this plot, we find that it contains many compelling internal proofs for authenticity. First, the entire premise of the four New Testament Gospels, makes no sense if we are going to assume that this story is a fabrication. If the reason that a person, or group of individuals, set out to create a new religion or develop a large group of followers, why did they choose a lead character like Jesus of Nazareth?

Consider that these writers of the New Testament claim that their primary character, thinks that He is God. He claimed that He is the Creator of all that exists, and has the power to forgive all sins. He stated that He also has ability to raise Himself from the dead, and declared that He is the only way to heaven. Jesus is arrested for blasphemy, a Jewish capital crime; as well as sedition against the Roman government, also a capital offense. He is sentenced to death and buried in a borrowed tomb.

If the plan was to create a new religion that would attract millions of followers, the writers failed miserably. The leaders of Israel rejected Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah because they felt that He failed to meet the qualifications that they had established. First and foremost, the Messiah must come as a conqueror. He would have to deliver the Jews from the oppression of the Roman government and establish His kingdom on the earth as King of the Jews. The followers of Jesus also saw Him as a failure. When He was arrested, convicted, and crucified; everyone who had followed Jesus for the past three years, hid themselves in fear for their lives.

By all accounts, at the time that these events were taking place, Jesus was a miserable failure. We have the benefit today of understanding all that Jesus did, in light of the prophecies which predicted these events. At the time that Jesus conducted His ministry in Israel, very few people really understood Him. Even fewer believed that He was who He claimed to be, until after He was crucified and seen alive.

When a person is successful in creating an attractive story that causes people to follow them, the entire plot is far different from that of Jesus Christ. An good example of this, is the creation of the Church of Scientology by the late L. Ron Hubbard. Beginning as a popular science fiction writer in the 1930’s. Later he wrote the book, “Dianetics, which he called “the modern science of mental health.” Mr. Hubbard founded the church of scientology in 1952 and grew it into a world-wide organization. In 1948, during a science fiction convention, L. Ron Hubbard said that “if a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”[2]

If the leader of a new religion is poor, hated, despised, convicted of a capital crime, and sentenced to death, it is not likely that many would be attracted to this story. The genuine nature of Jesus life, death, and resurrection, is the reason that so many literary scholars have defined it as absolutely authentic. The specific details and slight differences in the four gospel accounts, all lead the reader to believe that what has been written, is genuine.

One example that is seen in the New Testament, is the difference in testimonies—between Matthew and Peter’s narrative of Judas’ suicide. Matthew describes Judas as hanging himself on a tree—after his betrayal of Jesus. Peter, in Acts chapter 1, describes Judas as falling head first into a field—with his intestines spilling out. Some critics of the Bible see these differences in the description of Judas death, as a discrepancy that casts doubt upon the reliability of the New Testament.

Matthew says that Judas, “Hanged himself.”

Peter says that Judas; “falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out…”

These accounts of Matthew and Peter do not conflict with each other; they are the records of the actual occurrences which took place, as each of these men described different parts of the same event.

Matthew recounts how Judas hanged himself. Peter describes further details of this event where the rope that was used, apparently snapped and Judas fell into the rocks of the field below. This fall ruptured his stomach area, spilling out his intestines onto the ground. This is the reason the field was later called the “Field of Blood.”

When different people are at the same scene of an incident, they will often remember different details of the same event. It is common for a person who is interviewing eyewitnesses to hear added details that others who were present, did not think of or say. These differences are understood by experts as consistent with the true events which took place.

As we observe this phenomenon in Matthew and Peter’s descriptions of Judas’ death, we understand that this brings great credibility to their testimony, as valid and authentic accounts of the same event. There are no discrepancies between these two narratives; there are simply additional details given by Peter, which Matthew did not mention. If the story was a fabrication, those who wrote the fabrication would be careful to make sure that the accounts of all witnesses were the same, so as to remove any doubts about their authenticity.

There are many places in the narrative of Jesus life, death, and resurrection, which retain slight differences in their descriptions. These are clear evidence of authenticity.

