What Was Jesus Like: Learning more About Yeshua
Who is Jesus Christ according to the Bible? What was He like as a person? Is there proof he existed? What was Jesus Christ’s purpose on earth? How do we know he is the Messiah?
Ever hear or ask any of these questions? Whether you are currently a Christian or only researching what Christianity is all about, these are totally understandable questions to ask. As human beings, we gain confidence in tangible things. Naturally, that isn’t faith. But it is normal, early on, to question something so difficult to understand and so supernatural.
Let’s dedicate 2023 to a more intimate look at Jesus. Who walked the earth with the sole purpose of loving mankind.
What is Jesus like as a person?
Very little is known about Jesus’ childhood. However, historians can shine some light on what His childhood would have been like with their knowledge of His culture in the first century AD. We know from the Bible that he worked with his father, Joseph, learning the carpentry trade (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). He definitely understood hard work. And He would have attended the Nazareth synagogue school around age 5 to 6. There, He would have learned to read, write, and recite Old Testament scripture, probably in Aramaic. In fact, until age 10, scripture would have been His only focus in class.
He also had at least six siblings (4 brothers, 2 sisters) with whom He would have spent much of His youth and help care for, being the eldest. He grew up in a culture whose primary focus was on faith and family. Although the Bible and prophecy speaks very little about Jesus’ childhood, Luke 2:41-52 reveals a story when Jesus was only 12 years old. It gives a glimpse of our Savior’s dedication to God, even at an early age.
A Childhood Story of Jesus
Jesus and His parents, Joseph and Mary, traveled to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. After a day of traveling on the road back to Nazareth, they realized that Jesus was not with them! They returned to Jerusalem and searched for three days before they found Him. He was in the temple, sitting among the teachers listening and asking questions. It was said that anyone who heard Jesus was amazed by His understanding and answers. When confronted by His parents, a 12-year-old Jesus said, “Why were you searching for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Even in His youth, He understood His destiny and had an uncharacteristic and unexplainable wisdom.
3 YEARS OF MINISTRY
The New Testament paints the clearest picture of who Jesus was as a person directly from those who knew Him best. He was meek but a strong leader and had an unearthly focus on His purpose. They explained that He was kind, gentle, empathetic, and generous to everyone. The major belief of Christianity is that He was sinless, and to date, there is still no proof or accounts of Him sinning; although, there are many accounts of His miracles and kindness. Most of all, He was love. The prophets and historical accounts describe Him as plain looking but He had a charisma that drew large crowds and captured complete attention from everyone He met.
Jewish religious leaders, who did not know Him, described Him as a blasphemer and a liar. However, even Roman historians described Him as having a godly and captivating presence. The way His message spread, among other things, was His miracles. Imagine if you had a neighbor whose child had never walked. The child is outside running with his friends and tells you that a man, named Jesus, simply touched his legs and he stood up and ran off to play. Would that capture your attention? I can only imagine that these stories were passed on for generations.
It is difficult to explain Jesus without sounding like I am exaggerating, but that is who He was on earth. He was the most perfect person to ever walk our planet. His only anger came from those who profaned His Father’s words or used His Father’s temple to take advantage of faithful followers. He showed us complete submission to God by praying for deliverance from the cross while also putting His own suffering aside to follow God’s will. If actions speak louder than words, Jesus lived a life of love for mankind and showed it in every step He took.
So, what was jesus’ purpose on earth?
Before Christ, sins were forgiven through the sacrificing of an innocent and flawless animal. The cost of sin is death, and these animals took the place of the sinner on the alter. But the key was to pick the best of your flock, present the sacrifice in the home on what we now call Palm Sunday, and then sacrifice it on Good Friday.
The question of Jesus’ perfection is more a question of faith and understanding. As the Messiah, His full purpose was to be the perfect, innocent sacrifice for the sins of man. He would have to be the best from the flock of man, flawless and innocent. No earthly man could ever fulfill that role, the Messiah had to come from Heaven.
Why was Jesus Perfect?
Although being perfect is hard for us to understand, if He wasn’t, He would not be the Messiah and our salvation would not be guaranteed through His perfect sacrifice. It would have been like sacrificing a sick or lame lamb. So, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (the presentation of the sacrifice) and was sacrificed on Good Friday (just like previously done with sacrificial animals, the day before the sabbath). By doing so, He successfully replaced the old covenant with the perfect sacrifice and the redemption of mankind. He then conquered death and buried our sins in the tomb when He rose again.
