Get to know Jesus
Jesus is the creator God and eternal King of kings. He was born fully human of Jewish descent. He came with a servant’s heart, died on a wooden cross set on a hill he had created. Yet it was not the nails that held Him there but His love for you and me. Find out more in the following four posts.
John’s gospel presents Jesus as God more than any of the other three Gospels. Being God, makes Jesus incomparable to any human who ever lived.
While born a human, Jesus did not cease to be God, He just limited Himself while on earth to live as a human and relied totally on God the Father.
Jesus as the Word
John 1:1-14 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind….”
This can be a challenging concept but Jesus was and is the Word in human form and the Word is Jesus expressed in written form. We rely on the Holy Spirit to illuminate the Word to speak to our hearts and this is what brings the Word of God alive and makes it life-changing.
Jesus, a member of the Trinity
The scriptures present a concept we call the Trinity, which is a word describing God as three persons in one: God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Elohim, the Hebrew word for God found in the first verse of scripture is a plural Hebrew word indicating the plurality of God. The Trinity is very evident at the Baptism of Jesus where the Father speaks over His beloved Son and the Holy Spirit descends on Him like a dove. (Matthew 3:13-17 / John 1:32-34)
God the Son came to earth, putting aside his divinity and lived in human form. Philippians 2:6-7 As a human with human limitations, Jesus relied totally on God to lead and guide Him, but He did not cease to be God.
Jews understood Jesus claimed to be God
One of the key accusations the Jewish leaders at the time of Jesus made against him was, that the terms he used about himself, such as “Son of Man”, meant that he claimed to be God. Either He was crazy or a liar or He spoke the truth, but there can be no doubt that he made this claim because that is one of the reasons they called for His death.
The I AM of the burning bush
Moses in the Old Testament meets God at the burning bush and asks His name. God replied with that unique “I AM” statement (Exodus 3:1-17) speaking of His eternal self-existence. Jesus presented himself as the I AM of the burning bush. In John 8:59 Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am” which meant that he claimed to be God and the Jewish leaders wanted to stone Him for blasphemy.
Jesus proved He was God
John records the miracles Jesus performed that proved He was who He said he was:
- Jesus fed 5000+ people with bread and thus proved He was the bread of life. John 6:1-13
- Jesus gave sight to the blind and proved He was light. John 9:1-12
- Jesus walked through the locked door. John 20:19.
- Jesus as the Good Shepherd reached out to a man who no one had helped for 38yrs. John 5:1-14
- When the nobleman believed Jesus, he went on his way, he found the truth that his son was alive. John 4:50
- Jesus proved He was the grapevine by changing water into wine in Cana. John 2:1-11
- Jesus raised Lazarus proving he was the resurrection. John 11:38-44
Any teaching that takes away from Jesus being God, and considers Him to be a mere human or created or something else, does not have the true Jesus. They have a different gospel.
We understand Jesus to be the Co-creator, all-powerful and self-existent God who reached down in love to us. Once you know Jesus as not only human but as God, then it will help you trust Him more. Start to think about what these 7 I Am statements say about Jesus and how that relates to you.
Jesus understands what it is like to be you and I. Jesus, although God, chose to be born as a human like us. In this way, He experienced hunger, tiredness, pain, temptation and rejection.
Philippians 2:6–7 (NIV)
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
A human story
The Gospel of Luke takes time to present to us the humanity of Jesus. The genealogy recorded in Luke starts with Adam, the first human and provides more insight into His birth and boyhood than any other gospel Luke 2:41-52. Isaiah 53 tells us that from a human perspective, there was nothing special about Him.
2 ….. he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
A human touch
Luke tells the story of Jesus as one who came to reach out to the lost, the sick, the sinful and the possessed. The point of Jesus being human is that he is able to reach out to us with compassion and understanding. Luke 5:12-16 records the story of Jesus meeting a leper, an outcast, an untouchable and Jesus reaches His hand out and touches the man and brings healing. The story then says that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places.
13 And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him…..16 But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.
We know from the gospels that Jesus was tempted to sin. Luke 4:1-13 records some of those temptations but we can be sure Satan looked for many opportunities to tempt Him and yet Jesus resisted. He understands what it is like to be tempted and knows how to help us when we are tempted.
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Not only did Jesus experience life as a human, He experienced, betrayal, rejection, shame and intense suffering on the cross as a human. No other religion has the maker of that religion sacrificing himself and giving up so much for the good of their followers. Jesus did this because he loved us and wanted to provide a way for us to be forgiven, loved and blessed for all eternity.
