At a crucial point in his ministry Jesus asked his disciples "who do you say that I am?" (Matthew 16:15). The answer to this question is more important than anything else (John 3:36; 1 John 5:12). Nevertheless, today, just as in Jesus' day, when Christians ask people the question "who do you say Jesus is?," there are various answers given concerning his identity. For example, many people in Western society see Jesus as nothing more than a good teacher, whereas skeptical Bible critics believe he was only "... a lower-class Jewish preacher from the backwaters of rural Galilee..." For Muslims, Jesus was merely a prophet while in Judaism He is considered to be a false prophet. On the other hand, cults like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Christodelphians, who "claim" the Bible as their authority, teach that Jesus is a created being. The question we must consider, however, is what does the Bible say about the identity of Jesus?
Who Is Jesus?
For born-again Christians, Jesus is more than a good teacher, a prophet or even a created being. He is in actual fact the Creator of all things, who existed before the creation of the world (John 17:5). Genesis 1:1 tells us that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In John 1:1 we read the same words, "In the beginning..." John informs us in John 1:1 that in the beginning was the Word (logos) and that the Word was not only with God but was God. This Word is the one who brought all things into being at creation (John 1:3). Several verses later, John writes that the Word who was with God in the beginning "became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Notice that John does not say that the Word stopped being God. In fact, John uses a very particular term here, skenoo, "dwelt," which means he "pitched his tent" or "tabernacle" among us. This is a direct parallel to the Old Testament record of when God "dwelt" in the tabernacle that Moses told the Israelites to construct (Exodus 25:8–9, 33:7). John is telling us that God "dwelt" or "pitched his tent" in the physical body of Jesus.