The price for sin is death because you can not enter the perfection of Heaven tainted, it is too pure. So Jesus took the burden of death away from us so that we may enter Heaven. Our only requirement is faith in Him, faith that He is the Messiah and to open our hearts to His presence so He can begin preparing our souls for what comes after this life. Basically, Jesus died for you and only asks for your faith and your love in return. Why? Because He is love; pure, unconditional, move mountains to reach you kind of love.
Proof of His Existence
This is a contemporary question because throughout history, so much evidence was available that there was little doubt of Christ’s life and crucifixion. But 2000 years can shade the facts when some are in search of a theory over the well documented truths. Countless Roman, Jewish, and Christian historians have documented the life of Jesus Christ and only now, as the world is drastically changing, do we begin to question the very existence of the most significant figure in history.
Why question the originals?
Many referenced documents are no longer in existence simply due to their age and often being deemed irrelevant years later. An example is the official reports by Pontius Pilate. To the Roman empire, this was just another crucifixion, therefore, the accounts by the Roman Prefect were not properly preserved; however, they were referenced by Roman historians less than 100 years after the life of Jesus. These historians were not Christian, nor did they speak highly of the Christian movement; however, they did record the life and death of Christ.
Historians referenced the official reports and census documents they physically held and took an interest in this historic event because the Christian movement was a significant concern to the Romans during this time period. But there is a movement to discredit these as unsubstantiated claims. In reality, the writings by these officials and historians is like going to the courthouse today to get your birth certificate and instead they give you a certified copy. Since it is not the original document, does that mean you weren’t born, that you don’t really exist? Of course not, in fact a certified copy is considered as authentic as the original document (and probably more legible).
Why are the historical accounts questioned?
Writing off these historical accounts is manipulating the facts to serve another purpose, an attempt to discredit the life of Jesus Christ. With countless historical accounts of Jesus’ life, eye witnesses, the Bible, and the use of common sense all prove that Jesus Christ walked this earth. Even other bodies of faith (e.g. Jewish, Muslim) do not deny His existence.
How do we know He was the Messiah?
A deeper look at prophecy
How do you prove that someone from 2000 years ago is the Son of God and came to earth, in human form, for the redemption of mankind? That is a question only God can answer and, with His divine forethought, He did just that. We call the miracle, prophecy, because there is no way for a man to see into the future; therefore, if he accurately depicts future events, it must be divinely inspired and beyond our understanding. The prophecies of the coming Messiah are throughout the Old Testament and range from small and vague details to extremely specific and uncontrollable events. God covered every angle using the most trusted men of their time to share these prophecies so they would be recorded and referenced.
Countless prophecies on the messiah
Hundreds of years and in some cases thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, prophets provided us details of the coming Messiah. These ranged from the small to the complex (e.g., His hands and feet would be pierced, Psalms 22:16). This Psalm was written an estimated 500 or more years before the first crucifixion, a millennia before Jesus was crucified!
The Old Testament prophetic writings contain an estimated 400+ total prophecies of the coming Messiah. The only prophecies that have not been fulfilled are discussed in Revelation during the second coming of Jesus. All remaining prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus Christ in the first century AD. From being born in Bethlehem, being betrayed, crucified, spat upon, performing miracles, the foretelling of John the Baptist, casting lots for his clothes, destruction of the temple, and rising on the third day, just to name a few!
probability and prophecy
A mathematical probability study was performed to see what the chances were that Jesus could fulfill all these prophecies. As an example, the probability of any random man in this region being born in Bethlehem, considering the current population at the time, would be 1 in 300,000. So, to fulfill this prophecy, there is a very low likelihood, but still better odds than winning the lottery. But Christ didn’t just fulfill this one prophecy, he fulfilled hundreds!
Probability of fulfilling eight Prophecies
Next, the study looked at the probability of fulfilling only eight of the prophecies. For one person to fulfill eight of these prophecies, the chance of success is estimated to be one out of 10 to the 17th power (10^17). Let’s see what that number looks like: 1 out of 100,000,000,000,000,000. As the article mentions, this number is equivalent to covering the entire state of Texas with silver dollars… 2 feet deep. Then, without looking, picking up the only marked silver dollar on the first try. In perspective, your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302,600,000. Looking at the difference in these two numbers, makes it seem there is a chance to win the lotto after all!
