The Claims Of Jesus
According to Isaiah the Jewish prophet, God would one day come into the world by human birth as the Messiah: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called wonderful, counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government there will be no end.” (Isaiah 9:6&7). From this, then, and many other prophesies, the Jews knew that they were awaiting the arrival of God in flesh.
Many years later when Jesus was living on the earth, he was asked, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me,” (Luke 7:20-22). This is characteristic of many of Jesus’ answers. He often gave indirect responses to direct questions; perhaps because he wanted people to judge him by his actions and not only his words. It should be noted, however, that the quote above was probably recognized by Jewish ears as a reference to another prophesy about the Messiah found in Isaiah 35:5-6. So in a sense Jesus was in fact claiming to be the Messiah.
There were other times when Jesus more clearly asserted oneness with God. For example, one day there was a group of people accusing Jesus of blasphemy; they believed that he was claiming to be God but needed solid evidence before condemning him to death (punishment for blasphemy in Jewish law). Jesus apparently confirmed their suspicions when he said “the Father is in me, and I am in the Father.” At this, “they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp,” (John 10: 38&39).
In a similar situation Jesus said that he is eternal: “I tell you the truth,” he said, “before Abraham was born, I Am!” At this, those who heard this blasphemous statement picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus escaped them. Of course, it is very conceivable that these zealous religious folk misinterpreted Jesus. Isn’t it possible to be one with God, even eternal, without being God himself? Maybe so, but Jesus also believed that he had the right to forgive sins (Luke 5:24).
Furthermore, he said, “just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. Moreover the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him,” (John 5:21-23).
These scriptures seem to make it clear that Jesus was claiming equality with God. Some may argue, though, that God is in all of us; that we all have an inner goodness, so what Jesus was saying was really not all that outrageous. But that is a misconception, because Jesus warned that no one is good except the Father (Matthew 19:17; Luke 18:19). In addition, he separated himself from the rest of humanity when he said, “You are from below; I am from above. you are of this world; I am not of this world. . . if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins.” (John 8:24).
So Jesus is one with God, and He is God himself, but aren’t there many paths which lead to God? Not according to Christ. He said: “I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) and “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
If Jesus is in fact who he claimed to be and all his words are true, what then are the implications? They are as follows: After this life is over everyone must enter an afterlife. Those who reject Christ will be rejected by Christ (Luke 9:26; Matthew 10:32) and they will enter Hell (Matthew 10:28, 25:46). But those who accept Jesus will receive eternal life and live forever with God in Paradise (Luke 23:43; John 3:16). Jesus has presented his case and has backed it with evidence: he performed miracles, practiced what he preached, and died for his cause. Now you must decide whether or not to believe him. If you do not believe, you should be absolutely sure. Collect your own evidence and remember that you will reap the results of whatever you chose. May God bless you as you search for the Truth.
Further evidence. . .
. . . that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah:
- “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He,” (John 4:26).
- Jesus asked, “‘Who do you say I am?’ Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.'” (Matthew 16:15-17)
. . . that Jesus fits the profile for the Messiah outlined in prophecies:
. . . that salvation comes through Jesus and Him only:
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3: 16-18)
. . . that Jesus rose from the dead:
- The tomb was empty! This was even confirmed by those who did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. The Jewish authorities, wanting to prevent rumors of a resurrection, bribed the soldiers who were guarding the tomb to say that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15). If Jesus’ body had still been in the tomb, there would have been no need for such a bribe.
- 11 of the 12 disciples and 3 of the 4 gospel writers died for their beliefs showing that they did not make up the story of the resurrection but truly believed it.
Josephus (37 A.D.-100 A.D.), an advisor and historian to three Roman emperors affirms the resurrection.
Antiquities, Book 18, chapter 3, paragraph 3: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”
. . . that the Bible is a reliable source:
- The Bible is by far the best-preserved literary work of all antiquity. There are over 24,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts that have been discovered, and documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls show that the old testament texts are also well-preserved.
- Archaeology confirms Biblical accounts. Several structures that are mentioned in the Bible have been found during excavations. Among these discoveries are Jericho’s wall where the Israelites had their first victory in the promised land and the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man. See also:
- The New Testament texts were written shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection, so there was little time for the story of Jesus to have been polluted with legends. Nearly every book of the New Testament was quoted by early Christian leaders who knew Jesus’ followers and lived within 150 years of Christ’s death and resurrection.
