Who is Jesus Christ?
Feb 4, 2017 · Courtney Jacob
If, like me, you grew up going to Sunday school, you’ve known since a young age that “Jesus” is always a safe answer to any question. Weren’t listening? Try Jesus. Stumped? Jesus. And 9 times out of 10, you’re probably right, even if it wasn’t the actual answer the teacher sought.
But sometimes, knowing the right answer isn’t enough. Often believers and nonbelievers alike have deeper questions requiring more complex or more detailed answers. Just knowing the right answer isn’t the same as understanding why it is the right answer.
For this reason, it is important for Christians to ask“Who is Jesus Christ?” Asking it doesn’t mean we lack faith. It doesn’t even mean we’re doubting. It means we want to get to know God better and grow deeper in relationship with him.
Since the 1st century, believers have recognized the importance of answering the question “Who is Jesus?” correctly. What we believe about Jesus has a big impact on what we believe about God. That’s why early church leaders and Christians ever since have poured over scripture to confirm and refine the answer to this crucial question.
Throughout history, whenever new ideas about Jesus surfaced, the Church returned to its study of the Bible. When needed, biblical findings were written down in the form of doctrine for clarification. This process gave us the subject of Christology. In our series, host Dave Bast offers this concise definition:
Christology is the branch of Christian teaching or doctrine about the person of Jesus Christ, in particular; who he was and is and how that is relevant to us; and what is the work that he came to do. (The Supremacy of Christ, segment 1)
Growing in Faith and Maturity
Studying Christology on an ongoing basis provides believers with a solid foundation and helps us grow in our faith and maturity as followers of Christ. The writer of Hebrews stresses the importance of this type of study to his audience in Hebrews 5:11-14:
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
The “solid food” to which the author refers are the deep truths of God’s word and he encourages our “constant use” of this food. This means spiritual maturity comes as we constantly study the Bible and review what we know. We may think we already know the answer to “Who is Jesus Christ?,” but through continued study we will train ourselves to distinguish good and truth from evil and false teaching.
Remaining familiar with who Jesus Christ is and what he has done also allows us to remain vigilant and be ready for those questions that arise when we least expect them. Whether we receive questions from individuals seeking the faith or from those who seek to challenge our faith, the Apostle Peter charges to:
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander
(1 Peter 3:15-16).
During seminary, I experienced a confrontation that convicted me about my need to “be prepared” to answer the question “Who is Jesus Christ?” . At the time, I was assisting a fellow seminarian who led a college group at a local church; the young adults in this group were smart and familiar with the Christian faith. I’ll never forget the moment one young student left me scrambling for words. We were wrapping up a discussion about Jesus and he started pressing me for proof. I’ll never forget how frustrated I felt as he seemed to use my own words against me and how ashamed I felt that I didn’t know my Bible better and couldn’t explain more clearly why I believed what I did about Jesus Christ.
Roots of the Christian Faith
Needless to say, that experience was rather formative for me. But I’m thankful for it. It stressed to me the importance of not just having the answer, but understanding why it’s the answer and the value in continuing to review the basics.
So whether you asking “Who is Jesus Christ?” for the first time or the hundredth, I invite you return to the roots of the Christian faith through our Groundwork series “Who is Jesus Christ?”
The Person of Jesus Christ - Colossians 1:9-17
The Supremacy of Christ - Colossians 1:18-20
How Jesus Changed Our Understanding of God - John 14:15-26 and John 1:1-5
Christ Throughout History - Colossians 1:15-20
...and together we’ll dig into these life changing scriptures that reveal the truth about Jesus Christ to us.