As well as being God, Jesus is human and understands our human challenges. Be encouraged that you can always approach Jesus at any time, he will understand your circumstances and always have compassion for you. So, bring all that you are and need to the Lord in prayer.
Matthew’s gospel is focused on the life of Jesus as the promised Messiah for the Jewish people. The Messiah was promised to be a descendant of Abraham and come from the tribe of Judah in the family lineage of King David. He is identified in Revelation5:5 by the title “The Lion of Judah”, a very Jewish title.
The Promised Messiah
The Jewish people were looking for a Messiah who would rescue them from the Roman occupation and not one that would come and die on the cross. This is one of the reasons why they did not recognise Him and so he was rejected as the Messiah. Messiah (Hebrew) means anointed one and is the same word as Christ (from the Greek equivalent)
After the resurrection, salvation opened up to all peoples of the earth because Jesus is the Messiah of the whole world. However, it is valuable to have some understanding of the Jewish background to His life because it gives a deeper understanding of Him and the scriptures.
A Jewish background to Jesus life
- In the Hebrew language, Jesus name would be Yeshua which means salvation.
- Joshua in the Old Testament has the same Hebrew name as Jesus. Joshua is like Jesus in that he led the Israelites into the promises of God.
- The genealogy in Matthew starts with Abraham. Abraham was the father of the whole Jewish race.
- The first verse of Matthew refers to Jesus as both the “Son of Abraham” and the “Son of David”:
- God made an unconditional covenant (contract) with Abraham the Patriarch of the Jewish race. It will find ultimate be fulfilled through Jesus. Genesis 12, Genesis 17 . Visit GotQuestions for more information.
- God made an unconditional covenant with King David from the tribe of Judah. It will ultimately be fulfilled through Jesus, a blood descendant of David. Jesus will one day rule the earth from King David’s throne which will be restored in Jerusalem. 2 Samuel 7:8-17 Visit GotQuestions for more information
- This helps explain why God will fulfill the promises in His Word to restore Israel spiritually (Ezekiel 37:1-14) and not just return them to the Land which happened 70yrs ago.
- The Old Testament prophets and the Apostles were all Jewish.
- Jesus will be a Jewish man for all eternity.
The Jewish Passover feast (and other feasts) tell us something about Jesus. The original Passover feast included the sacrifice of a lamb. If you are put off by the idea of an innocent lamb suffering for something it did not do, then you will understand the idea of Jesus on the cross, as the innocent “lamb” sacrificed for our sins.
The story of Joseph found in the book of Genesis is a picture of the life of Jesus. Joseph was rejected by his Jewish brothers, sold for 20 pieces of silver and his father Jacob understood him to be dead. Jesus likewise was rejected, betrayed for pieces of silver and presented to His Father as dead. Joseph was raised up to save a gentile nation (Egypt). He looked like a gentile and was unrecognisable to his Jewish brothers. Today, faith in Jesus looks very gentile (non-Jewish) in nature. There was great weeping when his brothers recognised Joseph and were reconciled to him as there will be in the future when Israel as a nation (during troubled times) recognises Jesus as their Messiah. (Zechariah 12:10-14)
Understanding these things will give you a new depth of appreciation of the Old Testament (Hebrew) scriptures and the message God wants to convey about His Son who was the promised son of Abraham and son of King David of Israel. It would be good to grow in your understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith
Jesus lived as a servant.
Mark’s gospel highlights the servant aspect of Jesus life. It records no genealogy, because a servant’s genealogy is not important, and Mark records Jesus doing many things “immediately” indicating “He got the job done”.
The other gospels also highlight the servant heart of Jesus in how he labored with compassion for the people. We should really be in awe of the idea of Jesus, the Creator, the Son of God coming as a servant because it is an expression of amazing love.
There are a number of scriptures which focus on Jesus as a servant and His call for us to also serve.:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Isaiah 52:13-15 prophesy of Jesus as the successful servant and Isaiah 53 as the suffering Servant.
It is John’s gospel that records Jesus humbly washing the disciples’ feet, the task of a lowly servant.
In the same way, Jesus calls us to serve and has given us all the ability and the gifting necessary to serve.
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,
Just as Jesus came to serve, so we should have the same heart to serve and be in pray for opportunities to serve. This is one of the meanings of being a follower of Jesus.
….23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’