It’s so odd to ask that question considering all the information we have about him and considering that Jesus is who he is regardless of what we think. But I ask anyway just to show how narrow our thinking is at times. Some responses might include…
- Jesus is the Son of God (Matthew 3:17)
- Jesus is God in the flesh (John 8:58)
- Jesus was a great human teacher (Matthew 7:28-29)
- Jesus was a liar and imposter (Popular atheistic view)
- Jesus was a lunatic (A view that he was just a deluded person)
It’s not entirely inappropriate to ask who Jesus is or was even today considering that the people of his own day had questions concerning who he was. The Pharisees and Sadducees, the most religiously educated of that era, couldn’t see Jesus for who he really was and I believe our understanding today is, at times, lacking.
First, there is the evidence of his miracles that point to who Jesus is. These were not events taking place behind closed doors and only spoken about by Jesus’ followers. The healing of the lame (Mark 2:1-12), the raising of the dead (John 11:1-47), and the control of the environment itself (Mark 4:35-41) were done amongst many witnesses. Just as eyewitness testimony and evidence is used today in a court of law, the recording and witness accounts of Jesus’ miracles help to point to who he is.
Furthermore, we have the countless prophecies written about Jesus long before he was alive seen fulfilled when he came to this earth (read about those prophecies here). Everything from the fulfillment of his exact lineage to the manner in which he would be killed was spoken about well before those events took place. Even with the Old Testament written out for all to see, the Jews of Jesus’ day had trouble making the connection.
And still we struggle at times today to grasp the true identity of Jesus. Here was a man, claiming to be sent by God, turning the religious world and its beliefs upside down. How could this man who claimed to be the Son of God be born in the filth of a stable? How could he come from humble beginnings as the son of a carpenter and then grow up to heal on the Sabbath or wash the feet of his disciples or sit down to a meal with sinners? How could this simple man of Nazareth be the Lord of all, seated at the right hand of God (Hebrews 8:1)?
The answer is for you to decide. I don’t make that decision for and neither can anyone else. Jesus once asked his disciples, “who do you say that I am” (Matthew 16:15)? They were faced with the same question that Jesus asks of you today. Can you respond as Peter did?
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16)!