Does is it matter who you believe Jesus Christ was? Does the Biblical concept of who Jesus was match the LDS concept of who Jesus was? They’re both God, right? Isn’t that enough? Let’s look at who Jesus Christ was as taught from the Bible and how important this is when it comes to what he teaches and what he did for us.
Jesus Christ was fully human
It is a widely accepted historical fact that Jesus Christ of Nazareth really was a man who walked the earth two thousand years ago. This is evident by the many ancient records from independent sources who agree this is true. So there is little doubt that Jesus was a human. The records from those who knew Jesus teach us the most about his life.
Those records are found in the writings of the New Testament in the Bible. They teach us that Jesus was born a normal baby and was an average looking man. He was affected by things like hunger and thirst. Jesus was joyful and loving, but could become tired or sad. He felt pain, he wept and bled. Jesus also suffered and was crucified to his death by Roman authority. So how did this one human make such a difference throughout the history of humanity?
[Related: A New View of Church History]
Jesus Christ was fully God
When we really study the New Testament writings, we learn that it wasn’t until after the resurrection of Jesus that many understood he was fully God. Philippians 2:5-8 says he is fully God, but that he set aside his glory to be human. Hebrews 1:3 explains that Jesus is the exact representation of God. Colossians 1:19 & Colossians 2:9 explain that Jesus has the fullness of God in him. Even Thomas wouldn’t believe until he could physically touch him.
John 20:28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God.”
What’s more convincing to help us learn that he was fully God are the claims of Jesus himself. Here are just some of his claims. In Luke 4:17-21, Jesus taught with the authority of God. In Matthew 9:1-8 & Luke 7:47-50, Jesus forgave people of their sins. In John 10:25-38, taught that he was one with God as the unique Son of God.
John 3:16-17 For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
[Related: Jesus: Older Brother or Eternal God]
Jesus Christ was God in the flesh
Not only did Jesus claim to be God, he showed he was by his actions. Jesus performed many miracles over all of creation. He turned water into wine and multiplied food to feed thousands. Jesus could control the weather and walk on water. He showed his power over the human body by healing diseases and curing disabilities like blindness. Jesus even had power over life itself by raising a man from the dead.
1 Timothy 3:16 Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory.
Along with these amazing claims and actions, Jesus called himself the ancient name of God that all generations would recognize: the great I Am. This is the name God said to Moses in Exodus 3:14: “I Am Who I Am.” So, in John 8:58 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I Am!” These actions and claims of Jesus are what caused the Jewish leaders to reject him and accuse him of blasphemy.
John 10:33 They replied, “We’re stoning you not for any good work, but for blasphemy! You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
[Related: God’s Great Story – Christ, Community, Consummation]
Jesus Christ is resurrected
Some believe that Jesus Christ was just a great teacher, or a prophet of God. Some believe that Jesus was actually an angel from God. Some also believe that Jesus is just a god among other gods, who have a unity in purpose. So does the identity of who you believe Jesus Christ to be matter? All of these groups of people “believe in Jesus Christ”. Some of them may even say they have their “faith” in Jesus Christ.
So what does it really mean to have your “faith” in Jesus Christ? Well, when you read and understand the Bible, you learn that Jesus Christ is the almighty, creator God of everything. He is the only God who has always existed, who will always exist and who is completely unique. Nor will there ever be any like him.
[Related: Understanding God after Mormonism-Series]
Believing that Jesus Christ is fully God, but also became fully human when he was born is the first step to putting your “faith” in Jesus Christ. Remember, God promised that the seed of a woman would save people from their sin. So we must believe that God will provide the way for us, through Jesus Christ. He is fully God to provide the complete and perfect sacrifice and fully human to lay down his sinless life for our sinful lives.
John 8:24 “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am, you will die in your sins.”
[Related: How to Know You’re Right with God]
The resurrection of Jesus Christ showed the truth of what he taught. Putting your “faith” in Jesus Christ is believing that he is God. It is believing his promise to provide the way for us, through his grace alone. Believing the sacrifice and death of Jesus Christ is the only way for us to be made righteous and to have an eternal loving relationship with him. We can live with freedom knowing there is nothing we can do to earn or work our way to be with him. So we can have pure joy and live the way he asks us to live: to love him and love others.