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Who Is Yeshua to You - Jorge Sedaca
October 24, 2017

By Jorge Sedaca, Executive Director

Whether you are Jewish or Gentile, whether you are a follower of Yeshua (Jesus) or not, I want to ask the question, “Who is Yeshua to you?” 

I’m sure a survey would find as many different answers to that question as the number of people surveyed.  There are a variety of beliefs, ideas and concepts people have regarding the person of Yeshua.  Some are true.  Some are partially true.  And some are completely false.  There are those who might acknowledge intellectually that Yeshua is the Messiah, but not allow that concept to have any bearing on their lives.

Here are some common ways people view Jesus/Yeshua:

  • He Was an Historical Figure. 

Based on available evidence, many people accept the fact that Jesus existed.   The first and most important document to support this is, of course, the New Covenant (New Testament).  The Gospel of Matthew (1:1ff) and the Gospel of Luke (3:23ff) each includes a detailed genealogy of Jesus to demonstrate His humanity, His Jewishness and His royal descent from the House of David.  The four gospels record Yeshua’s life in Israel as a young man and an adult, including all His travels, His teachings, His miracles and His interactions with others.  They also include His arrest, trials and sufferings that led to His death on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem.  The book of 1 Corinthians mentions the many witnesses who saw Yeshua alive after His miraculous resurrection (15:5-8).  There is also extra-biblical evidence that Jesus really existed.  For example, Josephus, the Jewish first-century historian, mentions Jesus in his works.  As well, in the ruins of Caesarea Maritima, a stone was found with an inscription that mentions Pontius Pilate, the Roman leader involved in Yeshua’s trial and condemnation.  Many other writings attest to the life of Jesus as a historical figure.

  • He Was a Jewish Rabbi.

Jesus used this title Himself in John 13:14.  His disciples called him Rabbi in John 11:8.  Nicodemus, the famous Jewish Pharisee and leader, addressed Yeshua as Rabbi (John 3:2).  One of Yeshua’s well-known followers, Myriam of Magdala (Mary Magdalene), called him Rabbi (John 20:16).  The multitudes that followed Yeshua were astonished at His teachings (Matthew 7:28, 22:33).  Some people today would recognize Him as a rabbi. 

  • He Was a Great Prophet.

Jesus Himself used this title in Matthew 13:57.  And when Jesus asked them what people were saying about Him, His close group of disciples answered that many saw Him as one of the prophets (Matthew 16:14).  Today, people from various religious backgrounds call Jesus a great prophet because of His teachings and influence in history.

  • He Was a Miracle Worker.

It is impossible to list here all the miracles Yeshua performed.  John himself at the end of his Gospel says that he didn’t mention all of Jesus’ miracles.  He said the world itself could not contain the number of books if everything about Jesus was written (John 20:30, 21:25).  In Matthew 11:20-21, Jesus mentions the many miracles He had performed in cities throughout Israel.  And in Luke 7:22, He tells the disciples of John the Baptizer to report to John all the miracles He was doing.  So for some, Jesus is a miracle worker.

  • He Is the Messiah Promised in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Soon after Yeshua was born, Herod asked his leaders what the Hebrew Scriptures said about where the Messiah was to be born.  This happened when the magi from the east visited King Herod to inquire about the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:4-6).  After he had encountered Yeshua for the first time, Yeshua’s disciple Andrew found his brother Shim’on (Peter) and said, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:40-42).  And, of course, there is the famous confession of Peter, “You are the Mashiach (Messiah), the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  Today there are those who still accept that Yeshua is the Messiah promised to Israel.

However, Yeshua (Jesus) is all of the above and much more!

  • Yeshua is God Himself

He is not just the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.  Both the Old and New Testaments refer to Him as Immanuel, God with us (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23).

The Gospel of John begins similarly to the Book of Genesis by declaring, “In the beginning was the Word” (in Greek, Logos, the origin of all things in Greek culture), referring to the Lord Jesus and stating that He was with God and He was God.

In the same chapter, John refers to Jesus as the Creator of all things (v. 10; see also Hebrews 1:3).

Furthermore, the Apostle John says that Jesus is and has God’s glory (1:14; also Hebrews 1:3).

One of the most important statements about Yeshua’s deity is that He has always existed or, said in different terms, He is uncreated (John 1:15; 17:5; Philippians 2:6-7).

The Apostle Thomas first doubted Yeshua’s resurrection, but then saw the physical evidence in Jesus’ body and called Him “my Lord and my God” (in Greek, kuryakon deipnon), both terms used for the God of the Old Testament Whom they knew.  Yeshua referred to Himself as “I AM” in John 8:58, the Name God revealed to Moses in Exodus 3.  And Jesus also said that He is one with the Father (John 14:9-10; 10:30).  The Bible clearly states that Yeshua/Jesus is God!

  • Yeshua is the Saviour of the World

He is the Saviour for Jews and Gentiles alike.  His name Yeshua means “the Lord saves” (Matthew 1:21) and derives from the Hebrew word for salvation.

