Who is Jesus of Nazareth? This question as been pondered in the minds of many for two thousand years. For the answer to this question has impact on everyone from the lowliest beggar, to the mightiest King.
So who is Jesus of Nazareth and why, is he called Christ. Let me answer the second question first. Contrary to what many may think, based on it usage, Christ is not a last name, rather is a title. It is derived from the Greek word [christos], which means anointed or chosen one. It is the same as the Hebrew word Messiah. So when you hear Jesus referred to as the Christ or as the Messiah, these are the same thing. It is calling him the anointed one of God.
Now, back to the first question, who is Jesus? Jesus was a man, born into this world (Luke 2:5-7), who lived (Luke 2:52) and died (Mark 15:43-45). However the story does not simply end there. For Jesus what not simply a man, Jesus was also God incarnate [in flesh] (John 1:1, 14). He is the eternal God, the great I am of the Old Testament (Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2), who existed from the very beginning in co-existence with God [the Father] (John 1:1, 17:5). He is simultaneously fully man (Luke 19:10, Galatians 4:4) and fully God.He was the true God who took on the form of a man and faced all temptations that men face, to an infinite degree (Hebrews 4:15, Philippians 2:6-8). If Jesus had been simply God, but not man his sacrifice would have been inadequate, as he could not represent man. Had he been simply man, but not God his sacrifice would have been inadequate as he would have been imperfect. Jesus was fully God and fully man and there for was the only adequate sacrifice. (Hebrews 10:1-14)
Now while Jesus was fully man, he did not have a human father, rather the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin Mary and she gave birth to a son, Jesus Christ (Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:18-25) Though Jesus Christ was fully God, when He came to earth, He voluntarily surrendered the rights that came with His being God.He did not give up His being God, but willingly set aside His position as God to become man and face all temptations that man faced.In fact, Jesus did not only lower Himself to becoming a man, but came to serve man and die in his place.(Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:5-11).
Some have questioned the whole death of Jesus, but let me be clear, Jesus death on the cross was not simply passing out or “swooning” but was a true physical death. (Matthew 27:45-54, Mark 15:33-41, Luke 23:44-49, John 19:28-30).It was necessary that it be a true physical death as His death was a sacrifice that paid the penalty for the sins [anything not up to God’s perfect standard] of man (Matthew 20:28, I Timothy 2:6).As God is perfect and just, the sins of Man are an affront to His being. Therefore, the sins of Man needed a perfect offering to satisfy a just God.Jesus, being fully God and fully man was a perfect man. He therefore was the only adequate sacrifice to pay the price.His death on the cross fulfilled the prophecies of the messiah to come found in the Old Testament (Zechariah 2:10-11, Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12).It is through His death that our sins may be forgiven for His death was a sufficient sacrifice for the entire world, but it was only efficient for those who would believe (John 1:12, Romans 3:22).
After his death on the cross, Jesus was laid in a grave for three days and on the third day the Father raised Him from the dead in the perfection of the resurrected body (John 20:11-17, 26-29, I Corinthians 15:3-8).He was the first to be resurrected and through his resurrection, the door was opened to eternal life for those who believe (I Corinthians 20:20-21).
Jesus now sits at the “right hand” [the place of honor] of the Father (Acts 2:32-34), where He sits in authority over the church (Colossians 1:18) and serves as an advocate for believers (Hebrews 4:14-16).Jesus will one day return to claim those who have proclaimed belief in Him and have been forgiven (Acts 1:11, I Thessalonians 4:16-17) At the end of time He will sit in the judgment seat as all humanity stands before Him and He will separate those whose sins have been forgiven through belief in Him from those who are the unregenerate of the world (Matthew 25:31-46).