Koinonia
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Koinonia

A Look at Who the Bible Says Jesus Was … and Why It Matters

A quick study of some verses from the Gospel of John

For God so loved the world; John 3:16
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash

Who is Jesus? Do you know?

These days, there’s a lot of confusion about this man who walked the earth two thousand years ago.

Wikipedia gives this description of Him in the first paragraph of their entry for “Jesus”:

Jesus (c. 4 BC — c. AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity, the world’s largest religion. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (the Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

I wouldn’t say, like Wikipedia did, that “most” Christians believe this. I would say all Christians do. And if you don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God, God in the flesh, and the long-awaited Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, then you’re not really a Christian.

Why do Christians believe this about Jesus? Because this is who the Bible says Jesus is, and we believe the Bible. In this post, I’m going to share some key verses from the Gospel of John that explain who Jesus was and is.

John is also known as the “Beloved Disciple” because he had a close relationship with Jesus. At one point, during The Last Supper, he is described as leaning against Jesus’ chest (John13:25). This verse uses the same Greek phrase as in John 1:18 (NASB), which describes Jesus’ relationship with God the Father:

No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

That’s close.

If anyone would know about Jesus, it would be his beloved disciple, John.

So, it makes perfect sense to look to his Gospel to find out more about who Jesus is, and even more so because he, more than any other Gospel writer, focused on Jesus’ identity (see John 20:30–31).

Jesus is the Living Word

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1–3, 14 NASB)

In the beginning, when God spoke the world into existence, back in Genesis 1, He was speaking life into all things through the Word … Jesus. The Greek term used here for “Word” is Logos. It was a familiar concept to both the Jews and the Gentiles of that day, although it had slightly different connotations for the two groups.

The Jews were used to hearing “word” being used to refer to the enacting of God’s will (see Psalm 33:6, 107:20, 119:89, 147:15–18). It was the personification of God’s work and revelation.

For the Gentiles, however, Logos held a slightly different meaning. It was a more concrete intermediary between the immaterial spiritual world and the material physical world. So, the Word acts as a mediator between us and God (see Hebrews 9:5).

But the beauty of John’s Gospel is that takes both these ideas that appeal to Jews and Gentiles alike, and then it explains and expands them.

The Book of John:

presents Jesus Christ not as a mere mediating principle like the Greeks perceived, but as a personal being, fully divine, yet fully human. Also, Christ was not simply a personification of God’s revelation as the Jews thought, but was indeed God’s perfect revelation of Himself in the flesh… (GotQuestions.org)

He is the True Light

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (John 1:9, NASB)

Light can help reveal things that were previously hidden, and it can help us see where we need to go, even as it can help us see what’s around us.

Whenever I think about light, I can’t help but think about that verse in Psalm. You know the one I mean.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105, NASB)

I think we could easily substitute Word (Jesus) in there for word (law, Bible)

In every scene of the Book of John, we find Jesus doing or saying something that challenges others (either His disciples, followers, Pharisees, or other people) to think about some ways in which they are not living up to their part of their covenant relationship with God. And he calls us to do the same.

The Word points out where we don’t measure up, so we can get everything out in the open, confess it, and deal with it. At the same time, the Light shows us exactly the way in which we need to go to protect and grow in our relationship with Him.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” (John 8:12, NASB)

The Light leads us step by step along our journey toward restoration with God. All we have to do is follow.

He is the explanation of God

I quoted John 1:18 above, so I won’t do it again. But I will share one of my favorite passages of Scripture, Colossians 1:15–18 (NASB), which is somewhat related to it:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.

He is mercy and righteousness, forgiveness and judgment. The embodiment of everything we will ever need. The plug that fills in every hole in our heart and soul.

If we want to know who God is (Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign, Supreme), and how we are supposed to act in relation to Him (put Him first, above everything else), we need look no further than the Son, Jesus.

He is the only begottten Son

I’m sure we’re all very familiar with the following passage:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16–18, NASB)

But what about this one?

He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:10–13, NASB)

The world around us tells us all the time that “We’re all God’s children.” Sadly, this is just not true.

We are all God’s creation. As such, He loves us all and extends grace to us all, but we don’t have that close familial relationship with Him until we believe in Jesus and receive God’s beautiful gift of grace and eternal relationship.

We are sons and daughters of God through adoption, not birth. In other words, we’re not children of God merely because we are human beings He created. Remember, He created animals and plants too. He doesn’t give them the right to become His children. He gives us the right to become His children when we believe in Jesus (the firstborn) and what He did for us, and then we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

This right to adoption into God’s family doesn’t depend on any man’s desire or will. It only depends on God’s will. He wants us to be His children, and He made it possible by coming to earth in human form through Jesus Christ.

He is the way by which we must come to God

Another unpopular truth is one that comes straight from Jesus’ mouth. It’s one of His “I Am” statements that point to His deity.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6, NASB)

The world hates this statement. “All roads lead to God,” they protest.

I had a conversation with a coworker once over 17 years ago. She was a professing (if not practicing) Buddhist.

She said, “You think I’m going to hell, don’t you?”

I quoted John 14:6 to her and said, “If you don’t believe that, then yes. I believe you’re headed for hell. But it’s not too late. You can still turn to Jesus.”

That was the last time that woman even attempted to have a conversation with me about religion. She firmly believed all roads lead to God.

And that’s a lie straight from the pits of hell.

Here’s the truth.

He [Jesus] is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:11–12, NASB)

Get to know Jesus. Believe He is who He says He is, and that He can do what He says He can do. Follow Him. His is the path to freedom, healing, and peace with God and others.

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Mishael Witty

Mishael Witty

Committed to making something beautiful out of the broken pieces. www.mishaelaustinwitty.com