Jesus and Salvation
Who did Jesus claim to be? Can it be proved that He is the Messiah? What are the requirements of salvation?
 
Jesus And Salvation

If you are not a Christian or are not sure, try this little test!

'I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.'  C.S Lewis

''I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him."  Napoleon Bonaparte

"As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene...
No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life." Albert Einstein

In any discussion about Jesus and salvation it's important to first determine what Jesus said about himself and who he claimed to be. What did Jesus actually claim about himself?
 

Who Did Jesus Claim To Be? The I AM's Of Jesus

When Moses met God in the wilderness and asked His name, God replied 'I AM THAT I AM...This you shall to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.' So the God of Israel revealed Himself as 'I AM'. Jesus claimed this name for himself showing He was Israel's God and Messiah, and in doing so, risked being stoned for blasphemy.

John 8:56-58 'Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad." "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I AM!" At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself.

John 8:12 "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

John 8:23-24 But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I AM, you will indeed die in your sins."

John 11:25-27 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

John 14:6-7 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.

John 10:24-33 The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one." Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?" "We are not stoning you for any of these," replied the Jews, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."

There are so many more passages like these, but even limiting ourselves to the above quotes, any honest reader can see exactly what Jesus was claiming about himself. Like C.S Lewis wrote in the quote above, He was claiming to be the promised Messiah, God in the flesh. And He also claimed to be the only way of salvation. At this point, you may be saying 'I can see that He claimed to be God, but how do we know that the Bible record of His claims are accurate?' One of the most compelling proofs that God gives us is in the fulfillment of prophecy. No other religious books such as the Koran contain detailed prophecies. The God of the Bible declares:

Isaiah 46:9-10 'I am God, and there is no other. I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.'
 

Jesus Claimed To Fulfill The Old Testament Prophecies

Luke 24:44-47 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

John 5:45-46 But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?"

Mark 14:61-63 Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" "I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." The high priest tore his clothes. "Why do we need any more witnesses?" he asked. "You have heard the blasphemy. (Ed Note: the Son of Man sitting at the right hand and coming on the clouds was a key specific prophecy about the Messiah from the Old Testament book of Daniel.)

So Jesus claimed to be the Messiah that had been prophesied to come in numerous passages in the Old Testament. What I would like to concentrate on now, is one chapter in the Old Testament that specifically tells us about the life and even death of the Messiah. This chapter is Isaiah 53. The entire scroll of the prophet Isaiah was found within the dead sea scrolls and if has been verified to be completely accurate with the version in our Bibles today. So you be the judge, for with the discovery we know for a fact that the following chapter was written hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. 

For a more in-depth look at Messianic prophecy (and prophecy in general) go here.

For a more in-depth look at Messianic passages in the Old Testament and what the Rabbis taught concerning them, go here.
 

Isaiah 53 - The Life And Death Of Messiah Prophesied

The following chapter was written around 700BC. From the earliest days Isaiah 53 was interpreted by the Jews as applying to the Messiah. However, with it's clear fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ, many Jewish synagogues have carefully avoided reading this passage! But in this most amazing passage, God has given us not only the details of the life and death of the Messiah, but also the reasons and results from His death! Here are the 12 verses of Isaiah chapter 53 (in blue), followed by my own comments.

1. Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 
Indicates that few would believe in Jesus. (This was fulfilled. See John 6:66, 12:37-38)

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
Jesus had humble and poor beginnings, not coming as a royal King, but as a commoner. (Luke 2:7)

3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Jesus was despised, rejected, and suffered at the hands of His own people! (Matthew 27:21-23) 

4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 
Even though Jesus would heal many, and take the sorrows for others, yet the Jewish people would consider Him cursed by God for it is written in Deuteronomy 21:23 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree' (Luke 19:41-42)

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Though Jesus was cursed, it was for a reason! He was crushed for our sins so that we could be healed and have peace with God! Note also that this prophecy says that the Messiah would be 'pierced'. The Jewish method of execution is stoning, though God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and said He would be 'pierced' because He knew that Jesus would be crucified, having His hands and feet nailed (pierced) to the cross!  

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
It would be God the Father's will that all sin would be laid upon Jesus! (Gal 1:4)  

7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
This verse shows how Jesus, the sacrificial lamb, would be silent before His accusers. This happened as recorded in Matthew 27:12. 

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
Jesus was judged and died without having any physical descendants. (Matthew 27:35) 

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 
Jesus died alongside common criminals but was given a rich man's tomb in which He was buried! (Matthew 27:57)  

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
Even though verse 8 says that Jesus was cut off and had no descendants (physically) yet this verse says that after being made a guilt offering (crucified), Jesus would 'see his offspring and prolong his days'! Amazing prophecy showing that even though Jesus would be killed, He would rise from the dead, live again and that spiritually He would have many offspring! (Mark 16:16) 

11 After the suffering of his soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
God the Father saw the suffering of Jesus and was fully satisfied. Sin demanded a sacrificial death and in doing so, Jesus opened the way so that through knowledge of what happened on the cross, humankind could again be justified! (seen as perfect and spotless in God's sight.) (Romans 5:8-9, 2 Cor 5:21)

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.   
Jesus is now exalted by the Father, for He bore our sins, dying on a cross, and even when He was dying He interceded for those who crucified Him saying 'Father forgive them for they know not what they do!' Amazing! (Luke 23:32-34)

With all this in mind, can there actually be any doubt as to who Jesus was? We have seen that He didn't just claim to be a teacher, or a spiritual leader. He claimed to be the one and only Messiah, God in the flesh! His birth, life, and death all accurately and specifically fulfills prophecies recorded hundreds of years earlier. So God has not left us without a means of knowing who the Messiah is! But you have to decide - for Jesus is either a lunatic, a great liar, or He is the Lord to whom we all have to bow. With all this in mind, lets quickly see what the Bible says about salvation and coming into a relationship with Jesus Christ - the King of Kings!
 

What The Bible Says About Salvation


1. That salvation is found in Jesus and Him alone. We have already stated His claim that no one can come to the Father except through Him. The Bible constantly confirms this by saying:

Acts 4:12 'And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.'
1 John 5:11-12 'And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.'

2. That salvation cannot come by performing good works but through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for your behalf.

Eph 2:8 'For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, that no one should boast.'
Romans 3:20 '...by the works of the Law no one will be justified in His sight.'

3. God now offers salvation as a gift to those who will believe. 

Romans 3:21-24 'But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known... This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:23 'For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

4. You need to act to receive the gift of salvation.

John 1:11-12 'He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.'
Romans 10:9-10 For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Act 3:19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.'

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