Open Your Bible
John 1:1-5, John 1:14-18, Luke 4:16-30, Matthew 16:13-20, Matthew 17:1-7, Mark 15:1-5, Mark 15:16-39, Matthew 28:1-10, Matthew 28:16-20, Colossians 1:15-20, John 21:25
Jesus in 500 words or less. Is that even possible? After all, the apostle John ended his Gospel by stating that the world is not big enough for all the books that could be written about this man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth (John 21:25). And if John says it can’t be done, who am I to try?
The daunting task reminds me of those blue test booklets in school, the ones designed to hold handwritten answers to essay questions, paragraph after painful paragraph to prove how much we did—or didn’t—know about the subject at hand. I love words and I liked school, but even I hated those blue booklets. They symbolized a reckoning none of us could escape, the teacher acting as the sole judge of whether our finite knowledge was enough.
“Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Jesus quizzed His disciples after yet another encounter with the religious leaders who were constantly trying to corner Him, embarrass Him, and discredit Him. But His question isn’t only for the Twelve; it’s also for us.
Who is Jesus? He is God incarnate, the very fullness of God in the form of a man. John described Him this way: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). Jesus was present at creation when the earth was formed and the first man and woman were made in the image of God. “He was with God in the beginning,” John writes. “All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created” (John 1:2–3).
Not one thing was created apart from Jesus. “He is before all things, and by him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). And yet, Jesus came to walk the very earth He formed, becoming a real human being who talked and laughed and ate breakfast and felt physical pain. He came to dwell among us—to live and die and rise again as the Savior of the world.
Who is Jesus? God the Father answered the question as His only Son stood high on a mountain, three of His friends beside Him and two ancient fathers of the faith looking on. “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 17:5). God then followed that statement with a not-so-subtle command: “Listen to him!”
Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God who reveals the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:18). He is the Lamb of God who fulfilled the law we could not keep and took the punishment for our sins on Himself (Romans 8:3–4). He is the risen Savior who reconciles us to God and gives us peace (Colossians 1:19–20).
All of Scripture points to Jesus. Every story is about Him. And though we may not be able to explain this reality in any number of blue test booklets, we can know it in our bones all the same. As we read the stories of women and men in the New Testament, I pray that we see Jesus. May we stand with Peter and profess: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).