“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” – John 3:16
This Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible says that we must believe in Jesus in order to be forgiven of our sins and stand on the Day of Judgment declared righteous (not-guilty), justified and saved to eternal life, but who is this “Jesus”? There are so many opinions, myths and man-made distortions about who He was, and still is (for He still lives this very day!).
In order to appreciate the gospel message, we must first understand the man who we are asked to place our complete faith, trust and hope in.
Jesus of Nazareth is a man who lived approximately 2000 years ago. He is referred to as “the Christ” which means “anointed one” or “anointed by God” or “the messiah”. This is Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth.
Scripture says He was born of a virgin (Mary), lived a holy, pure and sinless life, and died on the cross in an atoning sacrifice for your sins, indeed, for the sins of all who choose to call on His name! God raised Him to everlasting (eternal) life after three (3) days, and He [Jesus] is seated right now at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, ruling and reigning in His kingdom.
His life was documented and confirmed by many (dozens, more) eyewitnesses who testified to what they saw, heard, and experienced, many spending their time living with Him during His three (3) year ministry on earth.
Jesus’ birth, death, resurrection, life, death and resurrection were prophesized hundreds (or more) years in advance, in some 300+ prophecies given in the Old Testament of the Bible. Christ even said that the Scriptures of the Old Testament (the only ones they had when Jesus lived on Earth) spoke (testified) about Him.
One of the books on our recommended reading list, Science Speaks by Peter Stoner lists many of these prophecies and calculates the odds that any one person could have “accidentally” fulfilled (just a partial list of them) is 1 in 5.76 x 1059! When fully written out, we get a better realization of just how large that number is, it is 1 person out of 5,760,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000!
In comparison, the number of grains of sand in the world is estimated to be 1 in 7.5 x 1018. And the number of stars in the entire universe is estimated to be 7 x 1022.
Also, for a comparison the total number of people who have ever lived on Earth over all of time is estimated to be about 100 billion (give or take a few billion). Let’s be wildly unrealistically conservative and multiply that by a factor of ONE THOUSAND, to get 100,000,000,000,000 or 1 x 1014 people have lived on Earth over all time. So even if you had a million times a billion times a trillion planet Earths, that one person would have been born by chance that would have fulfilled (even partially) the prophecies of Jesus is effectively zero. Jesus wasn’t an accident.
The odds of an ant lifting up the Sun and putting it on its back is about the same as someone by chance matching and fulfilling the prophesies that are foretold for Jesus in the Bible: zero.
So, His life was not by chance, or random, or a lucky set of coincidences; no, Scripture says that “He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”
You see, God is not asking us to “blindly believe” in Jesus, without overwhelming proof, evidence and eye-witness testimony. God wants us to come to a fully conscious decision to believe in Jesus based on hard evidence that Jesus in fact, was born, lived, performed miracles, was crucified, and raised from the dead; for the stakes are too high not to.
In fact, were this evidence and eye-witness testimony given today in an unbiased modern court of law as evidence even in the most severe of death penalty cases, the preponderance of the evidence would support a verdict beyond a reasonable doubt whatsoever.
You simply have to look at the evidence without preconceived biases against “religion”, and against Jesus. In fact, those who deny Jesus do so AGAINST the preponderance of the evidence, that any jury in the world would say IS beyond a reasonable doubt! Even numerous and reputable secular scholars admit that Jesus, the man, did indeed exist as the Bible claims.
[On a side note: The Bible itself is also the most highly documented, recorded and confirmed book in history, many times more than other widely accepted books such as Homer’s Iliad for example, and with more fragments and originals than any other work ever done, and not by a little, but by a gigantic/wide margin. I’m not going to list the specifics here, but you can find them with a little bit of research. The accuracy among the widely found Biblical fragments has been stunning also.]
Now many today will claim: “Ok, I will grant you that Jesus existed as the man, but Jesus was simply a ‘good moral person’ or a ‘good teacher’”. And others say that He didn’t really claim to be God. This is in contradiction to Scripture, which is clear He did declare Himself to be the Son of God and also God Himself (see the next chapter).
Jesus was born under the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament and perfectly fulfilled that Law, for all. He lived a perfect, sinless (morally pure) life in obedience to God, obedient even to death on a cross, being crucified as an atoning sacrifice for your sins. He was raised to life again from death after three (3) days and seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, where He is ruling and reigning right now.