Regarding Jesus Claim to Be God:

In order for any Being to be classified as God, He must be perfect in every regard. There is nothing that He must learn; nothing that He must improve upon. Therefore, the primary characteristic of God is that He is always Good. It is impossible that God could ever do anything wrong or commit any act that is less than perfect or evil. If it were possible that God could be found—imperfect in any of His actions, He would not be God.

When we apply this requirement to Jesus as a man, this is when the above definition begins to take on new meaning. Imagine a perfect man. As Jesus stood before the men of that day, He constantly showed Himself as the perfect and eternal God of the universe. Any person who carefully studies all the words and actions of Jesus will find that He is faultless in all of His words and behavior—at all times. After Peter had the opportunity to observe Jesus for awhile, He realized that He was no normal man. Notice the words that Peter says to Jesus:

When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Luke 5:8

The men who had lived with Jesus for three years, testified of His sinless and perfect nature:

Paul: For He made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Peter: (Jesus) “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 1Peter 2:22

John: And you know that Jesus was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. 1 John 3:5

Despite His sinless perfection, Jesus looked like any other man. He had no special features or stature that would distinguish Him as God. Isaiah said that He was unremarkable in His appearance.

There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. Isaiah 53:2 (NLT)

It was only when Jesus spoke or acted, that it was immediately apparent that He was not a normal human being.

And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But Jesus was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” Matthew 8:24-27

When Jesus taught, people were astonished:

When He had come to His own country, He taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished and said, “Where did this Man get this wisdom and these mighty works?” Matthew 13:54

When Jesus spoke, people marveled at His gracious words:

So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. Luke 4:22

The people were amazed when Jesus forgave sins, as only God has this right.

And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Luke 7:49

The Temple guards were in awe over the manner in which Jesus spoke:

The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” John 7:46

Peter rightly identified Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God:

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Matthew 16:16

Even the demons identify Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God:

And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Luke 4:41

Every word, every deed—all of His life, Jesus was truly good. He came to earth and offered His life for our sins. He allowed evil men to beat and crucify Him because He alone is good. The great God of the universe came to earth and proved His existence to us—by the presence of Jesus of Nazareth.


The Claims That Jesus Made Concerning Himself

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 during the time He is depicted by the New Testament, would place any writer in a classification of incompetency.[3]

Second, we have a substantial record of Jesus existence in Jerusalem, from the Jewish Talmud and the Roman Senate—during the period of history that coincides with the narrative of the New Testament. If Jesus is just a myth, why do we find Him in the chronicles of both the Romans and the Jews? Neither of these hostile parties had any interest in preserving a record of His existence, yet this is precisely what they accomplished by their adversarial comments that they recorded in their secular records.

In this section, we will: Examine the claims that Jesus made about Himself, and determine who He is, by His words and works.

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 focus all of our attention upon Him.

Other religious leaders seek to teach certain truths; Jesus said that He is the truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Other religious leaders try to point us to the light; Jesus said He is the light.

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.” John 8:12

Others tell us where we can find satisfaction; Jesus said that only He can truly satisfy us.

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. John 6:51

The various religions of the world tell us how we can have eternal life; Jesus said that He is the bestower of eternal life.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25

Normally, anyone who would make such brazen claims would be viewed as a narcissist or an egomaniac. There is also a second possibility; Jesus is telling the truth.

Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that before Abraham was born, He existed.

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

Jesus said that Moses and all the prophets of the Hebrew scriptures were writing about Him.

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.” Luke 24:44

What were the prophecies that Jesus was referring to?

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 131 of the prophecies of this book were written.

So Jesus came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” 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. Luke 4:16-20

Compare Isaiah’s words to those spoken by Jesus, in Luke’s gospel, above; when He comes into the synagogue at Nazareth and quotes from this verse, found in Isaiah 61:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God…” Isaiah 61:1-62

Jesus stopped and did not read the text from Isaiah’s prophecy: And the day of vengeance of our God…

Why?

