who is jesus?
Jesus or "Yeshua" (his name in Hebrew) was a man of historical significance. I think we can all agree on this. Movements have been started in his name. The development of many modern philosophies have roots in his philosophy. In fact, time is divided by his birth and our cultural holidays celebrate aspects of his life. He lived about 2,000 years ago as a Jewish carpenter and taught very distinct things about God, man and the universe. He claimed to give secrets to a better way of living. He claimed to have divine knowledge. He claimed many things. These claims would shape history for the next 2,000 years and beyond.
Jesus claimed to be the "Christ". No, that was not his ancient surname! The "christ" was an ancient spiritual and cultural position that the Jewish society believed would only be filled by one sent from God. "Christ" and "messiah" essentially mean the same thing. They had prophecies and many beliefs about how this "messiah" would come. In short, Jesus claimed to be the messiah, or messenger from God, who would restore the needs of the Jewish people. Jesus, made one even more impressive claim - that he was God.
Now this is a serious claim. However, it forces us to make some decisions. Like the Cambridge professor C.S. Lewis so eloquently stated:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Many people have claimed outrageous things. Many outrageous ideologies have come and gone. Our immediate response may be to ignore the claim outright. But what if this claim was different, special, real? Wouldn't that immediately change the way you viewed the universe and your place in it? Maybe rather than a quick dismissal, think about what it would take to convince you of the validity of this claim. You must respond, that was Jesus' intention. We would love to help in making that decision.