- Modern-day Christians who have had conversion experiences and have witnessed supernatural occurrences are the best sources of evidence to confirm that the truth found in this ancient text, the Bible, is still legitimate today. If you know a Christian, ask him or her to tell you how he or she came to believe in Jesus Christ and what effect He has had on their life since then.
|Prophecy: The Messiah would be born of a virgin.“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” (Immanuel means God with Us). (Isaiah 7:14)||Fulfillment: Jesus was born to Mary while she was still a virgin“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. . . Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. . .’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.'” (Luke 1:26-35)|
|Prophecy: The Messiah would come from Bethlehem.“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)||Fulfillment: Jesus was born in Bethlehem.“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. . . and everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7) *For other prophetic fulfillment surrounding the birth of Jesus read Matthew 2.|
|Prophecy: At the coming of the Messiah the blind, the deaf, lame and the mute would be healed.“Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.’ Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.” (Isaiah 35:4-6)||Fulfillment: Jesus healed the blind, deaf, the lame, and the mute.“Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them. The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel.” (Matthew 15:29-31) “Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged him to place his hand on the man. After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.” (Mark 7: 31-35) *Other healings: Matthew 8:1-13, Matthew 12:22, Mark 2:1-8, Mark 5:25-29, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 17:11-14, Luke 8: 26-39, John 9:1-7, John 11:1-44|
|Prophecy: The King of the Jews would come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem ! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” (Zechariah 9:9)||Fulfillment: Jesus rode on a donkey as he entered Jerusalem for the last time.“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. . .The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Hosanna in the highest!'” (Matthew 21:1,2, 6-9)|
|Prophecy: The “good shepherd” would be “priced” at 30 pieces of silver and the money would be thrown back into the “house of the Lord”. “So I pastured the flock marked for slaughter, particularly the oppressed of the flock. . . The flock detested me, and I grew weary of them and said, ‘I will not be your shepherd. . .If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’- the handsome price at which they priced me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord to the potter.” (Zechariah 11: 7-13)||Fulfillment: Jesus (who called himself the “good shepherd”) was betrayed by Judas for thirty pieces of silver. Later Judas regretted his decision and threw the money into the temple. “‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.'” (John 10:11) “Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests and asked, ‘What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?’ So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.” (Matthew 26:14-16) “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’ So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. The chief priests picked up the coins and said, ‘It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners.” (Matthew 27:3-7)|
|Prophecy: The Messiah would be silent in the face of his accusers.“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7)||Fulfillment: Jesus remained silent while he was being falsely accused. “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?’ But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer.” (Mark 14: 55-56, 60-61)|
|Prophecy: The Messiah would be beaten and mocked.“I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” (Isaiah 50:6)||Fulfillment: The men in the Sanhedrin beat and mocked Jesus after he was determined by their counsel to be a blasphemer. “The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied. ‘But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.’ Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?’ ‘He is worthy of death,’ they answered. Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, ‘Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?'” (Matthew 26: 63-67)|
|Prophecy: Evil men would pierce the hands and feet of the Messiah and would divide his garments among them. “Dogs have surrounded me; A band of evil men has encircled me, They have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; People stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them And cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:16-18) * Read all of Psalm 22 to see a full prophetic view of the crucifixion.||Fulfillment: Jesus was sentenced to die by crucifixion, a method of execution in which the hands and feet of the condemned were nailed to a wooden stake. The nail marks in Jesus’ hands were distinguishing marks that identified him to his disciples after he had been raised from the dead. “Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.’ A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” (John 20:24-28)
Fulfillment: The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus divided his clothing between them and cast lots for the seamless undergarment.
“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. ‘Let’s not tear it,’ they said to one another. ‘Let’s decide by lot who will get it.'” (John 19:23-24)
|Prophecy: The Messiah would be laid in a rich man’s tomb.“He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:9)||Fulfillment: Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man, buried Jesus in his own tomb“As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb ad went away.” (Matthew 27:57-60)|
|Prophecy: The Holy One would not decay in a grave.“I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.” (Psalm 16:7-10)||Fulfillment: Jesus resurrected from the grave. After seeing their Lord raised to life again, Jesus’ disciples began telling their fellow Israelites to repent and believe in Jesus. Peter said to a crowd of Jews, “‘Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ ‘Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. . .Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.’ When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off-for all whom the Lord our God will call.'” (Acts 2:22 -32; 36-39)|
|Prophecy: The Messiah would suffer and take upon himself the burden of our sins in order to bring us peace. “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5)||Fulfillment: Those who have faith in Jesus are forgiven their debt of sin and live in peace with God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)|
|Prophecy: The Messiah would not only be a savior for the Jewish people, but for the whole world: God’s promise to Abraham: “Through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:18) “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)||Fulfillment: Jesus came to save the world, not only Israel.“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:16-17 ) “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)|