Have you ever asked, or know someone who’s asked, the question, “Who is Jesus”?
This question has been asked for about 2000 years and continues to be asked today. The answers may vary depending who you talk to with. Some say that Jesus was “a good teacher”, “the Son of God”, “a prophet”, “a good man”, “the Messiah”, “the first of God’s creation”, “the Son of Man”, “Michael the archangel”, “the Savior”, “someone who existed long ago”, “a myth and a fable, “God”. The list goes on.
Let’s get the proper Berean perspective concerning who Jesus is and what the Scriptures teach.
During Jesus’ ministry He called 12 individuals to be His disciples, His representatives to the world. One of them was the apostle John. I will be focusing on John’s testimony regarding who Jesus is, though there are many other accounts from the Scriptures who testify that Jesus is God and Savior.
“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being…14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. 17 For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1 NASB)
It is no surprise that from the very start John focuses in on His true identity. During the early church there were groups who taught that Jesus was not God come in the flesh, not eternal, and not the Messiah to come. Such groups were known as the Gnostics, Ebionites, Stoics, and the Jews. In the first 18 verses in the gospel of John we are given a tremendous amount of spiritual truth and revelation in discovering who Jesus really is.
In John 1:1 the “Word” is uniquely described in 3 ways
- John writes, “In the beginning was the Word”. What a statement from the opening words of the gospel of John. John was a Jewish man who followed the Tanakh, (Old Testament) and the Tanakh taught that the LORD God was called “the First” and “the Last” in numerous Scriptures. (Isaiah 41:4, Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 48:12) From the very start John identifies “the Word” being from eternity!
- The Greek word for “Word” is “logos”. Here is what the Holman Bible Dictionary states concerning the word logos:
- “In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, logos translates the word dabar, which could mean “word,” “thing,” or “event.” In Hebrew thought, the dabar was dynamic and filled with a power that was transmitted to those who received it. The term was often used to designate God’s communication to his people, as at the beginning of many of the writings of the prophets: “The word of the Lord came.” The whole of the Law, or all of Scripture, could then be referred to as God’s Word.” (Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 888)
- “Among the Greek philosophers, especially the Stoics, logos came to mean the rational principle that gave order to the cosmos. It could therefore be equated with God. Human reason, in turn, derived from this universal logos. Philo of Alexandria used this idea in his efforts to interpret Jewish religion for those versed in Greek philosophy. In Philo’s writings, logos was the mediating agency by which God created the world and by which revelation comes to God’s people. The logos became a distinct entity, specifically the “word of God” active in creation and revelation.” Holman Bible Dictionary, p. 888)
- In the book of Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. In communicating to the Jews, John identifies Jesus as being from eternity , before creation came into existence and being the very One who spoke creation into existence. In communicating to the Stoics, John identifies Jesus as being the cause of the cosmos and the revelation of God to man.
- John makes another profound statement concerning “the Word” by stating “the Word was with God”. Not only is “the Word” eternal but “the Word” was with God in the beginning. Here John points out that “the Word” is distinct from God in personage, but he then states that “the Word is God”. This is not as complicated as it may seem. However there are many people, over the years, who have twisted these verses into saying things they don’t say. In reading verses 1-18 it is very clear that John is addressing “the Word” as being Jesus Christ and that He was sent from the Father. So when we read “the Word was with God” that means Jesus was with the Father from the very beginning and that They are distinct from one another in personage.
- John states, “the Word was God”. Literally from the Greek into English it states, “and God was the Word”. John declares to Jews and Greeks, “Jesus is God” come in the flesh. (verses 1 & 14) This is one of the clearest Scriptures testifying to the Deity of Jesus Christ and it is one of the most twisted Scriptures by those who reject His Deity. Christians, at times, do a disservice in how they communicate the Scriptures. This is because non-Christians sometimes hear Christians say “Jesus is God” and understand this to mean that Jesus is the Father. Jesus Christ is eternally God in nature and identity, but Jesus Christ is not the Father!
In conclusion I would like to encourage you to study these things for yourselves and be a Berean. We, as Christians, need to present the Scriptures in their context and be able to communicate the message accurately to those with whom we speak. Sometimes the context is clear and concise, and sometimes the context is not clear. We may need to do more research to have an accurate understanding of what the Scriptures teach.