A Historical Person
Maybe you have never really thought about who Jesus is, or whether his claims have any implications for your life. After all, we’re talking about a man who was born in the first century into an obscure Jewish carpenter’s family. The basic facts of his life—where and when he lived, how he died—are all pretty well agreed upon. But what about the significance of his life and death? Was he a prophet? A teacher? Was he the Son of God, or just an unusually gifted man? And for that matter, who did he think he was? For all the questions, though, everyone seems to agree on one thing: Jesus was an extraordinary person.
An Extraordinary Person
Without a doubt, in his day there was something about Jesus that caught people’s attention. Over and over Jesus said things that left his contemporaries amazed at his wisdom, and even confronted them in ways that left them fumbling around for a way to make sense of it all. (Matthew 22:22).
“Many who heard him were astonished, saying, ‘What is the wisdom given to him?’…and ‘How are such mighty works done by his hands?’” (Mark 6:2)
Then there were the miracles. Hundreds and hundreds of people saw with their own eyes Jesus do things that no human being should be able to do. He healed people from sickness; he made water instantly turn into fine-tasting wine; he told lame people to walk again, and they did; he stood on the prow of a boat and told the ocean to be quiet—and it did; he stood in front of the tomb of a man who had been dead for four days and called to him to come back to life—and the man heard him, stood up, and walked out of the tomb (Matthew 8:24–27; 9:6–7; John 2:1–11; 11:38–44).
With every one of his miracles and in every one of his sermons Jesus was making and backing up claims about himself that no human being had ever made before — claims that he was God.