Who Is Jesus…and Why Is He So Important to Us?
Jesus stands at the center of Christianity as its foundation. And as Seventh-day Adventists, we affirm that He is God’s only Son and humanity’s Savior, who loves us with immeasurable love and died on the cross to bear the weight of our sins.
This post is a basic overview of His life, His mission, and His identity.
We’ll look at:
- Who Jesus is and how He is our Savior
- What the name Jesus means
- Qualities of His character
- Prophecies about Him
- His ministry on earth
- How He changed people’s lives
- His death and resurrection
- How He is still relevant to us today
Let’s dig in and learn more about who Jesus is.
Who is Jesus According to the Bible?
Jesus is fully God as a member of the Godhead. And He also became fully human when He came to the earth to live and die in order to save us from sin.
Like many other Christian denominations, Adventists believe that there is only one God who exists in the trinity of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. This three-in-one unity of “co-eternal” persons is called the Trinity.
Jesus is part of the Trinity as God the Son who was sent to this earth by God the Father to be crucified and give us hope for a future.
Even though the word Trinity is not directly used in the Bible, there are references to it in both the Old and New Testaments. Here are a couple examples:
- During the creation of man, God refers to Himself in plural as “us.” “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV).
- Paul says that there is one God, the Father and Jesus our Lord. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6, NKJV).
In the Gospels, we find that Jesus, the Son of God, came down to this earth to live a sinless life of ministry as a man (1 Peter 2:22).
Jesus, who is called Christ, was born to Mary, who was a virgin engaged to a Jewish man named Joseph (Matthew 1:16).
This was a unique birth since the child Jesus was not conceived in the normal way where He had a human father and mother. Instead, He only had a human mother, who was a virgin at His conception (Luke 1:31–38).
The angel Gabriel explained to Mary saying, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God” (Luke 1:35, ESV).
So, Jesus had God as His Father.
All this happened in the first century AD. And just about the time Jesus was about to be born, Caesar Augustus announced that “all the world should be registered” (Luke 2:1, NKJV).
So Joseph and Mary traveled from their home town in Galilee to a city called Bethlehem in Judea. And that’s where Jesus was born in a stable.
The Bible doesn’t talk much about Jesus’ early years of life. But it does mention that Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40, NKJV).
Later, we are told of one incident when He was 12 years old. His parents took Him on their yearly trip to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.
At the end of the feast, Jesus got separated from His parents. And as any parents would, they became anxious when they could not find Him amongst their friends and relatives.
Then surprisingly, they found Him in the temple after three days of searching. He was sitting in the temple with the religious teachers, asking them deep spiritual questions.
But Jesus was not alarmed by the separation from His earthly parents. “He said to them, ‘Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’” (Luke 2:49, NKJV).
Years later, Jesus began His ministry at 30 years of age (Luke 3:23). He was crucified about three years after that.
The Bible specifically mentions that Jesus came to take away our sins and that He did not sin (1 John 3:5). He left His throne to experience earthly life, to be “sin for us,” and to bear its consequences so we can have an opportunity to live with Him eternally (2 Corinthians 5:21).
What does the name Jesus mean?
According to Scripture, the name Jesus means, “He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, NKJV). The meaning of His name tells us His life purpose, which was to die for us and to redeem us from the sin that we were born into.
In the Bible, names are very significant because every name holds some special value and tells us about the qualities and characteristics of an individual.
For example, in Genesis 17, God changed Abram’s name (which means “exalted father”) to Abraham (meaning “father of a multitude”), which symbolized and confirmed God’s promise of making him a “father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5, NKJV).
Jesus also had other names. Throughout the Bible, the Son of God is referred to with different titles. Here are some of them:
- Almighty (Revelation 1:8)
- Bread of Life (John 6:35)
- Deliverer (Romans 11:26)
- Immanuel (Matthew 1:23)
- Good Shepherd (John 10:11)
- King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1–2)
- Lamb of God (John 1:29)
- Light of the World (John 8:12)
- Lord of All (Acts 10:36)
- Messiah (John 4:25–26)
- Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
- Rabbi (John 1:38)
- Savior (Luke 2:11)
- God (Isaiah 40:3)
- Son of God (Matthew 26:63–64)
- Christ (Matthew 16:16)
All these names reveal to us the qualities of Jesus.
Think about it this way: a person who is faithful, true, devoted, and dependable is likely to be called “loyal,” just like a person who is trustworthy, honest, caring, and empathetic can be called a “friend.”
What are some of Jesus’ qualities revealed in the Bible?
Jesus’ names reveal to us that He is a loving God (1 John 4:8).
In fact, the Bible tells us that God is love because though He was sinless, He came down to this earth in the form of a child to minister to us and eventually be crucified for our sins. He is the prime example of what love is and how we should love those around us.
What’s also amazing is that Jesus loves and cares for us so much that He gives us the privilege of being called His friends (John 15:13).
