The Christ of the Bible
Jesus in the Four Gospels
It pleased God to give us four biographical portraits of Jesus [Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John], all looking at His person and work from slightly different perspectives. Here “we find the portrait of someone without parallel in human history. The record we see of Jesus in the Gospels is that of an absolutely pure man, a man without sin, a man who could say to His accusers, ‘Which one of you convicts Me of sin?’ (John 8:46).”
We also have Jesus’ testimony of His identity. Jesus made some bold and extravagant claims, such as the “I am” declarations in John’s gospel: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die” (John 6:48-50). Some were so enraged by those words that they walked no more with Him. Cf. John 14:6, 14; 15:5.
Even more dramatic was this comment: “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad….Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:56, 58). The significance of this was not missed by the first-century community. Greek-speaking Jews wrote the sacred name of God as “Yahweh,” which is translated, “I am who I am,” so when Jesus used such language about Himself, He was clearly identifying Himself with the sacred name of God.
He claimed divine authority when He used the title “Son of Man,” referring to the one who comes to the presence of the Ancient of Days, ascending with the clouds of heaven (Daniel 7:13). Jesus said, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28). One another occasion, He healed a man so that the religious authorities “may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” (Matthew 9:6). The enemies of the Jews were outraged that Jesus was “making himself equal with God” (John 5:18).
The Apostolic Testimony of Jesus
The apostles unveil for us the ministry of Christ as Savior. They explain the atonement, and how Christ as our Mediator accomplished redemption for us; how all the details of the Old Testament sacrificial system find their fulfillment in the ministry of Jesus; and how Jesus fulfilled all the OT prophecies of the One to come.
“We see a magnificent portrait of Jesus the perfect man, but…the One who indeed is God with us, God incarnate, and it is because of this…that the church, in setting forth her theological formulations in the early centuries, had to come to grips with the difficulty of being faithful both to the humanity of Jesus and to the deity of Christ.”
[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]