There are many conjectures about who Jesus was and is; sad to say, most views presented inadequately reveal who the real Jesus is as portrayed in the Scriptures. Almost every prevailing doctrinal opinion attaches philosophies on the revealed Word in order to make Jesus appear to be some one he never claimed to be. The apostle Paul reported of some in his day who were, in effect, preaching another Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:14), that is, they were preaching Jesus, but not the truth about Jesus. Nor can we in this day – when Satan and his demons are working miracles so as to deceive, if possible, the elect (Matthew 24:24; Revelation 13:14; 16:14; 19:20) – expect that, simply because we have found someone who can perform miraculous or wonderful works, that we have found the true Jesus in the message of the worker of miracles who might be doing miracles in Jesus’ name. (Matthew 7:22) Indeed, many heathen who do not believe in Jesus at all claim miracles performed in the name(s) of their gods or idols.
It is recorded that Jesus once asked his disciples: “Who do men say that I am?” He got a reply, that some reasoned him to be John the baptist risen from the dead; that others thought him to be Elijah risen from the dead, and others considered him as being perhaps one of the other prophets. Then came the point of the question: “But who do you that I am?” Peter responded and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus admitted the correctness of this, saying, “You are blessed, Simon, son of Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in Heaven.” — Matthew 16:13-17; Mark 8:27-30.
Afterwards, Jesus proceeded to explain to the beloved Twelve the experiences that lay before him — how the Kingdom would be formally proffered to the people of Israel, and how through their representatives, the elders, the chief priests, they would reject Him; how he would be killed, and after three days rise again. This, of course, is not what the Jewish populace in general had expected of Messiah. So what would be the reactions of the disciples concerning this description of Jesus’ own expectations concerning himself? — Mark 8:31; Matthew 16:21.
He made the statement about his death very emphatic, and the disciples clearly understood it. Perhaps they were disappointed, considered it a disgrace upon the Messiah to take such a view of the future, and a disgrace also upon the apostles, because if Jesus had such expectations it would modify and regulate his course, and soon disaster would come to him, and the dashing of all their hopes which he had inculcated — hopes of sitting with him in his throne, etc.
Doubtless all of the apostles were disappointed, but only Peter had the courage to express himself, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This will never be done to you.” In effect, Peter was saying: You will, we all know, as the Messiah, attain the throne of Israel and thus eventually the throne of the world, and bring blessing to the whole human race; and as you have promised, we will be with you in your throne. — Matthew 16:22; Mark 8:32.
In this course Peter was opposing the Yahweh’s will and plan, of which the death of Jesus was the very center or hub, from which would radiate all the fulfillments of all the various promises — to his church first, to Israel next, and finally to all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues. Jesus perceived that these influences were striving to hinder his consummation of his sacrifice, even as Satan tried to do in the beginning of his consecration. To make the matter very emphatic he said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men.” Then he began to make clear to his followers what had not been “food in due season” to give them before, in such plain terms, namely, that whoever desired to be counted in with him in any part of his work must realize that it would cost him all that he possessed of an this world’s affections; he must deny himself, take up his stauros and follow him.
The great question of eighteen centuries ago is the great question of today! Who is Jesus? If, as some claim, he was merely a good man, a most able teacher, then he was not the promised Messiah, for the promises concerning the Messiah showed that, although he was the embodiment of all the qualities of what man would consider to be “good man”, he was more, much more. To be the Christ, he must have been “the man Christ Jesus,” who gave Himself a ransom price for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:5,6.) And this signifies that he must have been, not of ordinary birth, but extraordinary, born from above, because if born in the ordinary course of nature he would be like others of Adam’s sons, subject to the sentence of death, and hence unable to save either himself or others. But if he was the Christ (which means Anointed One), the Sent of God, who left the glory he had with his God, the only true God (John 17:1,3,5), and was made flesh, having a body prepared by God himself (Hebrews 10:5), with the glory of a sinless man, that he might “taste death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9; 10:10) Thus, we see him as the great redeemer (deliverer, repurchase) of the world, whose death was necessary as a ransom, or corresponding price, to secure the release of mankind from the death sentence and to make possible the resurrection of Adam and his race. — Romans 5:12-19; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22.
If you have not already done so, we recommend a thorough study of the scriptures presented in the “What We Believe” article.