The Jesus Worldview
The supremacy of Christ – is He real, is He true, is He eternal? Jesus must be one of the most well-known personages of this earth, yet the nature of who He really is seems to be one of the most ferociously debated topics. I have witnessed and taken part in some of these discussions, and I am sure the question will arise many more times as people ask – who is Jesus? Whatever religion, and even in the absence of religion, this question cannot be ignored. In fact, at the centre of most questions, most arguments, and most presumptions lies an perception, conscious or unconscious, of who Jesus is. Is He God or man, Son of God or angel, creator or created? Jesus himself asks the all-important question – “Who do you say that I am?”
People think all sorts of things about Jesus, sometimes it is a perception handed down from their religious elders, perhaps one shared by their family, and sometimes, a person holds an unshakeable persuasion of their very own. If I were to go into every argument put forth for every idea of who Christ is, we would have a long, inconclusive and very confusing paper! People would dispute evidence for opinion, accuse false teachers and the question would still remain a disagreement. Does humanity’s inability to know Christ undermine who He is? By no means! Despite our humanity, Christ remains in all His glory – He is who He is.
The Jesus I Know
I want to grow each day in my knowledge of who Christ is and Ephesians 1:17 is my constant prayer – “…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him…” When I am asked about Jesus, I have a strong knowledge in my heart of who He is, and this is a foundation upon which I desire to build a relationship of intimacy and oneness with Christ, my Lord. Jesus, to me, is:
- Lord and Yahweh – He is God, and God is Lord, having the first place over all things in heaven and on earth. So, I believe Jesus is fully God.
- Son of Man – Jesus is fully man, enduring suffering, pain, temptation and hunger, yet overcoming everything in the flesh so that He overcame death by His holiness and became the firstborn from the dead. So, I believe Jesus is fully man.
- Lover and a personal God – I know Jesus loves me. I know Jesus knows me in my entire entirety. There is nothing hidden in me; no purpose, no potential, no sin and no fear that He does not see. This does not scare me, but I am overjoyed by my God who so greatly desires to bring me closer into the depths of His intimate embrace.
Relationship with Jesus is, I believe, the first and only foundation for our lives. What does it matter if you have an excellent knowledge of the Bible and its history? The Pharisees had this knowledge, but they did not know God. What does it matter if you are wise in all the knowledge of the earth? If you do not know the Creator of the earth, such knowledge is useless. The focus must be on relationship with Christ. The purpose of other things – study of the word, prayer, and evangelism, is not to prove a point, or to secure a spot in Heaven. No, the purpose of all these things is to deepen our relationship with Christ. In fact, they come as a natural outflow of this relationship, they come with joy, and they come with an understanding of the supremacy of Christ. At the crux of all the questions doubting who Christ is, lies a simple question of relationship – do you know Christ?
Who does Jesus say that He is?
There is the simple version, and the in-depth version. The in-depth version is the fact that the entire world and the entire Bible points to Jesus and reveals who He is – the intricacies of His character, His delights, his will, His expressions and His touch. The simple version is to look that the points Jesus highlights about Himself, the emphasis He puts on particular aspects of His character. This is what we are going to explore today.
Matthew 16:13-17 give an account of the disciples’ reaction to Jesus’ question of who they think He is:
“When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and other Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus begins by asking – “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” In asking the question, Jesus actually states that He is “the Son of Man”. In other words, He hints at the attribute of His full humanity. The disciples answer, saying that many believe He is alike the anointed prophets – a man inspired by the word and the Spirit of God.
Then, Jesus asks a more personal question – “Who do YOU say that I am?” At this, Simon Peter answers with a profound statement. He calls Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” With this description, Jesus becomes alike God Himself, therefore able to overcome death, fulfil justice, and extend the grace of God to man. He is THE Christ, one and unique, Son of the living God who is eternal, as Jesus also is. Jesus blesses Simon for this answer saying “flesh and blood has not revealed this you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Just as Jesus points to the Father, the Father points to Jesus and Peter received a revelation from God about the nature of Jesus Christ.
In this discussion with His disciples, Jesus emphasises the tangibility of His flesh, the revelation of His deity, and the need for each person to personally come to a knowledge and understanding of who He is, this being given through the Spirit of God.
Hebrews 1-2 again, highlights the character of Jesus as both man, and God, Jesus who is the revelation of God. You can read and meditate on the full passages yourself, but here are just some points highlighted about Jesus, who is both higher than angels, and lower than angels:
- God has spoken to us through His Son, Jesus
- Jesus is the one who created all things, and is heir of all things
- Jesus is the brightness of the glory of God, and the express image of His person
- Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power
- Jesus purges us of our sins and sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high
- He has therefore become so much better than the angels as He has, by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they (ie. Jesus is called by God’s own Name, and He does what no angel can do in redeeming mankind from sin and death, bringing them into the kingdom of God)
- The way in which God speak of angels, the way He speaks of Jesus is different. Angels are His ministers to those who will inherit salvation, but Jesus IS salvation to the lost. Jesus is called son of God, and the angels worship Him as firstborn into the world.
