Who Is Jesus Christ?
IMAGINE how excited a young Jew named Andrew must have been when he first listened to the words of Jesus of Nazareth! The Bible states that Andrew rushed to his brother and said: “We have found the Messiah [or, Christ].” (John 1:41) In the Hebrew and Greek languages, the words usually translated “Messiah” and “Christ” mean “Anointed One.” Jesus was the Anointed One, or the Chosen One of God—the promised Leader. (Isaiah 55:4) The Scriptures contained prophecies concerning him, and the Jews at the time were in expectation of him.—Luke 3:15.
How do we know that Jesus really was God’s Chosen One? Well, consider what happened in the year 29 C.E. when Jesus was 30 years of age. He went to John the Baptizer to be baptized by him in the waters of the Jordan River. The Bible states: “After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17) After hearing those words of approval, could John have had any doubt that Jesus was God’s Chosen One? By pouring out His holy spirit on Jesus, Jehovah God anointed him, or appointed him, to be the King of His coming Kingdom. Thus, Jesus became Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Anointed One. In what way, though, was Jesus God’s Son? What was his origin?
His Origin Was “From Early Times”
Jesus’ life course might be divided into three stages. The first began long before his human birth. His origin was “from early times, from the days of time indefinite,” says Micah 5:2. Jesus himself said: “I am from the realms above”—that is, from heaven. (John 8:23) He had been in heaven as a mighty spirit person.
Since all created things had a beginning, there was a time when God was alone. Countless ages ago, however, God became a Creator. Who was his first creation? The last book of the Bible identifies Jesus as “the beginning of the creation by God.” (Revelation 3:14) Jesus is “the firstborn of all creation.” That is so “because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible.” (Colossians 1:15, 16) Yes, Jesus was the only one directly created by God himself. Therefore, he is called God’s “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) The firstborn Son also bears the title “the Word.” (John 1:14) Why? Because before being born as a human, he served in heaven as one who spoke for God.
“The Word” was with Jehovah God “in the beginning,” when “the heavens and the earth” were created. He was the one to whom God said: “Let us make man in our image.” (John 1:1; Genesis 1:1, 26) Jehovah’s firstborn Son was there at his Father’s side, actively working with him. At Proverbs 8:22-31, he is represented as saying: “I came to be beside [the Creator] as a master worker, and I came to be the one he was specially fond of day by day, I being glad before him all the time.”
How intimately Jehovah God and his only-begotten Son must have come to know each other as they worked side by side! That close association with Jehovah for untold ages deeply affected God’s Son. This obedient Son came to be just like his Father, Jehovah. In fact, Colossians 1:15 calls Jesus “the image of the invisible God.” This is one reason why knowledge about Jesus is vital in satisfying our spiritual need and our natural desire to know God. Everything Jesus did while on earth is exactly what Jehovah expected him to do. Hence, getting to know Jesus also means increasing our knowledge of Jehovah. (John 8:28; 14:8-10) But how did Jesus come to be on earth?
His Life as a Man
The second stage of Jesus’ life course began when God sent his Son to the earth. Jehovah did this by miraculously transferring the life of Jesus from heaven to the womb of a faithful Jewish virgin named Mary. Jesus inherited no imperfections because he did not have a human father. Jehovah’s holy spirit, or active force, came upon Mary, and his power ‘overshadowed’ her, miraculously causing her to become pregnant. (Luke 1:34, 35) Mary therefore gave birth to a perfect child. As the adopted son of the carpenter Joseph, he was brought up in a humble home and was the first of several children in the family.—Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22, 23; Mark 6:3.
Little is known about Jesus’ childhood, but one incident is noteworthy. When Jesus was 12 years old, his parents took him on their annual visit to Jerusalem for the Passover. While there, he spent quite some time at the temple, “sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them.” Moreover, “all those listening to him were in constant amazement at his understanding and his answers.” Yes, young Jesus could not only ask thought-provoking, spiritually oriented questions but also give intelligent answers that amazed others. (Luke 2:41-50) As he grew up in the city of Nazareth, he learned to be a carpenter, undoubtedly from his adoptive father, Joseph.—Matthew 13:55.
Jesus lived in Nazareth until he was 30 years old. Then he went to John to be baptized. Following his baptism, Jesus embarked on his dynamic ministry. For three and a half years, he traveled throughout his homeland declaring the good news of God’s Kingdom. He gave evidence that he had been sent by God. How? By performing many miracles—powerful works that were beyond human ability.—Matthew 4:17; Luke 19:37, 38.
Jesus was also a man of tender warmth and deep feelings. His tenderness was especially evident in the way he viewed and treated others. Because Jesus was approachable and kind, people were attracted to him. Even children felt at ease in his presence. (Mark 10:13-16) Jesus treated women with respect, even though some in his day looked down on them. (John 4:9, 27) He helped the poor and oppressed to ‘find refreshment for their souls.’ (Matthew 11:28-30) His manner of teaching was clear, simple, and practical. And what he taught reflected his heartfelt desire to acquaint his listeners with the true God, Jehovah.—John 17:6-8.
