Monday, December 16, 2013

P11/11 Discovering the Identity of Jesus - Conclusions and Personal Appeal

Matthew 16:15 "He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Note to the reader:   We have covered much ground in this study, and I hope you have been blessed as a result.  For today's post we will combine lessons three and four, being that they both work together to draw to a conclusion all that has been covered. Please understand that this study has served to introduce the reader to the validity, historicity and rich theology of the four Gospels and how the Holy Spirit inspired them to enable the reader to discover the identity of Jesus Christ. As we saw in yesterday's study on the 8 reasons for the historical reliability of the Gospel records, the Christian faith rests on solid historical and doctrinal footings.

In today's post we will conclude this entire blog series that is dedicated to explaining the identity of Jesus Christ in light of the historical and doctrinal reality of His crucifixion and resurrection. 

Lesson Three: Drawing conclusions that identify the person and work of Jesus Christ

What we have just conducted is a historical, cultural and theological sketch of Jesus Christ. From all of the above considerations we can draw the following conclusions:
1. Jesus Christ fits the profile of the hundreds of prophecies and detailed plans that God ordained in the Old Testament concerning salvation and it’s agent.

2. The Gospels draw together these complex patterns and give us four individual portraits (King, Servant, Son of Man and Son of God) and five pictures common to them all (reconciler, mediator, sacrifice for sin, deliver and Yahweh (the source of Life)

3. Through His actions and statements, Jesus’ claims to being equal with God (Mark 2:7; John 8:58) fits within the context of the framework of the Old Testament (Psalm 110; Proverbs 30:4)

4. External secular sources paint a more generalized picture that, at least historically, generally matches with what the Gospels reveal about Jesus.

5. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is not only verified by historical references outside the gospels, but fits well within the Old Testament’s teaching on the death of God’s agent of salvation (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12).

6. The Gospels turn out to be reliable historical sources for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Additionally, the fact of their being four gospels only strengthens the ring of authenticity of the life and identity of Jesus Christ.


1. What have you personally learned about Jesus and the Gospel accounts of the crucifixion? 

2. By having this evidence and profile of Jesus before you, how would this change your opinion of Christianity or becoming a follower of Jesus?                
Lesson Four: The difference between Knowing about Jesus and Knowing Jesus

One final Personal appeal before we close out this post...

In Matthew 27:22 Pilate asks this question : “What do I do about Jesus, who is also referred to as Christ?”[1]  It is clear that Pilate, having been face to face with the very one we have been studying in this course, had a knowledge of Jesus.  He was aware that Jesus claimed Himself as King of the Jews (Matthew 27:11); that He was called the Christ (verse 22) and that He could find no fault in Jesus (Verse 23). 

Pilate knew things about Jesus, but from what we see in Matthew and the other three gospels, Pilate did not really know Jesus.  What’s the difference?  In the Bible knowing someone or something entails the idea of relationship.  Furthermore, no one can truly say they no someone until they have achieved a close acquaintance with them. 

I would like to now ask you about the material we have just covered today.  You most likely have learned some facts regarding the person of Jesus from our study of first century culture, literature and the Gospel narratives.  What now?  What will you do with that knowledge?  Historians tell us that one of the key purposes of historical investigation is for the conclusions of history to shape how we understand the present.  

Understanding things about Jesus is one thing, but according to the Bible, we must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Master over everything and the source of life, and believe with everything within us that God raised Him from the dead, then will we be delivered from the threat of God’s wrath.[2]

If anything, what we know of the Jesus of history and the Jesus that you and I can know both personally and relationally is that they are one and the same.  The very Jesus that we have learned about in this study is the same one who I talk to and receive comfort from every day, for He is the same yesterday, Today and forever.[3]  

Pilate’s life remained empty.  Although he had met Jesus Christ face to face, he left that meeting empty.  He knew of Jesus but never knew Him.   Do not be like Pilate.  You can know Jesus Christ in a personal way.  For no one else in all of creation has the ability or nature to offer salvation to people in this world except Jesus Christ.[4] 

Talk to the Lord and admit to him that you are a sinner, as the Bible states. (Romans 3:23) Secondly tell Him that you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins according to the scriptures, was buried and three days later raised from the dead according to the scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Thirdly tell the Lord that you completely trust in Jesus as your Savior, Lord and Treasure and ask His Holy Spirit to enable you to live for Him by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)  

My prayer is that through this study, you have discovered how awesome Jesus is and how the Four Gospels accurately portray His life, death and resurrection. To God be the glory!


[1] Translation rendered from the Greek Text of Nestle Aland 26th edition.
[2] Romans 10:9-10  Translation from the Greek text of Nestle Aland 26th edition
[3] Hebrews 13:5
[4] Acts 4:12 Translation from Nestle Aland 26th edition