Written by: John Duncan
Who is Jesus ? This is the most contentious and divisive question that has ever been asked. No question has ever caused so much division. The apostle John wrote his letter with that question in mind. There were self-proclaimed prophets, in his day, who offered descriptions of Christ that were contrary to that of the apostles’. Some taught that Christ only “appeared” that way. Ideas like this flourished in the first centuries after Christ, as leaders in the church wrestled with the notion that God became man and died.
In 1 John 4:1–6, John encourages his readers to learn to “test the spirits,” that is, to discern from among these competing views by examining what they teach about the person of Christ. He says in verse 2 that all who confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh and is from God are in agreement with the Spirit of God. Those, however, who oppose the Spirit of God by denying that Christ came in the flesh are antichrist.
What is the biblical answer to the controversial question: Who is Jesus? In John 8:58 Christ says, “Before Abraham was, I am.” Colossians 1:15–20 says He is the “image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation … by Him all things were created in heaven and on earth … in Him all things hold together.” Paul says in Phillipians 2:6 that Christ was the “very nature” and form of God. Hebrews 1:1–3 says that “the Son was the exact representation of God’s being.” Titus 2:13 refers to Him as “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” Jesus is God in the flesh, the only Savior of mankind, sent to redeem the souls of the lost, with the authority of God Himself, being God Himself.
On just about any nightly-news talk show you can hear someone giving an opinion about Christ. Christ is characterized in various ways: desert mystic, political rebel, delusional prophet, the first self-actualized human being, fictionalized savior, unwitting pawn in a societal upheaval, and so on.
John judges any claims about Christ, which contradict the Spirit of God, to be false. The idea of an infinite God taking on human form and suffering a brutal death at the hands of wicked men is difficult to contemplate. Yet, this is the Gospel in all it’s simplicity and complexity. Many fall away because their attempts to separate the humanity of Christ from His divinity are irreconcilable. But you, who are from God, have overcome these kind of false teachings, because “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”