Who Is Jesus Christ?

Jesus asked His disciples, as He asks each of us in turn: "But who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16.15) In order to answer Him truthfully from the heart, we need to understand how others have answered this question before us.

King David, prophesied about the coming of the Messiah in Psalm 110: "A prince from the day of your birth on the holy mountains; from the womb before the dawn I begot you... Like Melchizedek you are a priest forever… At your right hand is the Lord." (Psalm 110.3-5) Jesus fulfills this prophesy as the eternal Priest, Prophet, and King, begotten of the Father in eternity.

St John declared: "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth." (John 1.14) Jesus is the Word made Flesh; the One through whom "all things came to be". (John 1.3) He is the eternal Logos (Greek for 'word'), the source of all "life, and this life was the light of the human race" (John 1.4) Jesus, God's only Son, became fully human, "born of a woman, born under the law." (Galatians 4.4) Yet in becoming fully human, He retained the fullness of divinity.

Soon after Joseph found Mary to be expecting a child, an angel appeared to him in a dream to announce to him: "She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus. He will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1.21), The name Jesus means God saves. His name signifies His purpose and mission of redemption. The birth of Jesus was announced by the angels to the shepherds as the fulfillment of the long-promised Messiah of God's people: "For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord." (Luke 2.11) Messiah is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek word Christ which translates to Anointed.

John the Baptist announced the arrival of Jesus: "Behold, the Lamb of God." (John 1:36) At the baptism in the Jordan, when Jesus emerged from the waters, the Father's voice was heard: "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3.17) At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus implied He was the Messiah with the words of the Prophet Isaiah read in the public assembly of the synagogue: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me." (Luke 4.18) The Apostle Peter, the 'rock' on whom Jesus has built His Church, testified to Jesus: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16.16). Jesus identified Himself as One with the eternal God when He addressed the people: "Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM." (John 8:58)

Above His dying body on the cross, Pilate had inscribed "Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews." (John 19.19) In his encounter with the Risen Jesus, the Apostle Thomas professed his faith: "My Lord and my God!" (John 20.28) The Hebrew name of God, Yahweh, is translated to Kyrios in Greek, which means Lord. St. Paul wrote that His name is "above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend… and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Philippians 2.9-11)

By faith in the person of Jesus Christ as our Lord and God, we "are all children of God in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3.26) In His name, with the power of His grace, and through His love, we are saved. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (John 3.16)

May each of us, in our profession of faith in Jesus, hear His reply in the words He spoke to Peter: "Blessed are you, Simon [Peter], for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father." (Matthew 16.17)

This poem expresses the glory of the Name of Jesus.
.

Jesus

Fulfilling prophesies of old,
The One through Whom all came to be,
The Word Himself, as was foretold,
Became flesh from eternity.

The Christ Child, born of woman,
The Savior and Anointed One;
At once, both divine and human --
Begotten God's beloved Son.

The crucified from Nazareth:
"King of the Jews" His charge and crime;
Condemned without cause unto death -
The Lamb of God was killed in time.

Rising above both death and grave;
The Lord of Glory's above all,
With Name of names to heal and save
All God's children who heed His call.

May ev'ry soul, God's grace receive:
To love Jesus, and to believe.


Holy Spirit, grant us the grace
To know and love God's only Son;
That all our sins He may efface
And in our lives His will be done. Amen.




References:

New American Bible - Catholic Edition

Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 422 - 455

Pope Benedict XVI, Introduction to Christianity,
© 2004 Ignatius Press, San Francisco, p. 202 - 228


prepared by:

Paul Buis


(c) Paul Buis, 2006