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Who Is Jesus?

by Stephen Davey Scripture Reference: Romans 1:4

We miss God’s plan entirely if we fail to understand who Jesus is. The truth about Jesus is essential to the Christian faith and to our eternal destiny. Thankfully, the Bible gives a clear answer regarding His identity.


It was about two years into His earthly ministry that Jesus effectively asked His disciples, “Do you know who I am?” (Matthew 16:15). That is the most important question He asked them; and it is the most important question you will ever need to answer in your lifetime. Your eternal destiny depends on your answer.

As this letter to the Romans opens, Paul gives us the answer. We have already seen in Romans 1:3 that Paul spoke of Jesus as both God’s Son and the descendant of David. So, He is both fully God and fully human; He is the God-man.

His physical descent from the line of David is unquestioned. Both His mother, Mary, and his adoptive father, Joseph, were in David’s family line. This qualified Jesus to fulfill the promise to Israel of a coming Messiah, who would sit on the throne of David.

But this alone did not make Him the Messiah. There were many men who were descendants of David. And we know from history that a number of them even claimed to be Israel’s Messiah.

Jesus, of course, was different from all those false Messiahs because He fulfilled the Old Testament messianic prophecies: His birthplace, His miraculous virgin birth, and His divine power all authenticated His claim.

But there is something else that sets Jesus apart. He did not just claim to be the Messiah; He claimed to be God in the flesh, or to use the biblical term, the Son of God.

Paul writes here in Romans 1:4:

[He] was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now, let me pull over here for a moment and speak to this ridiculous assertion out there that neither the Bible nor Jesus ever claim that He is God. You have to be wearing a blindfold when you open the Bible to come up with that idea.

Jesus’ deity is affirmed in at least four ways in the Bible. First, the names or titles given to Him describe His deity. He is called “Immanuel” in Matthew 1:23. Immanuel means, “God with us.” In other words, God has come to live with us! In John 1, He is called the Word, and the Word is identified as equal to the Father; John writes in verse 14 that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

Second, Jesus’ works confirm His deity. He demonstrated supernatural power over disease, nature, and even death—beloved, Jesus interrupted funerals!

Third, Jesus personally claimed to be God. He referred to Himself as the Son of God (John 10:37); He said that He and the Father are one (John 10:30). His claim was so blatant to the Jewish world that they picked up stones to stone Him to death. They said to Him in John 10:33, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” They got it! They would never say what some people say today—that Jesus never claimed to be God.

Finally, fourth, the truth of Jesus’ deity is affirmed by His bodily resurrection from the dead. As Paul puts it here in verse 4, Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead.” Jesus’ resurrection verifies His claims to deity.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead not only confirms His victory over sin and death at the cross, but it is also the final, undeniable proof that Jesus is God and that He is capable of forgiving our sins and saving us from eternal judgment. This is why Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”

Christianity collapses if Jesus is still dead. If the unbelievers in the first century had been able to produce the dead body of Jesus, Christianity would have crumbled into dust and ashes. But they could not do it because the risen Lord was alive and well.

By the way, here in the opening verses of the book of Romans, all three persons of the Trinity are clearly referenced. In verses 1 and 2 are references to God the Father. In verses 3 and 4, we have references to God the Son. And now here, in verse 4, there is a reference to God the Holy Spirit.

So, who is Jesus? Well, we are given a pretty clear picture here. In fact, at the end of verse 4, the apostle Paul adds this simple, yet complete title: “Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Verse 4, then, gives us four significant designations for Jesus that reveal who He is and what He does.

We have already noted that Jesus is called the “Son of God.” The term “Son” does not mean He was procreated by God the Father and Mary. The Mormon church believes that God had sexual relations with many women—one of whom was Mary. No, Mary was a virgin, supernaturally conceived by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus would be equally human and divine. The term “Son of God” relates to His nature—Jesus is equal in essence with God the Father.

What about the name Jesus, His earthly name? It was a common name in His day; there were lots of little boys running around with the name Jesus (Iēsous). Jesus is the Greek form of the Old Testament name Joshua; it means “deliverer” or “the Lord is salvation.” So, this name literally fits His redemptive purpose for mankind.

The next designation is “Christ.” Christ is the New Testament Greek equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew term Messiah. It means “anointed one.” So, Jesus is Christ, the Anointed One prophesied throughout the Old Testament, as the coming hope of Israel. Although Jesus Christ was rejected at His first coming, He is coming back one day, and God’s promise will come to pass: “He will reign over the house of Jacob [that is, Israel] forever” (Luke 1:33).

The final designation for Jesus here is “Lord.” Paul writes in verse 4, “Jesus Christ our Lord.” Lord was commonly used as a term of respect for one’s master. It declares Jesus to be supreme Master. But the Greek term (kurios) is explosive with meaning.

When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, Kurios is the word that was used to translate the personal name of God, Yahweh—or Jehovah, as it is sometimes spelled in English. Let me say that again: Hundreds of times in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, Kurios is used for the Hebrew name Yahweh, or Jehovah. So, understand this: Jesus is Yahweh, God in the flesh. If you acknowledge Jesus as Lord, you are testifying to His deity—that Jesus is indeed the second member of the triune God.

Finally, let me point out here in verse 4 that Paul says Jesus is our Lord, our Master. And Paul writes later in Philippians 2:11 that one day even those who have rejected Jesus will come to realize and to “confess that Jesus Christ is Lord [Kurios]”—that Jesus is, in fact, Master and eternal God.

So, who is Jesus? That is the most important question you will ever answer in this life. And you do not have to guess. Inspired Scripture gives us the answer here in verse 4: He is the Son of God—that is, He is fully, equally God. He is Jesus, the God-man and Deliverer. He is the Christ, the anointed Messiah of Israel. And He is the Lord, the sovereign King of the universe.

Who is Jesus to you? Is He your God, your Savior, your Lord? Answer that today with an enthusiastic yes!  

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