Who is Jesus? – Part 1

Jesus once asked his followers this question, “Who do you say I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

That is still a very important question for us to be able to answer today.  In this day and age there has never been a better time for us to get a firm grip on a Biblically solid answer to that question.  Let’s really dig into the question of who Jesus is.

As we answer this question we will discover that the Bible teaches that our answer to this question determines our relationship with God for both time and eternity.

Jesus also told the disciples: “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24). It is obvious that we must understand who Jesus claimed so we can believe in who He is and be saved.

MARK’S ANSWER

(Read Mark 1:1-15)

Most books written about Mark’s gospel tell us that Mark presents the “human” Jesus, that in the gospel of Mark we see Jesus the man.  But, when we let Mark speak for himself we see from his very first sentence that his focus is very definitely on Jesus as the Son of God: ‘The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God‘ (1:1).

Everyone knew Jesus was a man, they could see that for themselves.  The thing that impressed Mark, the thing that he wants to impress upon us as his readers, is the fact that this real man was also God.  Mark presents him as ‘Jesus Christ, the Son of God.‘ and having introduced Jesus to us in this way Mark gives us one demonstration after another to prove that Jesus deserves this title.

To the Jews, to be the Son of God was to be equal with God.  For a man to claim to be the Son of God was blasphemy against God.

Let us see what Mark has to say about him.

Jesus is the Son of God

[1] Mark’s first way of backing up his statement that Jesus is the Son of God is in 1:3. He quotes the prophet Isaiah:
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make his paths straight.’

These words from Isaiah explain the ministry of John the Baptist. What John was doing was preparing the way for the Lord.  But who is ‘the Lord’ ?

The Lord is the God of the Old Testament, the God of the Jews.  But, who is it that came after John the Baptist? For whom did John prepare the way?

Jesus Christ.

According to the prophecy, the one who comes after the messenger (John the Baptist) is the Lord and according to the historical record, the one who came after John the Baptist was Jesus of Nazareth.  This prophecy in Isaiah, together with John the Baptist’s ministry, identifies Jesus of Nazareth as the Lord.  Mark, therefore, identifies Jesus as the Old Testament God, the Lord.

[2] In John the Baptist’s description of Jesus as the one who baptises with the Holy Spirit (1:8), Jesus is again identified as God.  Only God can give his own Spirit. If Jesus has the right and ability to baptise with the Holy Spirit, then Jesus can be no one less than God himself.

[3] The third word comes from God himself: ‘And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” ‘ (1:11). This declaration leaves us with no other conclusion. God himself states clearly who Jesus is – his very own Son.

[4] Mark then shows us Jesus going into Galilee and ‘proclaiming the good news of God.‘ (1:14).

The message Jesus preached is found in Mark 1:15: ‘The time has come. The kingdom of God is near.’  This message makes two very clear points:

Jesus’ first point is that the time has come.  In Greek “the time is fulfilled”.  What Jesus is saying here is that in his coming all the expectations, all the prophecies, all the plans and purposes of God, all that God promised, have been fulfilled.  In the coming of Jesus, God’s time has come. In his coming history reaches its climax.

Jesus’ second point is the kingdom of God is near.  Again in the Greek: “the kingdom of God has come near”.  Jesus is not simply saying that God’s kingdom is somewhere nearby, but that with his coming the kingdom of God also comes.  His arrival brings the kingdom of God near to the people of earth.

If we read further in the same chapter of Isaiah which was quoted in Mark 1:2-3 we come to these words:
‘You who bring good tidings to Zion,
go up on a high mountain.
You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem,
lift up your voice with a shout,
lift it up, do not be afraid;
say to the towns of Judah,
“Here is your God!”‘ (Isaiah 40:9)

Just as the words in Isaiah 40 speak of the coming of John the Baptist, so these words speak of the coming of Jesus Christ. What is the message here? – ‘Here is your God!’

God has come to us. In this man Jesus, God has come. That is the good news. That is the central basic fact of the gospel.  The fact is that the Word of God answers the question “Who is Jesus?” by very clearly teaching us that Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus is equal to God, and that He is God Himself.


Please Note: This message was derived from content originally written by Rosemary Bardsley and edited by Dwight Budden for public presentation. Please visit Rosemary’s site at www.godswordforyou.com

For more information and disclaimer please click here.

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