At Jesus’ first arrival on earth, He did not come to complete; “the day of vengeance of our God.” He came to fulfill the first part of Isaiah’s prophecy: “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” On His first visit to earth, Jesus came to offer grace, mercy, and salvation, to every person. He was coming as the suffering Servant of God; the Lamb who would lay down His life for the sins of the world.

At Jesus’ second appearance on earth, at the end of the seven-year tribulation, He is returning as the King of kings and Lord of lords. At His return, Jesus will be bring the vengeance of God to the earth.

When Jesus finished reading the words of Isaiah Chapter 61, He rolled up the scroll and handed it back to the attendant. As He sat down, the eyes of all those in the synagogue were transfixed on Jesus. Then He said these words:

Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing. Luke 4:21

Those who had heard Jesus speak in the synagogue were utterly astonished. The words of these prophecies from Isaiah Chapter 61, could only be fulfilled by the coming of the Messiah. By stating that this prophecy had been fulfilled as Jesus spoke, He was claiming to be the One that Isaiah had written this prophecy for. Jesus said that He would fulfill the first part of Isaiah 61, the acceptable year of the Lord, during his first arrival and then, the day of vengeance of our God, at His return.

Jesus revealed something to us that was hidden in verse 12 of Isaiah 61: There were two parts to the fulfillment of this prophecy. This example from Isaiah 61, which is partially fulfilled in Luke Chapter 4, demonstrates that there can be an earlier fulfillment as well as a later fulfillment of the same prophecy. This principle will prove to be extremely important in our understanding of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament.

Jesus is claiming that all of the prophecies that Isaiah wrote, concerning the coming Messiah, were fulfilled by Him. As you go through this book you will discover that the men who penned the words of the New Testament, believed that Jesus had fulfilled every scripture of the Hebrew prophets. These writers were in a unique position to know whether or not this was true. The Gospel of Matthew was written just 28 years after Jesus rose from the dead, by Matthew Himself (see the chapter: Scourged: Part 2, The Evidence).[4] Matthew repeatedly declares that everything Jesus accomplished during the time that he was recording these events, was a fulfillment of the Hebrew prophecies, regarding the Messiah.

Ten times, after Jesus fulfilled a particular prophecy of the Old Testament, Matthew said: “This was done so that the words of the prophet might be fulfilled.”

  1. Born of a Virgin: Matthew 1:22-23 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Predicted in Isaiah 7:14
  2. Out of Egypt: Matthew 2:15 …and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Predicted in Hosea 11:1
  3. Messiah will be a Nazarene: Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Predicted in Isaiah 11:1
  4. Coming First to the Gentiles: Matthew 4:14-16 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” Predicted in Isaiah 9:1
  5. Taking Our Sickness: Matthew 8:17 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities And bore our sicknesses.” Predicted in Isaiah 53:4 Prophecy 240 and Prophecy 241
  6. He Will Be Gentle: Matthew 12:17-21 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. He will not quarrel nor cry out, Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench, Till He sends forth justice to victory; And in His name Gentiles will trust.” Predicted in Isaiah 42:1
  7. Teaching By Parables: Matthew 13:35 …that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Predicted in Psalm 78:2
  8. On the Foal of a Donkey: Matthew 21:4-5 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.’ ” Predicted in Zechariah 9:9
  9. Disciples Forsake Him: Matthew 26:56 But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. Predicted in Zechariah 13:7
  10. Clothing Gambled For: Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” Predicted in Psalm 22:18

Clearly, Matthew understood that Jesus was the Messiah who is described by these many prophecies. He wanted to ensure that every generation of souls, through all time; would have adequate evidence to believe that Jesus is the only Savior of the world.

Jesus, the Messiah; verified by a venerated Hebrew Scholar:

These facts are of particular importance concerning Paul, who was one of the most highly respected Hebrew scholars of that day; trained by the esteemed Rabbi, Gamaliel. It was Paul’s judgment that Jesus was the object of every Hebrew prophecy of the Messiah.

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them at Thessalonica, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Messiah.” Acts 17:2-3

It is significant that the verses of scriptures that Paul used to convince the Thessalonians that Jesus is the Messiah, are the very same scriptures that are contained within this book

Jesus said: “Believe in Me”

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.

