When you search “who is Jesus?” on Google, 300,000,000 sites are listed. You will find resources from evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, atheists, Muslims, historians, and the list goes on and on and on.
Let’s dip our toes into who Jesus is by looking at three aspects: His humanity, His divinity, and His being the perfect sacrifice. Our understanding of these truths come from the Bible.
Jesus was a human on earth
We read in the gospels that a young lady named Mary conceived Jesus (Mt 1:22; Lk 2:7). We can assume that Jesus grew up like any other kid. He had brothers (Mt 12:46; Lk 8:19; Jn 7:5), went travelling with His parents (Lk 2:41-42), and grew in good stature (Lk 2:40). The gospel of Luke tells us that He was filled with wisdom and that the favour of God was upon Him (Lk 2:40).
Jesus was tempted throughout His life – which definitely portrayed His humanity. We read that He was specifically tempted by Satan immediately after His baptism in the desert (Mt 4:1-11; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-13). And all throughout His life we read of His weariness, exhaustion, hunger, anger, grief and deep troubling in the soul/spirit (Jn 4:6; Lk 8:22-23; Lk 4:2; Mk 3:5; Jn 11:11) – emotions that we encounter throughout our lives.
Finally, and most importantly, Jesus died (Mt 27:50; Mk 15:37; Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30). He received the death sentence by Roman authority on a cross – like hundreds before Him. As we can see, these few facts show us that Jesus was definitely a human.
Jesus was (and is still) God
As we read about Jesus’ humanity throughout the gospels, we also encounter some divine characteristics. We read that Jesus didn’t inherit the sin and guilt of Adam (2 Cor 5:21) – which would have come through His earthly father Joseph. In fact, Mary hadn’t slept with Joseph before Jesus’ birth – they were just engaged (Mt 1:18). We read that the Holy Spirit moved in Mary so that she would become pregnant with Jesus (Mt 1:20).
Fast forward to His baptism, we read that God audibly spoke from the heavens when Jesus came up from the water and said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”(Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22). After His baptism the Spirit leads Him into the desert where He’s tempted after fasting for 40 days (Mt 4:1-2; Mk 1:12-13; Lk 4:1-2). Jesus perfectly resists temptation.
He obeys His Father as a perfect human – one that wasn’t marred by sin. In the time between His baptism and death, He not only experienced human emotions or performed normal human activity, but He also spoke with authority like no other, fulfilled prophecy, forgave people of their sins (which would have been unheard of by a human), raised people to life, and performed incredible miracles (Mt 7:28-29; Micah 5:2 and Mt 2:1-6; Mk 2:5; Jn 11:43-44; Lk 9:42). He also claimed the spot of the “Anointed One” or “Messiah” from the prophets of old.
And finally, after Jesus had died, He didn’t stay dead. We all know that three days later it’s recorded that He rose to life, hung out for 40 days, and then ascended into heaven (Mt 28:6; Lk 24:6; Acts 1:3, 9). It’s important to note that Jesus never spoke from His mouth “I am God,” but He rather claimed that truth by His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus was, and still is, God.
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice
You see, we (humans) on our own cannot be justified – counted righteous before the eyes of God. We are born with a sinful body in a sinful world (Rom 3:23, 5:12), making it impossible for the holy, righteous and just God to allow us into communion with Him forever in eternity. We read in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death. The question then remains: what do we do about this? Well, we can’t “do” anything – and that’s why Jesus came down. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to atone for our sins.
You see, Jesus became like us (a human) but never sinned – living the perfectly righteous life that we could never live. In His death, out of His deep love for us (John 3:16), He took on every human being’s sin (2 Cor 5:21), so that in His death, His Father, God, might look on Jesus and see the world’s sin and pour out His hot wrath on Him.
Hard to understand? Yes. Beautiful? Definitely.
You see, Jesus took humanity’s place on that cross (1 Pet 2:23-25). He was our substitute, so that whomever looks to Jesus as Saviour might be saved – counted righteous (Romans 6:23). The blood that Jesus shed on the cross was payment for our sins. That blood now washes over us (1 Jn 1:7) – counting us righteous in the eyes of God. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice.
So as we can see, Jesus was a human on earth, God (and still is), and the perfect sacrifice.