For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will lead many astray. Matthew 24:5
In today’s world there are many people out there who are saying that they follow Jesus but the Jesus they claim is not the same one as the Jesus of the Bible. These people come from all walks of life and different backgrounds and can even be good friends or family. That is why it is very important to establish a firm knowledge about who Jesus really is.
Is the Jesus of the Bible the same as every other Jesus who is named? That question can be easily answered with another question. Is everyone who is named Sue the same person? Of course not. If this answer is true of the second question, then it is true of the first. We can drive the point even further by using this analogy: Sue sees her husband talking to someone. As she approaches, she overhears her husband describing his “Sue.” His description of her is completely different in looks, behavior, hobbies, career, etc. What would Sue think? She would probably be extremely hurt. Even if the husband is given the benefit of the doubt, and he is talking about his wife, it is obvious that he does not know her.
Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
This description is a very good test to understand who Jesus is. Jesus is the only way to the Father who is the Creator of all things seen and unseen. There is no other way of getting to Him. It can’t even be Jesus plus anything else. It has to be Jesus alone.
He is also the Truth. If Jesus encompasses the truth, then everything He says or does is true. There are absolutely zero contradictions with anything about Him. This includes His word. In the gospels Jesus verifies the Scriptures, that is, His Word:
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about Me. John 5:39
Since Jesus is claiming that the Scriptures are about Him, we cannot pick and choose which parts of the Bible we will believe and follow and which part we will deny. If we do this, we are actually denying Jesus! Lies and truth cannot coincide. Just because we don’t understand everything in the Bible or believe it, does not mean that it’s not true or not worth believing. (We are humans - of course we can't understand everything about God.)
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13
The third description that Jesus is the Life is also absolutely important. If we don’t have the Jesus of the Bible, we do not have life!
He who has the Son has the life, He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life. 1 John 5:12
This is why knowing the true Jesus and not any counterfeit is so very important. Our eternal life depends on it.
The description of Jesus being the Life is a great way to determine if the "Jesus" a person is describing is the true Jesus of the Bible. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the one thing about Him that is always distorted. It seems that many Christians are led astray on this point because many do not understand why Jesus had to die.
It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood this myself. I used to question why Jesus had to die, and why couldn’t God just forgive us without His death. I have heard others ask this also. This question comes from a complete misunderstanding of death itself. From early childhood, we are taught that death is natural and that it is a part of life and has been from the beginning. This is completely false! Death is not natural and was never intended by God.
This is where faith must come in. It doesn’t matter what we have learned from others or who taught it. We have to believe what God tells us in His Word.
Since Jesus is God and the Creator of everything, and He is the Life, why would He ever create anything to die? It doesn’t make sense. On top of that, the very first book in the Bible tells us that He never created us to die. We were created to have fellowship with God and for His glory. Then death came on the scene because man wanted to know about evil. When man was created, he only knew about good. He believed that knowing about evil would make him like God. Instead, this knowledge only made him know about evil - which includes death.
Now that we know death was never intended, what about the second part of the question: "Why couldn’t God just forgive us without Jesus having to die?" Because forgiveness doesn't just get rid of the problem of sin. When God forgives our sin, it is only possible because the sin has been paid for.
The following analogy can help:
You are at the zoo and someone really, really wants to pet the lion. He is warned not to let the lion out of the cage but doesn’t believe or listen to the warning. He lets the lion out. The lion begins to maul and destroy people at the zoo.
Everyone could forgive this person, but the lion is still wreaking havoc and death. It needs to be overcome and taken out of the way. It is the same with death.
The last enemy that is to be abolished is death. 1Corinthians 15:26
God wants to abundantly forgive us, but this can only happen if our sins are paid for and death is abolished.
The sting of death is sin… 1 Corinthians 15:56
This is why the death and resurrection of Jesus is so important. Jesus got rid of sin and death for us. We are powerless to do this ourselves. Now that death is overcome, God will freely give eternal life to anyone who comes to Him by believing in Him.
Knowledge of Jesus is necessary in order to have a relationship with God. It will also help us to lovingly explain to someone else about the true Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. That is why we cannot just accept any counterfeit Jesus preached, but we must follow the true Jesus of the Bible and what He says alone.
Have you ever heard someone talking about "Jesus," but it didn't sound accurate?
Would you like to get to know Jesus more?