Dr. W.H Griffith Thomas wrote a book entitled Christianity Is Christ and that title sums up the heart and uniqueness of Christianity. Buddha is not essential to the teaching of Buddhism, or Muhammad to Islam, but the person and works of Jesus Christ determines everything about Christianity.
Christianity owes its life, its substance and its character in every detail to Christ.
He was: the author of its teachings, the object of its doctrine, the origin of its salvation, the fulfillment of its hopes, the source of its power, the founder of its church, and the one who gave the Holy Spirit as a legacy to those who believe.
Who is this Man, Jesus Christ?
Jesus asked his disciple Peter, “Who do you say i am?” (Matthew 16:15)
Christians believe that Jesus is God in human form, who rose from the dead, is still alive today and invites His followers into an experience that is beyond worship, and through the Holy Spirit includes daily friendship as well.
History is full of men who have claimed that they came from God, or that they were gods or that they bore messages from God – Buddha, Mohammad, Confucius, Christ, Lao-tze and thousands of others. We might be encouraged to know that questions surrounding Christ’s identify were swirling around hundreds of years before he was born.
The Pre-existence of Christ
The Scriptures clearly and distinctly teach that, as the second person of the trinity, Jesus Christ existed before his incarnation. (John 1:1-5; 8:58; 17:5,24; Colossians 1:13-17; Hebrews 1:2; 2:10). The nature of this pre-existence was twofold, that is, as to God and as to Creation. As to God, Jesus Christ was “the only begotten of the Father,” being begotten not in time, but in eternity. (See also 2 Samuel 7:12-17). Theologically this truth is called “the eternal generation of the Son.” in the historical development of the doctrine of the trinity in the Scriptures, not the Father (the first person), but Christ (the second person) is first revealed.
As to Creation, Jesus Christ is “the first born” (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15, 18). In Colossians Jesus is declared to be “first born of every creature” (“of all creation”) and is declared to be “the first born of the dead” these then are the two relations in which He is first- born –creation and resurrection. (See Galatians 4:6; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 3:14). Jesus is spoken of as being in the bosom of the Father (John 1:18) and of being loved by the Father “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24). These phrases express ineffable relationships within the Godhead which we cannot comprehend. Christ, because He is God, existed long before He was BORN.
There are Three Pictures of the Pre-existent Christ:
1. The slain Lamb. (Exodus 12) (John 1:29; 1 Corinthians 5:7) (Revelation 12:11;13:8) 2. The obedient Servant. (Psalm 40:6-8) 3. The beloved Son. (2 Samuel 7:14-16; Psalm 2:7; 89:26-29)
The Two Natures of Jesus Christ
2. The humanity of Christ: a. He expressly called Himself and was called “man” (John 8:20). b. He possessed the essential elements of human nature – body, soul, and spirit (Matthew 16:12,26; 26:38; Luke 23:46). c. He was moved by the instinctive principles and exercised the active powers which belong to a normal and developed humanity – hunger, sleep, love, compassion, anger, fear, weeping and prayer (Matthew 4:2; 8:24; 9:36; Mark 3:5; 10:21; John 4:6; 11:33). d. He was subject to the ordinary laws of human development (asked questions; grew in wisdom and stature; learned obedience, being tempted; was made perfect through suffering (Luke 2:40, 46-49, 52; Hebrews 2:10) e. He suffered and died (Luke 22:44; John 19:30-34).
3. The Deity of Christ: a. He is expressly called God (John 1:1, 18) b. Old Testament descriptions of God are applied to Him. (See Matthew 3:3; Isaiah. 40:3) c. He possesses the attributes of God; life, self-existence, immutability, truth, love, holiness, eternity, omnipresence, omniscience, and omnipotence (Proverbs 8:23; Matthew 9:4; 27:18; 38:20; Luke 1:35). d. The works of God are ascribed to Him. (Matthew 25:31, 32; John 1:3; 5:27-29; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Revelation 3:14). Further proof of Christ’s deity may be found in the application to Him of the phrases “Son of God” and “Image of God” in the declaration of His oneness with God. These proofs of Christ’s deity from the New Testament are corroborated by Christian experience.
Old Testament Messianic Prophecies; fulfilled?
Would come from Israel – Numbers 24:17
From the tribe of Judah – Genesis 49;10
Born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2
Born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14
Announced by a forerunner –Isaiah 40:3
Suffered for the Sins of Others – Isaiah 53:4-6
No broken bones on the Cross – Psalms 34:20
Specific Dying Words – Psalms 22:1
Come Back to Life after Dying – Psalms 16:9-10
Luke 2:4; 6-7
2 Corinthians 5:21
What distinguishing facts separate Christ from common man?
First: He was expected; even the gentiles had a longing for a deliverer, or redeemer.
Second: once he appeared He split history; dividing it into two periods, one before His coming, the other after His death.
Third: every other person who ever came into the world came into it to live, He came into it to die.
Who is this Man called Jesus? Is He God?
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. “ (John 1:1)
Jesus was not only fully God – He was also fully Man, fully Human.