Who Was and Is Jesus?
Updated: May 24, 2022
By and large, Christianity's number one concern is that everyone knows Jesus. Christians want others to know the Gospel, the Good News of how Jesus willingly underwent a brutal death on a cross, so that everyone who believes in Him and His loving sacrifice can be saved, forgiven and free from sin. Further, by simply receiving this incredible gift we don't deserve and having faith in the power of Jesus’ sacrificial death, we are adopted into God’s family and will one day be made completely new and enjoy eternity in heaven. All of this is certainly amazing, beautiful and true, but there’s a lot more to know about Jesus! Christianity is grounded in the historical truth of Jesus’ resurrection, and the Bible's Newer Testament documents are the primary sources for this reality. Jesus was really crucified, died and was buried but rose from the dead on the third day proving He was God incarnate. What?!? Jesus was and is God? Absolutely, and this is where things really get awesome!
When someone claims Jesus is God, it's fair to ask which God? In India, a Christian could be asked which one of the millions of gods worshiped in Hinduism Jesus was? Of course, in our culture, it’s almost a given Christians believe Jesus is the God of the Bible. In other words, Jesus is the God of the Bible incarnate. If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the central message of the entire Bible, then the entire Bible is about Jesus. Jesus is God, and the entire Bible is about Jesus because Jesus is the God of the entire Bible. If you believe this is true, just sharing the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection only scratches the surface of who Jesus really is!
Fundamental to Christianity’s view of God is that God is a Trinity or Triunity. God is three persons equally and fully sharing the attributes of Deity and characteristics of personality. The names given to these three persons, as can be identified in the Bible, are God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christians sometimes refer to God as Three in One. Jesus is God and therefore one of the Three who are One. This is truly mind blowing when you consider John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made (ESV).
This verse in John's Gospel is identifying Jesus as the Word who was God. This means Jesus was the God who created everything in the beginning (Genesis 1:1). In Hebrew, the word translated God in Genesis 1:1 is Elohim which means the supreme, powerful God. Jesus is Elohim!
As far as Three in One, Jesus is fully and equally the One God mentioned in these verses (all translations taken from the ESV):
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one (Deuteronomy 6:4)
....yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (Genesis 49:24)
how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,.... (Psalm 132:2)
….yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Jesus is equally and fully the One and Mighty One of Jacob in these verses!
Let’s continue talking about who the God of the Bible is by talking about some of the names used for God:
ADONAI/LORD - This name for God appears in the Bible nearly 7,000xs! Whenever you see the word LORD in all caps in the ESV (6,728xs), or ADONAI in some other English versions, you are seeing a translation of God’s sacred name in Hebrew called the Tetragrammaton. This sacred name for God consists of four different Hebrew characters - יְהוָֹה read from right to left: Yud, Hey, Vav and Hey. The Tetragrammaton is sometimes written as YHVH and sometimes pronounced as Yahweh or Yehovah.
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - God identifies Himself this way several times in the Bible most notably in Exodus 3:15-16. Jesus refers to God this way in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Peter and Stephen use this name for God in the book of Acts (see chapters 3 & 7).
The God of Israel - This name for God appears 201xs in the ESV. For example: Exodus 5:1; 1 Samuel 2:30; Psalm 41:13
The Holy One of Israel - This name appears 31xs in the ESV. For example: Psalm 71:22; Isaiah 17:7; Jeremiah 51:5
If God is truly Three in One, and Jesus is truly the God of the entire Bible, then Jesus is Elohim, One, the Mighty One of Jacob, ADONAI, LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel and the Holy One of Israel. Jesus is the God who created everything in the beginning, flooded the entire earth, made a covenant with Abraham, brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, gave Moses the Torah on Mount Sinai, etc. Jesus wasn't just any god incarnate, He was the God of the Bible incarnate!
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14, ESV).
Will knowing all this make you more saved by grace from sin by Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross? No. But, it ought to widen your view of who Jesus is and make your worship of Him a little hotter!