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12

Jesus said that we should not only believe in God, we should believe also in Him.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. John 14:1

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 every book written about Him. We cannot, however, ignore what He has said, and determine 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 said: “follow Me.” Jesus asserted that He is able to quench the insatiable desire that all human beings have for meaning and purpose in their life. Jesus claimed that if we believe in Him; out of our heart will flow, living water.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38

The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” John 1:43

Jesus asserted 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. Jesus is claiming that He is the source of all truth. This is the reason that many people find Him so offensive. Jesus does not afford us the opportunity to remain neutral in our determination of who He is; He demands an answer.

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12

The Bible declares 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.

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. Matthew 10:37

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 of the universe; to know the Creator of all things. Could these claims be accurate? Is it possible that everything Jesus said about Himself is factual?

Jesus said that He was the fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies that were written about the Messiah. He described His own death by crucifixion as the completion of what had been formerly written in the Law and the Prophets (The Old Testament).

Then Jesus 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.” Luke 24:44

He said that when He was “lifted up” on the cross, the stunning reality of His actions would draw all people to Him.

And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. John 12:32

The cross is a place of incredible polarization. People are either profoundly drawn to Jesus because of it, or they are exceedingly offended and repulsed, by it. People are attracted by the Love exhibited by what Jesus has done for us at the cross; while at the same time, offended 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 Jesus 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.

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God (humbly) as a little child will by no means enter it. Luke 18:17

Jesus rebukes the men who had followed Him for their assertiveness in seeking an honored place in His kingdom.

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.” 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?” 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; 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.” Mark 10:35-40

Yet, when He speaks of Himself, Jesus takes an entirely different approach:

And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 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!” 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.” Matthew 26:62-64

It is clear by the above statement that Jesus believed that He is the fulfillment of every Old Testament prophecy that speaks 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.

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. Daniel 7:13

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 prophecies are carefully examined, in contrast to their counterpart scriptures in the New Testament, it is clear that Jesus was purposely fulfilling everything that Isaiah wrote.

Based upon the claims that Jesus made about Himself; able to forgive sin; equal to God; all judgment being His; the only way to heaven; we must make a final determination for His identity. We see Jesus exercising extreme mercy, compassion, forgiveness, sacrifice, and love. How can we reconcile the incredible and loving words and actions of Jesus with His claim to be God? If Jesus is not God, how is it that He was able to do the things that are attributed to Him? If Jesus is insane and simply thinks that He is God, how could he accomplish the miracles that are recorded in the New Testament? If Jesus is simply a liar, how do we reconcile the righteousness of His life with the habitual nature of a liar and deceiver?

The only rational alternative is that Jesus was completely honest in what He said: He really is God—the Creator of all that exists. Jesus came to earth to save us, because we were not able to save ourselves. He died and rose from the dead because He is God and possesses unlimited power. All of the above statements and claims that Jesus made about Himself, require us to define Him as completely unique amongst all the men who have lived upon the face of the earth. These extraordinary attributes also define Jesus as the person that He claims to be: The Messiah, the only Savior of the world.


The Wisdom Of The Ages

There is a particularly interesting place in the New Testament where Jesus confounds the leaders of Israel. These men were highly trained in the Hebrew scriptures and experts in the Law. They achieved their great positions of power because they were intelligent and able to impeach any argument against the existing laws of Israel.

When the Pharisees gathered before Jesus to question Him, it was with the intent of publicly discrediting Him before all those who were listening. Instead, these men were, themselves, confounded. The text that the Pharisees used to trap Jesus was a well-known verse from Psalm 110:1a. In this portion of scripture, The LORD God, is saying to the Messiah, “sit at my right hand till I make your enemies my footstool.” The Pharisees believed that they already knew the answer to this question: “What do you think about the Christ (Messiah), Whose Son is He.” These men believed that the Messiah was the Son of David.