Using God’s holy spirit to perform miracles, Jesus compassionately healed the sick and the afflicted. (Matthew 15:30, 31) For example, a person with leprosy came to him and said: “If you just want to, you can make me clean.” What did Jesus do? He stretched out his hand and touched the man, saying to him: “I want to. Be made clean.” And the sick man was healed!—Matthew 8:2-4.
Consider, too, an occasion when a crowd who came to Jesus stayed with him for three days with nothing to eat. He felt pity for the people and miraculously fed the “four thousand men, besides women and young children.” (Matthew 15:32-38) On another occasion, Jesus calmed a storm that threatened the safety of his friends. (Mark 4:37-39) He resurrected, or brought back to life, those who had died.a (Luke 7:22; John 11:43, 44) Jesus even willingly gave his perfect human life so that imperfect mankind would have a hope for the future. What profound love Jesus had for people!
Where Is Jesus Today?
Jesus died on a torture stake at the age of 33 1/2.b But death was not the end of his life course. The third stage of his life began about three days later when Jehovah God resurrected his Son as a spirit person. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to hundreds of people living in the first century C.E. (1 Corinthians 15:3-8) Thereafter, he “sat down at the right hand of God” and waited to receive kingly power. (Hebrews 10:12, 13) When that time came, Jesus began ruling as King. So how should we imagine Jesus today? Should we think of him as a suffering man being put to death? Or should we view him as someone to be worshipped? Jesus today is neither a man nor God Almighty. Rather, he is a mighty spirit creature, a reigning King. Very soon now, he will manifest his rulership over our troubled earth.
Using symbolic language, Revelation 19:11-16 describes Jesus Christ as a king seated upon a white horse and coming to judge and carry on war in righteousness. He has “a sharp long sword, that he may strike the nations with it.” Yes, Jesus will use his great power to destroy the wicked. And what about those who strive to follow the example he set while on earth? (1 Peter 2:21) He and his Father will preserve them through the upcoming “war of the great day of God the Almighty”—often called Armageddon—so that they can live forever as earthly subjects of God’s heavenly Kingdom.—Revelation 7:9, 14; 16:14, 16; 21:3, 4.
During his reign of peace, what miracles Jesus will perform in behalf of all mankind! (Isaiah 9:6, 7; 11:1-10) He will cure sickness and bring an end to death. Jesus will be used by God to resurrect billions, giving them an opportunity to live forever on earth. (John 5:28, 29) We cannot even imagine how wonderful our lives will be under Kingdom rule. It is important, then, that we continue to take in Bible knowledge and become better acquainted with Jesus Christ.
a The miracles that Jesus performed were common knowledge. Even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that he ‘performed many signs.’—John 11:47, 48.
b For an explanation of whether Christ died on a stake or on a cross, see pages 89-90 of the book Reasoning From the Scriptures, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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IS JESUS GOD ALMIGHTY?
Many religious people say that Jesus is God. Some claim that God is a Trinity. According to this teaching, “the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God.” It is held that the three “are co-eternal and co-equal.” (The Catholic Encyclopedia) Are such views correct?
Jehovah God is the Creator. (Revelation 4:11) He is without beginning or end, and he is almighty. (Psalm 90:2) Jesus, on the other hand, had a beginning. (Colossians 1:15, 16) Referring to God as his Father, Jesus said: “The Father is greater than I am.” (John 14:28) Jesus also explained that there were some things neither he nor the angels knew but that were known only by his Father.—Mark 13:32.
Moreover, Jesus prayed to his Father: “Let, not my will, but yours take place.” (Luke 22:42) To whom was Jesus praying if not to a superior Personage? Furthermore, it was God who resurrected Jesus from the dead, not Jesus himself. (Acts 2:32) Obviously, the Father and the Son were not equal before Jesus came to the earth or during his earthly life. What about after Jesus’ resurrection to heaven? First Corinthians 11:3 states: “The head of the Christ is God.” In fact, the Son will always be in subjection to God. (1 Corinthians 15:28) The Scriptures therefore show that Jesus is not God Almighty. Instead, he is God’s Son.
The so-called third person of the Trinity—the holy spirit—is not a person. Addressing God in prayer, the psalmist said: “If you send forth your spirit, they are created.” (Psalm 104:30) This spirit is not God himself; it is an active force that he sends forth or uses to accomplish whatever he wishes. By means of it, God created the physical heavens, the earth, and all living things. (Genesis 1:2; Psalm 33:6) God used his holy spirit to inspire the men who wrote the Bible. (2 Peter 1:20, 21) The Trinity, then, is not a Scriptural teaching.c “Jehovah our God is one Jehovah,” says the Bible.—Deuteronomy 6:4.
c For further information, see the brochure Should You Believe in the Trinity? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
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At his baptism, Jesus became God’s Anointed One
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Jesus devoted his energy to his God-assigned work
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Today, Jesus is a mighty King