Sometimes people ask, “What does Jesus save us from?”  He saves us from the penalty that we deserve for our sins.  When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to the Jordan River where he was baptizing people, he confessed, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  The New Testament says that Jesus atoned for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3).  He is the Messiah Who died for our sins and in our place, just as the scapegoat was the substitutionary sacrifice for our sins in the Old Testament.  God had established already that the animal sacrificed for our sins had to be perfect, without defect (broken bones, diseases, spots, etc.).  Yeshua fulfilled all these requirements as the perfect sacrifice God demanded (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26).  And Jesus’ fulfilled once and for all time the blood sacrifice God required (Hebrews 7:22; 9:11-12, 22).  In other words, He died once and His sacrifice is good for all eternity.  He does not need to die again and again.  He said, “It is finished!”

  • Yeshua lives forever as King of kings and Lord of lords.

He died, was buried, rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven!  

John 19:41-42 tells us that there was a garden close to where Jesus was crucified.  The passage also mentions that there was a new and unused tomb in that garden where they placed Yeshua’s body.  This is important because it clearly establishes that Jesus really died as a human being.  A sacrifice was needed in order to atone for the sins of mankind.  But the story doesn’t end there!

In chapter 20, John tells the amazing story of Yeshua’s resurrection!  Several of His disciples went personally to the tomb to see the large stone removed from the entrance, the place where the body was laid empty, and even the linen cloths and the wrappings from His head lying there!  

The miraculous resurrection sets Yeshua apart from any other religious leader in history.  The remains of Buddha, Muhammad and others can be found in their tombs.  No so with Jesus!  His body is not there!  

As I Corinthians 15:20 says, He is the first fruits among the dead!  He is unique.  He stands alone.  He has no equal!  

By the way, this passage gives us insight into God’s plan.  Right after the Passover feast we have the feast of First Fruits according to the Old Testament.  So, Jesus was sacrificed during Passover as our Passover Lamb and rose from the dead on First Fruits.  His resurrection is first, then the resurrection of believers from all times.  Without His resurrection, we could have no hope, as 1 Corinthians 15:14ff clearly establishes; we would be like anyone who dies without Jesus.

Once He ascended into Heaven, Yeshua sat at the right hand of God the Father (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 10:12).  He intercedes for us as our Defense Lawyer.

He is coming soon for a second time as 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 assures us!  This time, He will not come as a little baby in a manger with only a few people hearing about it.  This time, He will come riding on a white horse, leading the armies of the living God.  He is King of kings and Lord of lords, the Captain of God’s army!  The sound of the shofar (trumpet) will be heard around the world announcing His arrival!  Every eye will see Him, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).  He will reign forever and ever and we, His followers, will reign with Him in glory!

Conclusions

  1. It is very important to know and intellectually accept the historical facts about Yeshua.  But it is even more important to believe and trust in Who He is and what He has done for you and me.
  2. The Apostle Paul in Romans 10:9 says that we must confess Yeshua with our mouths and believe (trust) in Him in our hearts in order to be saved.  You are saved – in other words, your sins are forgiven – by believing, trusting and accepting Yeshua’s sacrifice on the cross (execution stake) for you and in your place.  You have to receive Him, welcome Him into your life (John 1:12-13).
  3. You and I need to repent of our sins before the Lord (see Acts 2:37-38; 16: 30-31).  When we confess our sins, repent (or turn away) from them, believe or trust that Yeshua’s blood shed on the cross is the only and sufficient sacrifice God accepts, then we can be forgiven and saved from the penalty we deserve for our sin.
  4. Furthermore, when we do this, God gives us a free gift, the gift of eternal life, which is life forever with Him for all eternity (John 3:16).  Imagine being in the presence of God forevermore in a perfect place called Heaven!

 

Important clarification: Salvation from sin is obtained only through faith in Yeshua haMashiach, Jesus the Messiah.  We cannot earn, deserve or work our way into Heaven.  And it is not Yeshua plus Torah (the Law) that saves us – it’s just Yeshua and He alone!  Obedience to God’s Word and commands comes as a result of our faith in Him and in gratitude for what He did for us.  It is for our personal growth and maturity in our faith and our daily walk (also known as the process of sanctification).  It is not to win our way of salvation, but is for our service to God and identification with Israel.  (For more on this see Ephesians 2:8-10.)

 

So, who is Yeshua to you?

I pray that you know Him personally and intimately as your Messiah, your Saviour and your Lord!  I pray that you not only know of or about Him, but that you know Him.  My hope is that you not only know Him intellectually in your mind, but that you believe and trust in Him in your heart.

Let Him transform every aspect of your life from the inside out.  Allow Him to make you a new person, a new creation.  Enjoy the full and abundant life only He can give you on this earth.  And, on top of all this, you will get to spend eternity with Him and millions of others like you and me.

Someone has said that many people miss Heaven by just 18 inches – the distance between their heads and their hearts.  They have head knowledge without heart faith.  Make sure you are not one of them!

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Filed under: Witnessing Tips, Jewish History, Devotional Study

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