Another one of Jesus’ qualities is His forgiveness.
John tells us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NKJV).
Jesus practiced forgiveness in His life and especially when He hung on the cross, dying for the very people mocking Him. He asked His Father to “forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, NKJV).
His life service, humility, and the ultimate sacrificial love
When Jesus came down to this earth, He didn’t come as a literal king to sit on a throne and rule the world, though that’s what the people and the religious leaders expected.
The Bible says, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45, NKJV). We find a good example in John 13 when He washed His disciples’ dirty feet.
This all shows how service and humility were a large part of Jesus’ lifestyle and who He was as a true king.
Prophecies about Jesus
The Son of God lived to fulfill all the prophecies that were foretold about Him. Some of these include:
- He spent some of His early life in Egypt (Hosea 11:1)
- He preached in parables (Psalm 78:2)
- He performed many miracles (Isaiah 35:5–6)
- Rulers plotted against Him (Psalm 31:13)
- He was mistreated (Isaiah 53:7)
- His hands and feet were pierced (Psalm 22:16)
- He was resurrected (Psalm 16:9–11)
Even just the birth of Jesus was a long-awaited event throughout history.
Many people expected Him to come to this earth as royalty. To sit on the throne and wear a crown, as a regular king would. This led to some people being greatly disappointed and a little bit confused when Jesus showed up in a humble robe, wearing everyday sandals with no intentions of claiming the current king’s throne as His own.
But the details of His birth and methods of ministry had been prophesied about long ago.
The first mention of a Messiah is within the first three chapters of the Bible, shortly after the story of Creation. Genesis 3:15 foretold that a woman would give birth to a Savior, who would defeat Satan and save the human race from his deceptions.
Later, God promised Abraham that the Savior would come from the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:3; 17–19; Numbers 24:17), which was fulfilled as told in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:1–16.
And even the exact location of the Messiah’s birth was prophesied in the Scriptures.
Bethlehem was a small, humble town, yet it became the birthplace of the Messiah.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2, NKJV).
Not only that, but Isaiah also foretold that His name shall be called Immanuel.
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14, NKJV).
The Old Testament prophets described the Messiah’s life in great detail. And Jesus fulfilled each prophecy with perfect accuracy, which clearly shows He was the promised Messiah.
Jesus’ life on Earth
Jesus lived His earthly life in a way we can all relate to, in that He came into daily contact with temptation just like we do. The only difference is that He overcame each and every one of them through His connection with His Father God, which makes Him a perfect example for us in leading righteous lives.
Throughout the four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we can see that our Savior was born to live a human life and to experience every hardship and temptation that we could ever experience in our lives (Hebrews 4:15).
He experienced the constant battle between good and evil that we have to live through every day.
And He had to choose God on a daily basis.
The Bible says that because “He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted” (Hebrews 2:18, NKJV).
Despite the constant temptations, our Savior lived a sinless life (1 Peter 2:22), but only because He had such a close connection with His Father.
The Son of God lived a life of ministry.
He ministered to people by focusing on their physical and material needs, and then addressing their spiritual needs.
He made sure to leave us with a perfect example of what serving those around us looks like.
Christ didn’t pay attention to popularity, wealth, or status, but instead treated every person He came in contact with as a friend who deserved compassion, acceptance, and understanding.
To Jesus, good relationships were above all earthly comforts and pleasures.
How did Jesus change people’s lives?
Christ, the humble Savior, never placed the focus on Himself, but always made an effort to put others first. Jesus made sure to attend not only to the wealthy, but also to those that were sick, poor, and of low status.
To Jesus, it made no difference who the person was; if they needed help, He was there for them (Luke 19:1–10, John 5).
Once, while Jesus was on His way to heal a sick little girl, He felt someone from the surrounding crowd touch Him. It was a woman who had struggled with unstoppable bleeding for 12 years. She could not be helped by any doctors, so she figured if she touched the clothes of the Son of God, she would be healed. And she was!
When Jesus felt the power go out of Him, He asked: “Who touched My clothes?”
But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’”
“Jesus looked around to see the one who had done this thing. But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell before Him and told Him the whole truth. And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction” (Mark 5:30–34, NKJV).
Throughout the four Gospels, Jesus performed many miracles. From controlling nature to raising people from the dead. Jesus performed these miracles daily, some of which were recorded in the Scriptures. John the disciple says that they were so many that they could not be ever written to fit in the Bible. He writes:
“And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25, NKJV).
Through these miracles, Jesus demonstrated His power over the devil. He also showed His strong relationship with God, who gave Him the supernatural power to perform miracles.
But He never performed these miracles to show off His abilities.
The purpose of the miracles was to teach the people involved (and all future generations) specific lessons that were relevant to their needs.
He wanted to prove that He was truly divine. And to persuade the non-believers that He was the true God who came to save all nations. Ultimately, He performed miracles to change lives for eternity.