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” Psalms 110:1a

New Testament Fulfillment:

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool” ’? If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his Son?” Matthew 22:41-45

Jesus asks the Pharisees; “if the Messiah is David’s son, then why is He called “Lord”? In other words, how could the Messiah be a human being (David’s son) and also be Lord (God’s Son)?

These men knew and understood that this verse of scripture that Jesus was referring to, was about the Messiah. Only the Messiah could sit at the right hand of Jehovah/God. Jesus believed that these verses from Psalm 110:1 were inspired by God and were true—as did these leaders of Israel. How then, Jesus wanted to know, “if the Messiah is David’s son, how can He also be David’s Lord?”

The Pharisees did not have an answer. They were all bewildered, but not Jesus. The obvious answer to this question is that the Messiah will be both; David’s Lord and His Son, a fact that Jesus made concerning Himself.

The reality that Jesus is both David’s son and his Lord is confirmed by Jesus’ question that He asked of the Pharisees: “How can the coming Christ, the Messiah, be both David’s Son and his Lord?

When Jesus asks this question of the religious leadership of Israel, no one was able to answer Him. This is because it was generally accepted by the Jews that Psalms 110:1 was speaking of the Messiah. If the Messiah is both a son and Lord, He must also be God and man. The idea that God could be dwelling within the person of Jesus Christ, was a reality that was totally unacceptable to the leaders of Israel. Yet, this is precisely what David was predicting when he penned Psalms 110:1.

As Jesus presents their own scriptures, which clearly prove that the Messiah will be both a human being—as He is David’s descendant—and the Lord of heaven, the Pharisees are confounded. They realize that Jesus is claiming to be the one whom David speaks of. As a result, these men are perplexed; they do not know what they should do with Jesus. He accurately interprets David’s true intent when He wrote this Psalm—Yet the reality that Jehovah could be standing before them in the form of a man, was beyond their ability to accept or comprehend. See the chapter: Son and Lord, for more information.

(Jesus told the Pharisees:) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39


A Demonstration of Power and Authority

The truest definition of “meekness,” is “power under control.” When we examine all of the evidence of Jesus life, we see that in the shadow of His meekness there are clear signs of authority. In this section we will see that as Jesus submitted His life to the evil men of this earth who sought His death, He was always in control of every situation.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:10-11

When Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate, He was questioned about the charges that the Jews had made against Him. Although Jesus is the Living God and retained the power to destroy Pilate and every person who falsely accused and condemned Him, He remains silent.

There are two possible reasons for why Jesus said nothing:

First: According to the law, the accused cannot be compelled to incriminate himself.

Today in the United States, a person accused of a crime is protected from self incrimination by the 5th amendment to the constitution. A similar law was in existence at the time that the High Priest questioned Jesus. It was illegal to compel Jesus to incriminate Himself. The Jews violated this law and then convicted Him because He would not answer.

“No one can bring an accusation against himself. Should a man make confession of guilt before a legally constituted tribunal, such confession is not to be said against him unless properly attested by two witnesses.“[5] -Maimonides

“No attempt can be made to lead a man on to self-incrimination. Moreover, a voluntary confession on his part is not admitted in evidence, and therefore, not competent to convict him, unless a legal number of witnesses minutely corroborate his self-accusation.“[6] -Mendelsohn

Second: It is my personal opinion that when Jesus refused to answer the High Priest and Pilate, that He had done so because He was representing you and I at the trial for our sins. Because we are guilty and can offer no defense for our actions, therefore Jesus said nothing as He represented us.

As we examine Jesus silence from a legal standpoint, we may also conjecture that Jesus did not answer the High Priest because He was aware of the law that He was not required to answer to incriminate Himself.

And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” Mark 14:60

Isaiah 53:7 predicts that the Messiah will remain silent before His accusers.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth. Isaiah 53:7

The High Priest continues to press Jesus for an answer. Whatever Jesus said from that point on, should have been inadmissible, because the very judge who should have examined the evidence with impartiality, pressured Jesus to answer him.

But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61-62

The Sanhedrin eventually condemns Jesus to death on evidence that was illegally obtained, and was therefore inadmissible.

