Some two thousand years ago, the man whose birthday we celebrate during this season was walking with his disciples through a region which is today known as the Golan Heights. As they were making their way through those hilly parts, Jesus turned to his companions and asked, "Who do people say that I am?"
The disciples told him that many ideas circulated as to his identity: "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
Things have not changed much in the intervening two millennia. Today, as then, people hold many notions about who Jesus was. Some say that he was a great moral teacher, others that he was a bold social reformer. Still others claim that he was a wise man or a charismatic leader. If you asked ten different people, it is quite possible that you would get ten different answers.
To get at the truth, we can do no better than to go to the ultimate source and authority on Jesus's life. None of the statements below is a conjecture or a fanciful invention; they all come straight from the Word.
What follows is the Jesus of the Bible.
All things were created by Him and for Him. He laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of His hands. Without Him, nothing was made that has been made. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He upholds the universe by the word of His power. It is through Him that we exist. He is the mystery of God, Who created all things by Jesus Christ. In the fullness of time, God sent Him to be the Savior of the world. He came to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself. He was made flesh and dwelt among people. Full of grace and truth, He was the image of the invisible God and the exact representation of His being. Born in the likeness of man, He took upon Himself the form of a servant. He became poor so that we may become rich. The radiance of God's glory, He walked in love and compassion. He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. Meek and gentle, He was treated harshly, yet He did not protest. Despised and forsaken, He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Though He was tempted as we are, He did not sin. He came to deliver those who through fear of death were all their lives subject to bondage. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death -- even the death of the cross. He assumed human form to mediate between God and men. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. He bore our trespasses in His body and washed our sins with His own blood. He was made a curse so that we could be made right with God. He was raised for our justification. It is by His wounds that we are healed. It is He who brings us back to God. Manifested in the flesh, He was justified in the spirit. Having been buried, He was raised on the third day. He ascended on high and led captivity captive. To those who receive Him He gave the right to become children of God. Whoever calls upon His name shall be saved, and whoever believes in Him has eternal life. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which men may be saved. He is the way, and the truth, and the life. This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son that we might live through him. For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He guides the meek and teaches them His ways. Exalted of God, in Him is the mystery of godliness. He will judge the living and the dead, and every knee shall bow down before Him. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and expose the motives of men's hearts. He will gather the wheat into his garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. But to those who thirst, He shall give from the spring of the water of life, for He is full of unfailing love and faithfulness. He who believes in Him shall live. He is the bright morning star. Crowned with glory and honor, He holds all authority in heaven and on earth. It is through Him that God brings everything back to Himself. It is through Him that God speaks to us. The first begotten of the dead, He is the heir of all things. He is the light, and the darkness has not overcome him. He is the prince of peace and the bread of life. His love surpasses all knowledge. He is the life of men. His throne will last forever, and His days will never end. Righteousness is the scepter of His kingdom. He is the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He who has ears, let him hear. Let those who are wise understand, for these things have been written that we may believe and, by believing, have life in His name.