Is Jesus the Messiah?

“Who do you say that I am?” This question is just as important now as it was when Jesus asked Peter. A plethora of answers have been put forth to the question, but we must arrive at the truth.

How Can We Know?

There are great reasons for trusting the text of the Bible. Many have lost their confidence in the Scriptures’ accuracy today because some in academia have twisted evidence and discoveries in attempts to devalue the trustworthiness of the Bible. These attempts to discredit the text and trustworthiness of the Biblical record are easily discredited. The attacks against the actual text are easily dismissed. The “other books” put forth giving “new” or “conflicting” information are obviously spurious. Their lack of character is why we are just now finding them.

We can trust the providence of God to protect the Scriptures in their inspiration and transmission to us today. However, we can express more confidence than just simply saying “God sent it to us.” There is evidence to believe this part of our faith. William Lane Craig puts forth the following reasons for trusting the Biblical record.

  1. There was insufficient time for legendary influences to erase the historical truth.
  2. The gospels are not analogous to folk tales or contemporary urban legends.
  3. The Jewish transmission of sacred traditions was highly developed and reliable.
  4. There were significant restraints on the embellishment of traditions about Jesus, such as the presence of eyewitnesses and the apostles’ supervision.
  5. The gospel writers have a proven track record of historical reliability.[1]

Luke 1:1-4 gives us a glimpse into the reliability and painstaking accuracy given by the authors. The providence of God gives us further evidence for trusting the Scriptures.

Instead of inaccuracies in the Scriptures, we actually see great evidence to trust the Book. Historicity is generally seen in the following: Historical fit; Independent, early sources; Embarrassment; Dissimilarity; Semitism; and Coherence.[2]


The Claims of Christ

Is Jesus who he claims to be? Before we can answer that question, we need to know who he claimed to be. One of the primary pieces of evidences for us to consider is Mark 8:27-30. There you will remember Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ. Jesus accepted this description. Either he was a lunatic, a liar, or he is the Lord. John the Baptist’s affirmation in John 1:27-29 also describes Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus affirmed his own Messiahship in Luke 7:18-23.

Jesus’ life fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Christ. The majority of these things Jesus had absolutely no control over. However, Jesus mounting a colt and riding into Jerusalem is a deliberate fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy from 9:9. Jesus is deliberately fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy. Zechariah 14:21 says “there shall no longer be traders in the house of the LORD of hosts on that day”. This gives us a deeper understanding of Jesus’ driving out the moneychangers from the temple. Furthermore, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 foretell the “forerunner” of Christ. In Matthew 11:10 and Luke 7:27 Jesus identifies John the Baptist as his own forerunner. He is therefore, claiming Messiahship for Himself. Jesus’ parable of the wicked tenants in Mark 12:1-9 implicitly labels Jesus as the Son of God.

Jesus also explicitly claims to be the God’s Son in Matthew 11:27. In Mark 13:32 Jesus says that he, the Son, does not know when the end will be. When Jesus claimed to be the Christ, he claimed to be the divine one. The Christ is the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6.

Jesus’ self description of “the Son of Man” is also a Messianic claim. We often are told that the phrase “Son of God” described his deity while “Son of Man” described his humanity. This may not be entirely accurate. The most popular book among the 1st century Jews appears to be the book of Daniel. But looking closer we notice that Jesus did not describe himself as a son of man, but the Son of Man. This is a huge difference. Daniel 7:13-14 records a vision of Daniel concerning “one like a son of man.” Jesus understood that he was the fulfillment of that prophecy—he was “the one like a son of man.” We see this self-understanding in Mark 8:38; 13:26-27; and Matt. 10:32-33. The Son of Man receives glory which only God can receive.

Jesus’ preaching concerning the kingdom demonstrated that he understood himself to be the King. The apostles were to help him judge—Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:28-30. Jesus was describing himself as the Royal Priestly King.

Jesus’ deity and messiahship is also evident in his authority. He would say, “you have heard it has been said….but I say unto you” (Matthew 7:28-29; Matthew 5:31-32). His commonly used “Verily, I say unto you” is understood to express his Divine authority.

Jesus’ claim to be able to forgive sins is also a demonstration of his understanding of his divine messiahship. Mark 2:1-12 records the epic scene of Jesus forgiving sins and healing the paralytic as a demonstration of his deity and being the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. All of Jesus’ miracles declare his deity and Messiahship (Matthew 11:4-6).

Jesus confessed to being the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One in Mark 14:60-64. This claim is undeniable. He affirmed his position and that all humanity must serve him. This is the greatest claim of history. It is also the greatest truth of history.

[1] William Criag. On Guard  (188-189).

[2] 195.

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