We might take a similar view of Jesus silence as He stands now before Pilate:

Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled. Mark 15:4-5

When Pilate scolds and threatens Jesus for not answering him, Jesus speaks up and informs this Roman ruler that the only reason that He is standing before Pilate is because his authority to do so was given to him by God.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:10-11

While in His suffering for our sins, Jesus was fully in control of all the circumstances of His life, death, and resurrection. No man really had the ability to take authority over Jesus because He remained the King of the Universe, even as He was assuming the position of a servant to die for the sins of the world.

The mouths of the most powerful men in Judea were shut by Jesus, as He demonstrates that He has power over all the events of history.

There is an interesting prophecy which was made by Zechariah 11:8a in which he predicts that three shepherds will be dismissed in one month.

I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Zechariah 11:8a

The Three Shepherds Are:

  • Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57-68)
  • Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:11-31)
  • Herod (Luke 23:7-11)

As a result of Jesus being brought before these three evil rulers, God holds them accountable for their actions which led to the death of the Messiah. All three of these shepherds are judged by the Lord in the very same month, after they condemned Jesus and did nothing to save His life. Each ruler had their own careers and lives prematurely ended by God. This, in fulfillment of the word of God through the prophet Zechariah.

Caiaphas was the High Priest in Israel who led the Sanhedrin and the entire nation into the rejection of Jesus as their Messiah.

Pontius Pilate saw every evidence that Jesus was innocent. By his wife’s testimony that Jesus was a good man and her warning that Pilate should not participate in His conviction, He continued in fear of the crowd. Pilate stood guilty of Jesus blood, without he was without excuse. He had observed Jesus’ refusal to defend Himself when He was repeatedly accused of crimes that Pilate knew Jesus did not commit. This Roman ruler was amazed at Jesus’ silence, indicating that Jesus was probably the only man that he had ever known who did not try to defend Himself or give an answer for the crimes which He was accused of. Instead of following his conscience and letting Jesus go free, Pilate was a coward and feared what the Sanhedrin might do if he did not turn Jesus over to be crucified.

Herod never examined the evidence against Jesus himself to see if He was truly guilty. Herod brutally treated Jesus, with great contempt; returning Him to Pilate, who finally put Him to death.

Although there was no real credible evidence against Jesus that should have warranted His death by crucifixion, these three shepherds refused to defend Jesus or even call for a proper trial to be conducted.

See the chapter: The Six Illegal Trials of Jesus.

Zechariah’s prophecy stated that three leaders of Israel would be dismissed as a result of their harsh treatment of the Messiah.

Caiaphas was dismissed by the Syrian governor, Lucius Vitellius, who was appointed by the Roman Government.[7]

Pilate killed himself when he was banished from his job because of his corruption in overseeing Israel.[8]

Herod was removed by the Romans and exiled until he died.[9]

When these three condemned Jesus and did nothing to save His life, they all had their own careers, and lives, prematurely ended by God. This, in fulfillment of the word of God through the prophet Zechariah.

It is interesting that each of these rulers found the end of their careers in the same month that they betrayed Jesus—just as Zechariah had predicted: I dismissed the three shepherds in one month.[10]


Controlling His Death

Jesus made it clear that no one could take His life; He was freely giving it—in fulfillment of what had been written of the Messiah. The Old Testament is replete with hundreds of scriptures which require the Messiah’s death—in order to remove the sins of the world. Jesus was carefully and methodically completing each of these requirements, precisely as they were required. In order to accomplish this great feat, He would need to be in control of absolutely ever minute detail.

“Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:17-18

Jesus was in control of every tiny detail of the final night and day of His life. As we study the words which David had written in the Psalms, words that he intended as prophetic descriptions of the coming Messiah; we see thatPsalm 31 contains four predictions that Jesus carefully fulfilled. It would be a mistake to assume that Jesus arrest, trial, scourging, and crucifixion were actions dictated solely by the Jewish leadership and the Roman government. Although these men are personally responsible for their actions, the Lord is also moving these events into alignment so that every prophecy spoken for the Messiah is fulfilled by Jesus actions and words.

