Who Is Jesus – God Or Prophet?
Who is Jesus Christ (who is also known as Isa Al-Masih), and why was he born? When walking and talking in the Middle East was he God-in-the-flesh, or as some say, just another prophet? The answers to these questions are very important because they affect everyone. Every man, woman and child on Earth is a “sinner”. That means that we all sin, it is part of our human nature to sin. We are all descended from the first human beings, Adam and Eve, and share their nature. Though created perfect, this couple chose to disobey God and became sinners. To sin means to fall short of God’s standard of conduct. It means that we have a tendency to lie, steal, murder and especially to resist God’s authority and disobey him. The result of our rebellion is that when we die we would forever be cut off, separated from God. But God had a plan to do away with these dire consequences.
The plan was to send his Son to Earth in the form of a man. This Son, Jesus Christ, would live a sinless life. He would then be persecuted and killed by sinful humans. As one who was fully God and fully man and without sin, his death paid the price for our disobedience. The result is that those who choose now to accept Jesus as their Savior will be rewarded with eternal life when he returns to Earth. Because three days after his death, which occurred by crucifixion in about 27AD (nearly 2000 years ago), Jesus rose bodily from the dead and was reunited with the Father in Heaven.
Only those people who willingly turn from sin and look to Jesus for everything will be given the gift of eternal life.
Jesus was born of a young woman, the virgin Mary, having been conceived in her by the Holy Spirit. He was born in the town of Bethlehem in Palestine in about 6BC. His death came about when the Jewish leaders of that time asked the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to put him to death. This death was ordained beforehand by God to be a means of reconciling man to God.
You can read about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the Bible. The New Testament (also known as the injil or injeel) books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John record many details about Jesus and what he said and did. Other books of the New Testament describe life in the first century Christian Church, together with instructions about conduct. They also contain prophecies of end-time events which reach a climax with the future return of Jesus.
Let us read through some verses from three books of the New Testament: Colossians, the Gospel of John and Hebrews. These extracts describe some of the characteristics of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have added a few words in italics for clarity.
For he (God the Father) has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Jesus), 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Supremacy of the Son of God
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.
Some things we learn from the passage quoted from the Book of Colossians are:
● Jesus Christ is referred to as the Son, pointing to his role as the second person of the Godhead, after God the Father.
● Jesus is outside of creation since through him, long before his human birth, all things were created, meaning the entire universe.
● The phrase “firstborn over all creation” in verse 15 describes his pre-eminence before his human birth. Yet in verse 18 he is described as the “firstborn from among the dead”. This refers to his bodily resurrection after his death on the cross. Resurrection after our death is the hope of Christians, and Jesus paved the way for that to happen.
● Jesus Christ is the “fullness” of God – he is fully divine. That is why his death on the cross is able to bring reconciliation between God and mankind. He took on himself the punishment for the sins of all humanity.
John 1:1-5, 9-14
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. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it….
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Before his human birth, Jesus had eternally existed along with the Father and the Holy Spirit. A little more than 2000 years ago he was born miraculously to a woman named Mary who lived in the village Nazareth, in Palestine. He was given the name Jesus (meaning “the Lord saves”) because the purpose of his birth was to save people from their sins. Jesus, being fully God and fully man, never sinned. His death on the cross about 33 years after his birth made it possible for those who place their trust in him to obtain eternal life. You can read about the birth of Jesus in the Bible. See the book of Matthew, chapter 1, from verse 18, and the book of Luke, chapter 1, from verse 26.
In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. 3 The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. 4 So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son Superior to Angels
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son;
today I have become your Father”?
“I will be his Father,
and he will be my Son”?
6 And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.” s
7 In speaking of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels spirits,
and his servants flames of fire.” t
8 But about the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom..”
In verses 1 and 2 of Hebrews chapter 1, we see that Jesus is much greater than the prophets, such as Moses and Abraham, who had walked the earth before he came. This is because Jesus became God in the flesh, known as the Son. Jesus, before his human birth, created the universe. He was born a man, the son of Mary, having been miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (and not through any sexual relations). Read about the miraculous conception in the book of Matthew, chapter 1 verses 18 to 21.
Verse 3 of Hebrews 1 shows that God the Father and God the Son are of one essence. Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being”. In other words they are one, yet distinct.
Jesus sustains the universe: he keeps it running and holds everything together.
As the Lamb of God, and being himself without sin, he provided purification for the sins of all mankind, by dying on the cross. He then rose to sit in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. Notice verse 8, where the Son (Jesus) is referred to as God who will reign forever, exercising perfect justice.
Thus, though we deeply respect and are instructed by the prophecies of the Old Testament, we pay particular attention to the words of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. As verse 6 of Hebrews 1 declares, “Let all God’s angels worship him”, so we too as human “children of God” must also worship the risen Jesus Christ.
Learn more about who Jesus is, by reading the Bible. Read the Bible online, or download free Bibles to your mobile phone.