Jesus is miraculously born to the virgin Mary and her husband Joseph. He is born in Bethlehem but moves to Egypt for a few years before settling in Nazareth, where He grows up and becomes a carpenter. When He is thirty years old, He is baptized by John and begins His public ministry. He picks twelve men to be His disciples. They follow Him for three years as He preaches, teaches, and heals throughout Galilee, Judea, and Samaria. He is crucified and rises from the dead three days later. Forty days after that, He ascends into heaven. You can read about Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Son of Man
This is what Jesus most often calls Himself. To be the Son of Man means to be human in every way. He progresses through each stage of life – He is born a baby and grows into childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. He has responsibilities at each stage of life – He does chores, goes to school, and holds a job. He has a body with weaknesses and limitations – He gets tired, hungry, thirsty, and weak, is tempted in every way, and dies. He has a heart with emotions and feelings – He is sad, hated, rejected, and misunderstood. He has a mind with limited perspective and insight – He prays to receive guidance, wisdom, and direction from His Heavenly Father.
Son of God
Jesus claims to have a unique relationship with God – He says that God is His Father and He is God’s Son. To be God’s Son means to have the same personality, power, and privileges as God. He says what only God can say and does what only God can do. His claim to be God’s Son enrages the Jewish leaders to stone Him because they know He is making Himself equal with God. They mock Him for these claims while He dies on the cross. But God validates these claims throughout His ministry – first at His baptism, then at His transfiguration, and ultimately by raising Him from the dead.
Jesus also claims to be the long-awaited Messiah. “Messiah” is a Hebrew word that means “anointed one.” The Old Testament is full of prophecy about a special person who will be anointed with God’s Spirit. This person will rule over God’s people, atone for their sin, teach them His ways, and punish their enemies. To be the Messiah means to fulfill God’s promises to Israel in the Old Testament. “Christ” is the Greek equivalent of “Messiah.” When the New Testament calls Jesus “the Christ,” it is identifying Him as the One prophesied about in the Old Testament.
Old Testament Perspective
Jesus is a New Testament person, but we must see Him from an Old Testament perspective. He is more than a nice guy, a moral teacher, a social reformer, or a religious fanatic; He is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). He is the One anointed with God’s Spirit to redeem us from our sins and bring us into a right relationship with God. He rules over us as King of kings, mediates for us as our great High Priest, reveals His Father to us, deposits His Spirit in us, and will return to avenge Himself on our enemies. He is our only hope for salvation and eternal life. He is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [Him]” (John 14:6).
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