“Into Your hand I commit my spirit…” Psalms 31:5

Luke describes these precise words as Jesus died

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46

Jesus was fully in control of when and where He would make His sacrifice for our sins—both in His death by crucifixion and by His resurrection three days later. Jesus boldly declared before He was crucified that no one had the power to take His life from Him.

Control over those who were in control

As the soldiers come to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asks these men, Whom are you seeking? When Jesus speaks the words, “I am He,” the soldiers fall backwards onto the ground (John 18:6).

In the original text of this verse, the word “He” does not appear. The translators added this word because they felt that it clarified the verse for the reader. In reality, when Jesus answers the guards, He said “I am.” This is the eternal name for God, found in Exodus 3:14, where He instructed Moses to call Him by this name.[11] Jesus was telling those who came to arrest Him that He is the eternal God. Jesus confirmed this fact when He spoke to the Pharisees in John, chapter 8.

Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8:58

David, in writing Psalms 40:14 about the Messiah, prophesies that: Those Who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward. These are the exact words of John’s testimony which occurred when Jesus said, “I am He.”

When the soldiers come to arrest Jesus at the garden of Gethsemane, He made it clear to those who came to take Him by force that they were not orchestrating His arrest; He was allowing these soldiers to arrest Him. As the soldiers approach Jesus, He assumes a place of authority by questioning them: Whom are you seeking? When the soldiers answer “Jesus of Nazareth,” Jesus answers; “I AM.” The translators later added “He,” but this word was not in the original Greek manuscript of this encounter. By answering “I AM,” Jesus was using the eternal name for God—signifying that it was He who was orchestrating these events that would lead to His death and resurrection.

As Jesus speaks the words, “I AM,” the power of the eternal God bursts forth, causing the soldiers to fall backwards.

Jesus was making a very important statement to demonstrate that He was allowing these soldiers to arrest Him. No one at any time had authority over Jesus. It was He who was surrendering His life, and allowing the soldiers to take Him in order to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament—so that all those who would believe in Him could be saved.

Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He.” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:3-6

Jesus Controlled Every Situation

Although Jesus was laying down His life for us as a servant, He was still Lord of the universe and in control over absolutely every event that we read in the four Gospels.

  • The foal of a donkey submits to His authority (Matthew 21:7).
  • The wind and the waves submit to His authority (Mark 4:39).
  • The dead submit to His authority (John 11:43).
  • Death submits to His authority (John 11:25).
  • Sickness and disease, submit to His authority (Luke 18:42).
  • The demons submit to His authority (Luke 4:35).
  • The devil submits to His authority (Matthew 4:10).
  • All History submits to His authority (Matthew 26:56).
  • All the kingdoms of this world will submit to His authority (Matthew 19:28).

One day, every knee will bow to Jesus; every tongue will confess that He is the Lord.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

We have the choice today; to willingly submit our lives to Jesus and be saved, or to have His judgment fall on us later and be crushed. Jesus claimed that every person has a choice: we can come to Jesus willingly, admitting that He is worthy of our devotion and thank Him for all He has done; or we can remain stubborn and refuse. On the day that Jesus appears on the earth again and the people who are alive at that time, realize that He is God, they will submit to His authority. Today, we all live in a great time of grace when God has freely offered us a pardon for all our sin. This time of God’s favor will not last forever. There is an appointed time when Jesus will come again in judgement and then it will be too late. As with all great offers, they have an expiration date.

Then Jesus looked at them and said, “What then is this that is written: ‘The stone (Jesus) which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone’? Whoever falls on that stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Luke 20:17-18


To Bear Witness of the Truth

One of the primary reasons that Jesus came to earth, was to make it absolutely clear that God exists and He cares deeply for everyone of us. The world has many misconceptions about whether or not God is real, and whether or not Jesus was anything more than a myth or legend. When Jesus came to our planet, it was His intent to tell us the truth about these matters and settle these concerns, once and for all.

…For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37

Telling the truth is ultimately what cost Jesus His life. Because He always spoke honestly, the people who first heard and saw Him, could not accept that God was standing before them in the form of a poor carpenter.

