Who is Jesus? Seems like such an easy question. He is the Son of God, He came and died on the cross and rose again, and will one day return for His bride. But who is Jesus? Do we really grasp this Messiah, this history altering figure? Are we able to share with the world who Jesus is and why He is far more than just a moral teacher who lived a long time ago? Pastor and author Greg Gilbert in his excellent book aptly titled Who is Jesus? explores this simple yet truly profound question.
There are some books that while small in length, nevertheless pack a giant punch. Gilbert’s book very much fits into this category. While at first glance and upon the first read the message relayed in this book may seem to be focused on those searching for an answer in relation to this Jesus character so many talk about, I firmly believe this is also a book that even the most seasoned believer needs to read. After all, knowing Jesus is at the crux of the Christian life.
Gilbert rightly begins by noting there is “one massive treasure trove of information about Jesus – detailed, personal, eyewitness, blow-by-blow accounts of what he said, what he did, and who he was.” Of course where we find that information is the Bible. For those who might feel like closing this book at the mere mention of the word “Bible”, Gilbert encourages them to stick it out and to continue reading. If nothing else, the accounts of Jesus’ life shared by the biblical authors were written as literal and actual history and thus should be considered along those lines. Gilbert encourages the reader to simply take a look at the claims made in Scripture and to examine them to see if they are true. If they are true, then the reader necessarily has to make an important decision as to what to do with Jesus and to answer that all important question of who is Jesus.
Throughout this book, Gilbert makes the claim that Jesus was no ordinary man, that He is the King of Kings, the great “I AM”, was fully human, the last Adam, the Lamb of God who died for our sins, and the resurrected and reigning Lord. These are certainly some bold claims in the mind of some who have not yet fully dealt with that underlying question of who is Jesus. Gilbert recognizes that fact and with a great deal of patience and speaking from the heart of a pastor, he walks the reader through each important claim made in this book, proving along the way that Jesus is who he claimed to be.
For instance, Jesus claimed to be the great “I AM”. While such a claim may not seem that big of a deal to our modern ears, making the statement that one was the great “I AM” was in the eyes of the Jewish people stating you are God. When God spoke to Moses way back in the book of Exodus, He told Moses to tell the people of Israel that “I AM” had sent Moses to deliver the people from bondage. So to say you are equal with God was shall we say a rather bold statement. Gilbert aptly comments, “if Jesus just wanted to say that he pre-existed Abraham somehow, he would have said, “Before Abraham was, I was.” But by using the present tense – “I AM” – Jesus was clearly taking for himself, again, the unique and exclusive name of God.” Thus, as God and being the Son of God, in order to know God and to have relationship with our Creator, we must know Jesus and affirm that Jesus is who he said he was – God.
Gilbert also does an excellent job of working through the humanity of Jesus, something theologians call the hypostatic union – Jesus as fully God and fully man. This is a rather deep theological concept and Gilbert expertly relates the truth of this issue to the reader devoid of technical terms, instead choosing to engage why this matters. Why did Jesus need to become God incarnate? Simply yet profoundly, Gilbert states “Jesus became human because we needed him to do so. We needed someone to represent us before God and be our substitute. That’s ultimately why Jesus came- to be a loving Warrior King who would save his beloved people.”
I highly recommend this book for those searching for the answer to who is Jesus and also for those who are long in the faith who want to refresh themselves on the answer to that question. Jesus made some bold claims that must be dealt with and Gilbert does a great job of doing that very thing. Those who are searching will be challenged and those who have longed affirmed Jesus as Lord will find this book a wonderful reminder of who Jesus is and why they are so in love with im.