Question: According To The New Testament, Who Is Jesus?
Answer: Whenever we read any book, our goal should always be to discover the intention, or purpose, of the author. As far as the New Testament is concerned, the main character is Jesus Christ and the New Testament was written to create belief in Him. This is the claim it makes for itself. John stated this clearly when he wrote.
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30,31 NRSV).
These verses are highly instructive. John’s purpose in writing was to create in his readers, belief in Jesus as the Christ, or Messiah. He tells us that he was selective in the signs that he recorded about the life and ministry of Jesus, but that the signs that were given were meant to cause the reader to believe. This is his stated purpose.
The remainder of the New Testament echoes that same purpose. Therefore, we should attempt to discover what Jesus, the main character, actually said and did.
1. The Claim Of The Four Gospels: There Is Only One Way To Reach The One God
When Jesus came to earth, He made a variety of claims about Himself. One thing that Jesus claimed was that He Himself was the only possible way that a person could have a relationship with one true God. There are many people who do not like this assertion because it seems so narrow-minded.
Others try to deny that Jesus said, or meant, this. However, the record is clear. Indeed, whether a person likes it or not, Jesus made the colossal claim that nobody could know the living God except by means of Him. Jesus said the following to the religious leaders of His day.
That is why I said you will die with your sins unforgiven. If you don’t have faith in me for who I am, you will die, and your sins will not be forgiven” (John 8:24 CEV).
Jesus could not be clearer. Unless a person has faith, or believes, in Him they will not have their sins forgiven.
On the night of His betrayal, Jesus said the following to His disciples who were gathered with Him in the upper room.
Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me (John 14:1 NKJV).
Jesus Is The One Way To God
In another place, Jesus made it clear that He was the one way to reach the one God. We read the following in John’s gospel.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NRSV).
Notice how exclusive this claim of Jesus is. Nobody can reach God the Father except through Him.
Those Who Believe In Jesus Have Eternal Life
At another time, Christ said that those who believe in Him have passed from death to life. In other words, they already have eternal life.
Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life. “Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live” (John 5:24,25 NRSV).
Anyone who has trusted Jesus as their Savior presently has eternal life. This is His claim.
Elsewhere, Jesus said that those who reject Him will receive God’s judgment. We read these difficult words in John’s gospel.
The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who refuses to believe in the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36 HCSB).
God’s wrath will remain upon those who reject Jesus. Therefore, it is crucial that humans put their faith in Him if they want to have their sins forgiven and everlasting life.
Again we stress, these are Jesus’ claims! He is the One who has said these things about Himself. Consequently, they must be dealt with.
2. The Claims Of The Book Of Acts
Not only did the Lord Jesus make exclusive claims about Himself, we also find that speakers in the Book of Acts also make the claim that Jesus is the only way to reach God.
The Apostle Peter said the following to the religious leaders who had him arrested.
No one else can save us. Indeed, we can be saved only by the power of the one named Jesus and not by any other person (Acts 4:12 God’s Word).
Note well his claim. There is no salvation outside of the Person of Jesus Christ. He is the only way by which a person can be saved. This echoes what Jesus said about Himself. He is the one way to reach the one God.
3. The Claims Of Paul
The writings of the Apostle Paul continue this same line of teaching. He also stated that Jesus Christ was the only way to reach the one, true, God. He wrote the following.
For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human (1 Timothy 2:5 NET).
Paul said that Jesus was the one intermediary, or go-between, between God and the human race. In other words, to reach God a person must go through Jesus.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome he taught that it is only through Jesus that a person receives the gift of eternal life. He put it this way.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23 NLT).
Salvation is a free gift from God to those who place their faith in Jesus. We cannot earn it. We can only receive the benefit of what Jesus accomplished on our behalf.
Later, in Romans he wrote of the necessity to believe in Christ. He stated the following.
Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation (Romans 10:9,10 NET).
Here again the stress is upon believing in Jesus for salvation.
According to Scripture, there is only one God who exists, and only one way to reach Him. It is through Jesus Christ.
4. The Testimony Of The Book Of Hebrews
There is still more. The writer to the Hebrews emphasized that Jesus alone saves those who come to God.
Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf (Hebrews 7:25 NLT).
Jesus saves every person who comes to God the Father through Him.
These Claims Were Not Invented By The Church
The idea that Jesus is the only way to get to God was not invented by the church but was central to His message. Therefore, according to the New Testament, there is no other way to reach God except through Jesus.
Whether a person believes it or not, the record is clear; Jesus Himself believed and taught that only through Him could a person have their sins forgiven and come to know the living God. The other New Testament writers proclaimed the same truth.
There Are Two Basic Questions That Need To Be Answered
Since these are Jesus’ claims about Himself there are two basic questions that need to be answered about Him.
Question One: Who Do You Think That Jesus Is?
The first question Jesus Himself asked His disciples. We read of this in Matthew.
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15 NKJV).
Who is Jesus Christ to you?
Question Two: What Will You Do With Jesus?
Pontius Pilate asked the second question. Matthew also records this question.
What should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? (Matthew 27:22 NLT).
According to Scripture the eternal destiny of each individual depends upon how we answer these questions. What is your verdict? What have you done with Jesus? Is He your Savior?
Summary To Question 3 According To The New Testament, Who Is Jesus?
The stated purpose of the New Testament is to create belief in the reader that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Those who believe this message have life through His name. This is why the New Testament was written. As we look at the various writings which make up the New Testament we note the consistent theme that Jesus is the one way to reach the one God.
To begin with, Jesus Himself made these claims. We find Him saying that it is through Him alone that a person can receive forgiveness of sin. He also claimed to be the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody could reach God the Father except through Him. Jesus also said that those who believe in Him presently have everlasting life.
This teaching continued after Jesus’ ascension into heaven. In the Book of Acts we find a number of speeches and sermons recorded. Each speaker made it plain to his audience that salvation was given through Jesus Christ and Him alone. There is no other way.
The writings of the Apostle Paul teach the same truth. Paul said that Jesus is the one intermediary, or go-between, between God and the human race. To reach God, one must go through Jesus.
We find that writer to the Hebrews also making this claim. Jesus is the One who can save anyone who comes to Him.
These are merely a few of the many references in the New Testament about the importance of Jesus in reaching God the Father. To this we could add much more.
Thus, the specific claim of the New Testament is there is only one God, and only one way to get to the one God, through Jesus Christ. All others are pretenders. Indeed, there is no salvation from sin outside of the Person of Jesus Christ. This is their claim, not something the church later invented.
Two basic questions about Jesus need to be answered by each individual.
The first is, “Who do you think that He is?” The second question is, “What will you do with Him?” How we answer these two questions determines how Jesus will judge us. Therefore, it is essential that we have the right answers to these questions.
This question comes from my forthcoming book “Who Is Jesus Christ?”