Here is a list of some of the miracles that Jesus performed:
- He turned water into wine (John 2:1–11)
- He stilled a storm on the sea (Mark 4:35–41)
- He fed 5,000 people using five loaves and two fishes (John 6:1–14)
- He walked on water (Matthew 14:22–33)
- He healed a leper (Mark 1:40–45)
- He healed and forgave a paralytic (Luke 5:17–26)
- He healed a blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22–26)
- He cast out an unclean spirit from a man (Luke 4:31–37)
- He healed two demon-possessed men (Matthew 8:28–34)
- He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Luke 8:40–56)
- He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1–44)
When Jesus wasn’t performing miracles, He was teaching through sermons and parables. A parable is a simple story that Jesus used to illustrate a spiritual or moral lesson.
When asked why, He explained that He wants every person to understand what He came to teach (Matthew 13:11).
Jesus wanted to make sure that His teachings are understood and that the prophecy is fulfilled (Matthew 13:10-17).
Jesus’ death and resurrection
During His time on earth, Jesus gained a large following. But with that came a large opposition as well.
There was always someone who opposed His teachings, ridiculed Him, or spoke false accusations against Him. Jesus was constantly persecuted by religious leaders who didn’t believe He was the Messiah (Matthew 9:34).
About three years into His ministry, Judas Iscariot—one of His disciples—betrayed Him in exchange for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14–16).
Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by Roman soldiers and was put on trial. The Pharisees accused Him of claiming to be the king of the Jews (Mark 15:2; John 18:34). The Roman law stated that rebellion against the king was to be punished by death via crucifixion (Mark 14:53–65).
Then He was brought before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who was not confident that Jesus was worthy of punishment. But because he was afraid of the people’s reaction towards him, he wanted to give them what they were asking for—the death of Jesus.
Pilate openly let the Jews know that he didn’t find any fault in Jesus that deserved punishment by death. He even washed his hands before them, symbolizing that he wasn’t going to take responsibility for Jesus’ death. Then he handed Jesus over to the people to be beaten and crucified (Mark 15:16–20).
In the days of Jesus, crucifixion was the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. It was used to kill criminals, slaves, and the enemies of the Roman government.
So Jesus died the death of a criminal.
During His short time on the cross, the whole world and all the heavens mourned Him. The sky became completely dark, the earth shook, and the temple curtain split from top to bottom (Matthew 27:45,51–53).
Then He was buried, and as prophesied, He resurrected on the third day (Psalm 16:9–11).
It happened that some women who were His faithful followers went to see the body of Jesus on the Sunday morning after His death. But they found it open and an angel of the Lord spoke to them, saying, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said” (Matthew 28:5–6, NKJV).
The ladies ran to tell the disciples of Jesus’ resurrection but met Jesus along the way. He instructed them saying, “Go tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me” (Matthew 28:10, NKJV).
Jesus appeared to His disciples on different occasions for a period of 40 days. Then finally, they witnessed Him ascend to heaven (Acts 1:9–11).
At that time, Jesus promised His disciples (and us) that He will send the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, and give them the power to live righteous lives and witness for Him to other people about Jesus (Acts 1:8-9). This was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
And as He went into heaven, an angel talked with His watching disciples and gave them the promise of Jesus’ second return. He said:
“This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11, NKJV).
Because of this, we have the hope and security that Jesus will come again to save us and take us to heaven.
Jesus’ role in the plan of salvation
Jesus’ death on the cross paid the price for the sin of humanity. It fulfilled the justice demanded by the violation of God’s law by Adam and Eve at the Fall. In other words, His death was a sacrificial offering for the salvation of mankind (Matthew 20:28).
This was symbolized in the Old Testament sanctuary service where God commanded that a lamb was to be sacrificed for the sins of men.
Every individual was to bring a perfect lamb, free from all blemishes that would take on the sins of that particular person. This lamb was called a sacrificial lamb.
So, when Jesus died on the cross for us, He became that offering. He was sinless, and perfect in all aspects of His character. And even though He didn’t have to, He proved His love for the human race by giving His life for us. His death gives us eternal life and makes it possible for us to be reconciled to God.
The Bible clearly states that “the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, NKJV).
So through Christ, we are able to have eternity with Him, instead of eternal death.
What Jesus can be for us today
And to help us live a righteous life, He is our perfect example and mediator in heaven.
As our all-powerful Savior, Jesus is the only way of salvation for the human race. And He wants you to experience all that He had in mind when He came down to live on this sinful earth to give us hope and a bright future.
Jesus also wants you to know Him as your faithful friend. He hears us when we pray, guides us in our difficulties, and rejoices with us in our victories. He never changes. He is the one who was, is, and will forever be our God (Hebrews 13:8).
For Seventh-day Adventists, Jesus is central in all our beliefs. And we believe that the Bible is the perfect place to learn more about Him and the relationship He wants to have with us.
If you want to learn more about Jesus and how you can have a relationship with Him, sign up for bible studies here.
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