Isaiah prophesied that no deceit would come from the mouth of the Messiah.

The truth was not popular during the time of Jesus, and it is still quite unpopular today. People would rather be told that they are good and on their way to heaven, rather than the truth that they are a sinner, and in great need of a Savior. The Gospel of Jesus Christ defines for us, the fact that God has done everything that is required for salvation. There is nothing left for us to do except believe and trust-in the completed work that Jesus has accomplished for us on the cross.

If we examine the requirements of all religions and compare them to what Jesus has said, we see a stark contrast: salvation by grace through faith or salvation by works through the institutions of man. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is singular in declaring that there is nothing that we can do to earn God’s favor—except believe in the One that He has sent to save us.

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” John 6:29

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

During the time that Jesus conducted His earthly ministry, the religious Jews of Israel were not teaching the people the truth about God. Though the Pharisees were charged by the Lord to instruct the people in the Word of God; instead, they taught the traditions of men. For this reason, the people were misled in the correct way to approach God and have a relationship with Him.

See the chapter: To Clarify God’s Law, for details on the “Traditions of the Elders,” versus the Law of God.

Jesus brought the people back to a place of simple worship of God without the restrictions of the church or the traditions of men. Jesus told the leaders of Israel that they had made the word of God void or of no effect, by their traditions.

Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Matthew 15:6

…making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13

Because Jesus told the people that what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching the people was in direct conflict with the word of God, their hatred and fear of Jesus grew daily. It was because the religious leaders of Israel feared that they would lose their great positions of authority, should the people follow what Jesus said, these men determined to kill Him.

This book is about the most extraordinary man who has ever lived. The writers who described Jesus, made certain that they gave us a full disclosure of every detail they could record. Even with all that these men wrote, they admitted that if everything that Jesus had said and done had been written down at that time, not even all the library in the world could contain it.

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen. John 21:25

See The Chapter “The Uniqueness Of Jesus,” For 181 Additional Chapters Regarding Jesus


NOTES:
[1] According to Guinness Word Records: more than 5 billion Bibles, with an equal number of other books, written by multiple authors, during the last 2,000 years. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/best-selling-book-of-non-fiction/
[2] During a science fiction convention in 1948: L. Ron Hubbard said “Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion.”Methvin, Eugene H. (May 1990). “Scientology: Anatomy of a Frightening Cult.” Reader’s Digest. pp. 16, Lawrence, Sara. (April 18, 2006) “The Secrets of Scientology” The Independent, Staff. (April 5, 1976). “Religion: A Sci-Fi Faith.” Time.
[3] 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”.
[4] Thiede, Carsten Peter & D’Ancona, Matthew, The Jesus Papyrus, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1996
[5] Maimonides in “Sanhedrin” IV p.2
[6] Mendelsohn in “Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews” p.133
[7] Antiquitates Judaicae 18.95-97 Bond, Caiaphas, p. 86.
[8] Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiae ii: 7
[9] Josephus, Antiquities 18.240–252, War 2.181–183. For the date, see Schürer 352–353 n. 42
[10] We should remember that when God speaks a word or makes a determination, He does not always finish that word immediately. From our vantage point it may appear that what He has spoken has not come to pass. When God speaks, what He has said is already accomplished, for no man can prevent the word of the Lord from taking place. Often in the scriptures we see God stating that something is going to happen, only to read that the actual event did not take place for many years later. When God told Abraham and Sarah that they would have son, Abraham most likely believed that this promise would occur very soon. In reality it was many years later that God accomplished His promise.

Genesis 21:1-2 And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. 2 For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.

When God said the three shepherds would be dismissed in one month, we should not read this as all three will be visibly taken from their positions of authority on the same month. God determined on the same month that all three would lose their positions, the same month that Jesus was crucified. The visible removal of the men may have occurred later. We must understand the accomplishment of God’s word from an eternal perspective where linear time does not occur. From eternity, because God spoke this word against these three men, it was already done in the month they betrayed Jesus, the Messiah.
[11] Exodus 3:14 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.’ ”