Fulfilling 48 Prophecies
Now that we can see the near impossibility that Jesus could fulfill eight prophecies (that he did fulfill) let’s do the math and consider the chance of one man fulfilling 48 prophesies (not even half of the total prophecies fulfilled). If you think it’s a very remote chance, that is an understatement. The chance of Jesus fulfilling 48 Biblical prophecies is one in 10^157, that number contains 157 zeros. Going beyond that is incomprehensible. For perspective, scientists estimate there are 200 Billion Trillion stars in the universe (that’s only 23 zeros).
The only conclusive way to justify these highly improbable statistics is if the prophecies were visions directly inspired by an omnipotent God. Basically, it’s only possible if God already knew exactly what was going to happen and gave the prophets the vision. Then, the probability is 100%.
Why does this matter?
It matters because God always makes the impossible, possible. In a time that had the opportunity to witness Jesus and hear firsthand accounts, it was much easier to have faith in what he performed. But God knew that 2000 years later, we would have to rely on historical accounts and logic. Jesus did not come here to hide His works and leave no trace. He came here to make an impact, change the world, and give faith to a wavering people. The only requirement to see the proof is willingness.
Where to go from here
To the unbeliever
For those researching and learning more about Christianity, I can tell you that Christ made the impossible, possible. The likelihood of him becoming the prophesied Messiah had less chance than disproving a scientific law like gravity, but He did it. Christianity is seeing the 100% chance that God will fulfill His promises even when science tells us it isn’t possible.
Once you realize that God does not break His promises it opens your eyes and heart to His promises to you. These promises include salvation, eternal life, unwavering love, and peace within our soul. In the beginning, we simply look at the facts then take a step of faith toward Him by accepting Jesus as our Savior, asking for forgiveness, and putting our full faith and trust in Him.
If you are past the stage of looking for evidence and confirming God’s truths and want to take a step of faith toward God, we highly encourage for you to reach out to a local pastor or Christian friend you trust. If you would like to ask us questions or learn how to accept Christ as your Savior, please drop us an email on our contact page, message us on Facebook, Instagram, any way we can reach back out to you to answer your questions and help you take your first steps. I promise you that Christianity does not have a “salvation quota.” We want to help because we know God loves you, we love you, and we are that confident that God will do great things in your life.
To the Believer
For those of us whose faith in set on the cornerstone of salvation, I know none of these numbers matter anymore. The odds are never against God, and we know His promises to us. But sometimes we can’t just preach at individuals. We must use any information at our disposal to reaffirm our faith then share these proofs with others who are struggling to take that next step.
Coming up to someone who does not know Jesus and expecting them to just jump in, head first, is not the way to reach our newest generations. They are logical, intellectual, and philosophical thinkers. They want to ask questions, understand why you follow Jesus, and what things you struggle with day-to-day as a Christian and how God sees you through those struggles.
Be the Example
God is a part of you and you are a part of God. God wants you to be His hands, His heart, and His voice to spread His truth to others around you. So, use God’s proofs to reaffirm what you already know and live by the perfect example. God only asks that we plant the seeds and tend the fields, He will reap the harvest.
My youngest son, Charlie, was putting my oldest son’s rain boots on one afternoon. JP started grabbing at the boots, as brother’s do, and I had to explain to him that it’s an honor. Charlie is wanting to put on his boots because he wants to be like his older brother. I told JP that he used to put on my boots all the time when he was younger. He took a moment to think on my words then said one of the most precious things I have ever heard. JP asked me if sometimes I try to put on Jesus’ boots.
If you ever wonder who Jesus is, know that he is our perfect example. His boots (or more accurately, His sandals) are much too big to fill, but that shouldn’t keep us from trying them on from time to time to walk around and feel His presence. Let’s learn from the man that made the impossible, possible. The Messiah that defeated His enemies through love, humility, submission, wisdom, and complete unwavering faith.
As we go out on Easter weekend to enjoy the smiling faces of our children, fill our tables with food and family, and wear our pastel colors, let’s also make a choice to wear Jesus’ boots. Help others in need, be slow to anger, and pour out our love to everyone. God gives you free will so you have to make that choice. So, choose to be God’s proof that it only takes faith, the size of a mustard seed, to change the world. Trust in God and He promises He will be with you ever step of the way.
This article is also available as a podcast!
Written by Jon and Kathleen Frederick- wishing you a Happy Easter weekend because our Savior is Risen!
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