'The Bible is not an end in itself, but a means to bring men to an intimate and satisfying knowledge of God, that they may enter into Him, that they may delight in His presence, may taste and know the inner sweetness of the very God himself in the core and centre of their hearts' [A W Tozer]

Who is Jesus?

The name “Jesus” is commonly heard in our Western culture. On most of these occasions it seems to be used as a swear word that people say out of frustration, anger or annoyance.

But who is this man who was called Jesus?

Undoubtably, this man Jesus has had an impact on our civilisation. You only need to look at a calendar to realise that our years are numbered according to the years after Jesus birth (even if the original developers of that numbering system may have been about 4 years out). Some of the most beautiful acts in human history have been inspired by Jesus. Unfortunately, the name of Jesus has also been used to try and excuse some of most hideous acts in history, such as the Middle Eastern Crusades and the Inquisition.

Most historians acknowledge that a man named Jesus lived in what is now Israel just over 2,000 years ago. This man was born in a little village called Bethlehem, moved to a town called Nazareth, where he maintained the family tradition and was trained to be a carpenter. In his early 30s, through somewhat unorthodox preaching, amazing miracles and a unique message he gained many followers. Ultimately, at the request of his own people, he was killed by the Romans using a particularly brutal form of execution, known as crucifixion. These historical details of Jesus life don’t generate a lot of debate.

In contrast, people’s opinions of who the man Jesus was and what he stood for vary markedly.

Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a great teacher, a prophet or a holy man.  History is full of men and women who have been great teachers.

Why is Jesus any different?

The difference is in the claims that Jesus made.

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Jesus claims to be God.

Jesus tended to have an ongoing debate with the religious leaders of his time. Much of this debate revolved around the question of who He was. While the Pharisees knew from the Old Testament scriptures that there was going to be a Messiah, or Saviour, they did not think that Jesus was that man. Consider the reaction of the Jews to the following statements that Jesus made.

“ Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:17-18, emphasis added)

“ I and the Father are one.” Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” (John 10:30-33, emphasis added)

I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him. (John 8:58-59)

In this latter example, Jesus announcing his identity as “I am” is a direct reference to the Old Testament name for God. Why else would the Jews want to stone Jesus if he had not said something equating to a claim to be God?

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14).

So in each of these examples, while Jesus was not actually quoted as saying “I am God”, his words were taken by the religious leaders at the time of being equivalent to that same statement. Equally, Jesus did not deny that interpretation, even though He knew that this claim was not something to be made lightly, since it was punishable by death.

Jesus also claims that if we look at His character, then we see the character of God

“Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9)

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Jesus claims to be the only way to God.

We live in a world of religious tolerance and pluralism, in which it is widely thought that all religious systems and beliefs, as long as they are sincere and heart-felt, are equivalent. The theory is that as long as you pick one religion, and follow it sincerely, you will get to heaven.

Jesus teaches otherwise. Jesus’ teaching is that He is the only way to God. There is no other way.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus also tells us that if we do not honour Him, then we are not honouring God the Father. If we do not love Jesus, if we reject what Jesus teaches, then we are rejecting God the Father.

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me (John 8:42)

.. that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him (John 5:23)

“He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” (Luke 10:16)

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What is our response?

CS Lewis, best known as the author of the Narnia Chronicles, noted that it is impossible to accept Jesus as a great teacher unless we also accept that His claims are true. If Jesus was a merely a man and then said these things, he would be a lunatic, along the lines of someone saying “I’m a teapot” and expecting people to believe him; alternatively he would be a liar, which in itself gives his claims no credibility.

Jesus cannot be a prophet, a good teacher or a godly man if His claims are false. If Jesus’ claims are false, then he is deluded. And if His claims are true, then Jesus must be who He says he is.

This leaves us with a choice. Either this man was the Son of God, or else he was a crazy madman or a systemic liar.  

This is a choice that has no middle ground.

The journey to know God that is described on these pages is based on the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and the only way to God.  This journey is only possible with this belief, that Jesus not only opens up the opportunity to know God intimately, He gives us a personal invitation to start this journey of knowing Him.

Your acceptance of this invitation that Jesus offers, your decision to start on this journey of incredible riches and joy, is based entirely on whether you are willing to believe that the claims of Jesus Christ might be true, and you want to find out more.

You decide: were Jesus’ claims true?

Find out more about starting this journey.

As with any journey, the more we know about where we are going, the greater our motivation to get there. Our priorities become focused on that single goal of reaching our destination.

Who is this God we are striving for? Is He worth knowing?

Before we start, let’s get one thing clear – the God of the […]

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You’ve received the invitation. You’ve learnt a bit about what the journey is about. You’re willing to believe that the claims of Jesus are true, and starting to realise that this journey of knowing God through Jesus could be worthwhile.

So what now? “Where do you start?”.

This journey is similar in many ways to a marriage. […]

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