The importance of following, obeying, or submitting to anyone, or thing, depends on who or what is making a request or demand of us. Does what we are asked to submit ourselves to have the right, power, or ability to seek our submission and fulfill the promises made?
People are invited and urged, in the Bible, by evangelists and individual followers of Jesus to believe in and follow Him. Jesus, himself, said, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). An affirmative response on our part depends on who he is and his ability to do what he says.
Who Is Jesus?This question was often raised by the people when Jesus was on earth. When Jesus made his triumphal entry to Jerusalem, with people crying, “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest... all the city was moved, saying ‘who is this’?” (Matt. 21:6-10). In the city, Jesus cleansed the Temple, healed the blind and lame (v. 12-14), and was asked by the chief priests and elders, “By what authority doest thou these things? Who gave thee this authority?” (v. 23-27).
When Jesus healed a man possessed with a devil, blind and dumb, the people were amazed and said, “Is not this the son of David?” (Matt. 12:23). The people were rightly identifying him with the promised seed of David (Acts 2:29-36).
Jesus was not just an ordinary man, like had appeared at various times before, gained a following, but came to nought (Acts 5:34-41).
When Jesus asked his chosen disciples, “Whom do men say that I the son of man am?” They replied, “Some say that thou art John the Baptist—Herod thought this (Matt. 14:2); Some Elijah; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets” (Matt. 16:3- 14). These, however, were wrong about who Jesus was. When Jesus put the question directly to His chosen disciples, Peter rightly answered, “Thou art the Christ, the son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16).
Historically, there was a man by the name of Jesus, who was born, lived, attracted a lot of attention, was crucified, buried, and disappeared mysteriously from the tomb in the place and time frame of the New Testament. This is vividly confirmed in history. But, today, as in that day, many are confused, and at a loss to explain who he REALLY was.
Jesus Claimed To Be DeityWhen Jesus healed the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day, and was criticized, He said, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” The Jews then sought to kill him, saying: “He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” Jesus continued to affirm his deity saying, “What things so ever He (God the Father) doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.... For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom He will.” He further said the Father, “hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father” (John 5:17-23).
In verse 33 Jesus mentioned John the Baptist’s witness of him. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world... I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit. And I saw, and bear record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:15-34).
Further Evidence That Jesus Is “Son of God”Prophecy of Jesus and its fulfillment is proof that He was, indeed, the Son of God.
The teaching of Jesus (Mt. 7:28-29; Jno. 7:46). His compassion and mercy (Acts 10:38), and character (Jno. 8:46; 1 Pet. 2:22) all show there was more to Jesus than common man. His many miracles were such that brought from men the exclamation “Only God could do such”—“Surely this was the Son of God.”
God In The FleshWhen Mary, betrothed bride of Joseph, was found with child of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:30-35), the angel appeared to Joseph and explained the situation, and said, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). It was further revealed that all this fulfilled the prophecy (Isa. 7:14) that said, “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US” (Matt. 1:19-23).
Paul listed as the first point in the “Mystery of Godliness,” “God was manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16). John wrote that the Word that “was in the beginning, and by whom all things were made, was with God and was God... and was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Much has been written of late about the deity and humanity of Jesus. Many fine things have been written on both the deity and humanity of Christ, but after reading an abundance of material written, every writer has declared a belief in the fact Jesus was both God and man while on earth. If anyone denies this, he would be going against the passages already mentioned in this article that affirm Jesus, on earth, was “God manifest in the flesh,” and all miracles of Jesus that were performed to convince people that He was “The Christ, the Son of the living God” (Jno. 20:30-31). On the other hand, if one claimed Jesus, on earth, was not completely human, but had an advantage over us when he suffered or was tempted, this would be in conflict with Hebrews 2:17-18: “...Behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted”; “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). See also Philippians 2:7.
Who was Jesus while on earth? He was “God manifested in the flesh.” He proved to people here on earth that he was the Son of God by his works, life, miracles, death on the cross, and resurrection. He is now glorified, sitting on the right hand of God in heaven, reigning over his people (church-kingdom).
If Jesus was and is all he claimed and proved himself to be, then believing in, coming to, and submitting to His will is man’s only hope for salvation and eternal glory (Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:8-9; Revelation 22:14). This is why all should follow Him. He is, indeed, Bread of Life.
~Herschel E. Patton
~Via Searching the Scriptures, September 1992, Volume 33, Number 9