Scripture also declares that Christ has no beginning, and no-end; in other words, He is immortal. Only God is immortal. Scripture also says that it is through Him [Jesus] also that the world was created.
Know and remember that when you see (read about) Jesus you are seeing (reading about) God. What you see Jesus is like in person from reading Scripture is also exactly what God is like. The kindness, compassion, patience, healing, loving, caring, full of grace, slowness to anger, with extreme restraint and temperance person that Jesus was, and is, also your God. God is not a God of evil, deception, trickery, lying or deceit; in fact, no evil, sin or deceit is found in Him. God is 100% holy, just and pure.
Please also note how Jesus didn’t force or coerce anyone to follow Him; nor does God force anyone to follow Him. God doesn’t want robots obeying out of rote command, for that is not love and God is love; He wants those who come to Him freely of their own choice, out of their own free-will and out of love. True love cannot be commanded, nor coerced, from anyone.
- God became flesh in the man Jesus Christ, who was fully God while also fully man
- He was supernaturally born of a virgin (Mary), through the power of the Holy Spirit
- He walked among us
- He was tempted in all things as we are, so He can empathize with us and so He can also mediate for us now in heaven before God
- He came humbly, not in a palace, but a manger, not drawing people by physical attraction but by message of His Word
- He came not to the religious or political rulers/elite of the day, but to people just like you and me: sinners and the lost
- He was obedient unto death, crucified on a cross, pierced through for our transgressions
- He took our sins on him
- He was buried, and He rose again from the dead after 3 days, and
- He is right now at the right hand of God the Father in heaven, ruling as King in His kingdom.
- Christ existed from eternity past, to eternity future. He has no beginning, and no end (like God).
He was declared by God to be God’s only begotten Son with power, wonders and signs:
- Made wine from water,
- Healed the sick (blind, lame, deaf, lepers, etc),
- Exercised command over nature (walked on water, calmed the storm, etc),
- Fed thousands of people from only a small loaf of bread and fish (several times),
- Raised men from the dead,
I can only scratch the surface in this book about who Jesus the man was; but it is all written in Scripture. All I ask is that you evaluate the evidence with an unbiased and logical mind, free from any pre-conceived bias; in reality, it is only a preconceived bias against God, and against religion (which you’ve seen and detest as hypocrisy as I also do, it being the creation of corrupt men), and against submitting to your Creator, that one cannot see the logical verdict on this matter.
We will look in the next chapter at the most important matter: Was Jesus (the man) really God Himself in the flesh?
In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. – John 1:1-2
All things came into being through Him [Jesus], and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. – John 1:3
For a child [Jesus] will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6
He [Jesus] was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. – 1 Peter 1:20-21
John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One [Jesus] is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. – Luke 3:16
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:10-11
This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. – Luke 2:12-14
And the Word [Jesus] 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. – John 1:14
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:18-23
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! – John 1:29
John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him [Jesus]. I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ – John 1:32-33
After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him [Jesus], and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” – Matthew 3:16-17
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. – Colossians 1:15-16
In Him [Jesus] was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1:4-5
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. – John 3:16-17
From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. – John 10:27-29
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. – Hebrews 2:14-15
And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. – Luke 22:41-44
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:8-11
Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him [Jesus]. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and to give Him slaps in the face. – John 19:1-3
As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life. – John 3:14-15
They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” – John 19:17-19
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; – 1 Peter 3:18
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8
He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. – 2 Corinthians 5:21
For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. – Hebrews 4:15
If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless [without sin], the blood of Christ. – 1 Peter 1:17-19
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. – 1 John 2:1-2
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-5
“Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He [Jesus] has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” – Luke 24:5b-7
If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. – 1 Corinthians 15:14-17
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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 14:1-3
And after He had said these things, He [Jesus] was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:9-11
He [Jesus, God] who was revealed in the flesh,
Was vindicated in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Proclaimed among the nations,
Believed on in the world,
Taken up in glory. – 1 Timothy 3:16
So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. – 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He [Jesus] must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. – 1 Corinthians 15:20-28
These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He [God] raised Him [Jesus] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. – Ephesians 1:19b-21
Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him. – 1 Peter 3:21b-22
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He [Jesus], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. – Hebrews 10:11-13
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. – Hebrews 1:1-4
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘The stone [Jesus] which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’? – Matthew 21:42
This is the disciple [John] who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true. And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written. – John 21:24-25