- Jesus was also made a little lower than angels in that He became a man on earth – “… for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.”
There is so much revelation is each one of these points, and all of it points to the supremacy of Christ. He is the head over all things because He has conquered all things. Because of this, He sits with God in heaven, having overcome the grace, and thus becoming the firstborn from death into eternal life with the Heavenly Father. In doing this, Jesus makes the way for mankind to be born again into the Kingdom of God, and into the embrace of the Father, whose grace abounds to all.
Not only does Jesus identify Himself as fully God, and fully man, but He also highlights how He is Saviour and Messiah, Lion and Lamb.
- [Isaiah 53] – A whole chapter about the person of Jesus
- [Luke 9:22] – “…The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
- [John 14:3] – “…And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”
- [John 14:6] – “…I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
- [Matthew 11:2-6] – “…”Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: “The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
- [Philippians 2:5-11] – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 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.”
- [Revelation 5:5-7] – “But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.”
Those were just a few of many passages we could look at – Romans and Hebrews speak even more about the saving grace of God, shown through Christ who justified us in Him for eternity.
Jesus does not hide who He is, but He wants to be known by us. Matthew 22:41-46 tells of how Jesus, when the Pharisees were gathered around, spoke to them about Himself, knowing their mindset and thinking. In this case, Jesus was trying to emphasise His nature as Son of God, therefore qualified to be Christ and Messiah.
[Matthew 22:41-46] – “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?” And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did anyone dare question Him anymore.”
Whether or not we seek Christ, we WILL reveal Himself to us.
- [Isaiah 65:1] – “I was sought by those who did not ask for Me;
I was found by those who did not seek Me.
I said, ‘Here I am, here I am.’
To a nation that was not called by My name…”
- [John 14:21] – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
- [Colossians 1:26-37] – “…the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
In the end, we come back to that foundation question – “Who do you say that I am.” Jesus has revealed Himself to us, prophets have endorsed His glory, witnesses have testified of His salvation, and all things radiate the light of His beauty. I know Jesus as My Lord and Saviour, the One who knows and loves Me fully. Who do you say He is?
An extra note: Names of God
Just a little overview of God’s names, used throughout the Bible – a glimpse of His character.
- Elohim (“God” – pleural form, used when God/Elohim created the heavens and earth) Genesis 1:1
- El Elyon (“God Most High” – singular form) Genesis 14:18-20
- El Roi (“God Who Sees”) Genesis 16:13-14
- El Shaddai (“God Almighty”, or “God the All-Sufficient One”) Genesis 17:2-3
- Yahweh (“I AM”) Exodus 3:13-14
- Adonai (“Lord”) Exodus 4:10-12
- Yahweh-jireh (“Yahweh will provide”) Genesis 22:11-14
- Yahweh-rapha (“Yahweh who heals”) Exodus 15:26
- Yahweh-nissi (“Yahweh My Banner”) Exodus 17:16
- Yahweh-mekoddishkem (“Yahweh Who Sanctifies You”)
- Yahweh-shalom (“Yahweh is Peace”)
- Yahweh-sabaoth (“Lord of Hosts”) Psalm 22:10
- Yahweh-raah (“Yahweh My Shepherd”) Psalm 23:1
- Yahweh-tsidkenu (“Yahweh Our Saving Justice”) Jeremiah 23:5-6
I also found an overview of the names, or descriptions of Jesus found in the book of Revelation. (Available from: http://www.agapebiblestudy.com/documents/the%20many%20names%20of%20god.htm)
- (Rev 1:5) The First-born from the dead
- (Rev 1:5) The highest of earthly kings
- (Rev 1:8) The Alpha and Omega (also in Rev 22:13)
- (Rev 1:8 ) Lord God
- (Rev 1:8) The Almighty
- (Rev 1:13) Son of Man
- (Rev 1:17) The First and the Last (also Rev 1:11;21:6;22:13)
- (Rev 1:18) The Living One
- (Rev 2:18) Son of God
- (Rev 3:14) Witness
- (Rev 4:11) Creator
- (Rev 5:5) Lion of the Tribe of Judah
- (Rev 5:5) Root of David
- (Rev 5:6) The Lamb
- (Rev 7:17) The Shepherd
- (Rev 12:10) Christ (Anointed)
- (Rev 19:11) Faithful and True
- (Rev 19:13) Word of God
- (Rev 19:16) King of Kings
- (Rev 19:16) Lord of Lords