In this second part of our series, we examine what Jesus had to say about Himself. You can read Part 1 here……
Jesus’ identity as God. It has become fashionable for opponents of Christianity to deny that Jesus ever really existed, or that his Messianic status was a later invention on the part of His fanatic followers. Luckily for us, our understanding of Jesus’ proper identity need not be wholly dependent on what others say about Him. He has plenty to say for Himself. According to world-renowned Christian apologist Dr. William Lane Craig, there are four events surrounding Jesus’ Resurrection which are so firmly established by historians that they are placed outside the realm of dispute. We need only concern ourselves with three of them: 1.) His crucifixion and burial, 2.) the discovery of the empty tomb, and 3.) His post-mortem appearances. Irrespective of one’s religious (dis)affiliation, these provide firm historical evidence for the literal, bodily Resurrection which indicates that He is indeed the Person He claims Himself to be:
- Son of Man – Far and away, this was the title by which Jesus most frequently referred to Himself. Although it sounds as though He is strictly referencing his human incarnation, the ‘Son of Man’ unquestionably refers to an Old Testament Messianic vignette, scrawled out for us in practically cinematic detail in Daniel 7.
- Messiah – In John 4:25-26, John recalls a trek which Jesus made through Samaria. At a water well, He comes across a woman of questionable reputation during the heat of the day. Most locals would have drawn their water in the cool, early morning hours to escape the extreme temperatures, so most commentators believe her noonday excursion provided her some much needed social solitude. I’m convinced Jesus sought her out. At any rate, in stark contrast to the current code of conduct, He strikes up a conversation with her. Eventually they stumble onto the topic of proper worship, and she responds by saying, “I know that Messiah is coming…when He comes, He will tell us all things.” Without much fanfare, but with incredible clarity, Jesus says, “I, who speak to you, am He.”
- Co-Eternal with God – This High Priestly Prayer finds Jesus making multiple attestations to His role as emissary sent directly from God, as well as His position as intermediary between God and mankind, in addition to the oneness and unity He experiences with God by which They are the common possessors of all individuals who are true Followers. Specifically, however, Jesus makes mention of His God-given authority over all people (v.2), His position as the giver of eternal life (also v.2), His identity as the agent of New Life and sent from God (v.3) and His co-eternality with God (v.5 and again in v. 24).
- The OT Prophesied Messiah – In Luke 7:22, John the Baptist has been imprisoned and is facing his execution. Wrestling with doubt and in view of his own mortality, John sends some of his followers to inquire as to Jesus’ Messianic identity one last time. Luke records Jesus’ response in this verse as instructing John’s men to report to John the kinds of supernatural things that Jesus is doing, like causing blind people to see, and deaf people to hear. These are precise Messianic references from Isaiah 35:5 & 61:1.
 Is. 35:5 — Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. Is. 61:1 — The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;