Every day, everywhere, the name of Jesus crosses the lips of people. And, while some people may know Him personally, others may only know of Him.
More than just a prominent figure in the Bible, we look to those who knew Jesus best to answer the question, “Who is Jesus?” Explore the significance of His life and the eternal legacy of his mission by clicking on the pictures shown below.
I thought I knew who Jesus was, but I had it all wrong. I was a respected teacher of Judaism and had no tolerance for some rabbi with new teachings. Even after Jesus died, he was still causing problems. When the first man to die for his faith was being killed, I was right there watching and giving my approval. Then, as I was on my way to round up more His followers suddenly everything changed. Even as His enemy, He came and appeared to me on the road and showed me who He really was. His face was brighter than the sun – so brilliant it made me blind.
Jesus used to teach the crowds in Israel to love their enemies. Well, He didn’t just say it, He really did it. Jesus wasn’t just some rabbi. He is the Lord of all. When those scales fell off my eyes, I realized that Jesus is forgiveness and no one is beyond His reach.
“Who do you say that I am?” Jesus looked right at me when He said it. It was like He was staring through my skin and searching out the answer that was really inside me. I thought I knew. I was convinced that He was the King, the Messiah, who was going to rule forever. And you know, I was right! I just didn’t realize what had to happen first. So when Jesus talked about His suffering, I simply didn’t understand. When He told us He was going to die, I actually told Him that He was wrong to His face. And when the time came for Him to die – when Jesus needed His friends the most – I denied Him three times. Three times! But Jesus didn’t give up on me and now I understand why He had to suffer. Even though Jesus never did anything wrong and committed no sin, He had to die to make a sacrifice in my place so that I could be forgiven. I found out that Jesus is the Savior and the only way to God is through Jesus.
I was there from the beginning. Even before Jesus came along, I was following a prophet named John the Baptist. I was the first person to ever follow Jesus and saw everything with my own eyes. I watched Him turn water into wine at a wedding and feed tens of thousands of people with a few fish and a couple loaves of bread. Jesus healed a leper, made a paralytic start jumping up and down, and even brought a little girl back to life after she had died. I saw it all! And He did it over and over again wherever we went in Israel. One night we were on a boat in the middle of the sea and a raging storm suddenly swept over us. The boat was filling with water and we were about to drown when Jesus woke up from a dead sleep, then spoke to calm the wind and the waves. And they listened! In an instant the storm was gone and the entire sea was calm again. I know this sounds like too much to believe, but I was an eyewitness to all of it and I’m telling the truth! I discovered that Jesus is powerful, and He loves to use His strength to help people.
I may have known Jesus better than anyone – He was my big brother. Most people only knew Him after He became famous. But long before He was performing miracles and teaching to crowds of people, I spent every day with Him. After our father died, He took over the family business and made sure mom and the rest of us were alright. I guess maybe I knew Him too well for my own good. When everything changed and He started doing things that no one could have ever imagined, I just couldn’t make sense of it. Jesus was a good big brother, but how could He say He came down from heaven? I should have believed, but I didn’t. And then after He died and all seemed lost, He rose up from the grave and appeared to me! Jesus could have appeared to anybody. He could have showed up in Caesar’s bedroom and proven He was the Messiah. Instead He came to me, his little brother who doubted Him. I found out that Jesus is humble, and He is patient with the ones who come to Him.
Mary of Nazareth
The angel told me not to be scared. Well, it was too late for that because I didn’t understand why he was in my house or what he was saying. A child? I wasn’t even married yet. But that child would be born to me through a miracle and would change the world forever. I was His mother, yet He didn’t belong to me. Jesus was so much like any other child – a wonderful brother and son – but also so different from us. As He grew up, everyone realized there was no one else like Him, something I already understood from the time He was a baby. Yes, I struggled to understand who He truly was. We all did. But He never gave up on us. Even when He was dying on the cross, Jesus made sure I would be taken care of. More than anyone else could, I came to see that Jesus is the God who came near.
Mary of Bethany
For over a year my sister Martha and I had heard about all the amazing things Jesus was doing in the northern part of our country Israel, but we couldn’t travel to see Him. Then one day two men came to our town and told us that Jesus would be passing through! When He arrived, my sister asked Him to stay in our home. At the same time, the biggest feast of the year was happening near our home with many people coming and going, but all I could do was sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him speak. I had never before heard anyone speak like Him. And it was in my home, at His feet, that Jesus told me the unthinkable: In just six months He was going to die. I had just met Him, and soon He would be gone. Not long after His visit, my brother Lazarus got sick and died. Even though it was dangerous for Him to return, Jesus came back to our town and raised my brother from the dead. As my tears of agony suddenly turned to tears of joy, I made a promise in my heart that even if I couldn’t stop Jesus from dying, I was still going to give Him everything I had. My parents had left me a flask of precious perfume when they died. My only inheritance, it was worth an entire year’s salary. Just days before Jesus was going to die He visited us again. We made Him a special dinner to celebrate all He had done for Lazarus and so many others. On that same night, I poured the flask’s oil as an offering upon the One who had changed my life forever. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life, and I found out He is worth everything!
Jesus wants to know you personally and to be known by you. Consider starting your personal journey to know Jesus today. It’s as simple as inviting Jesus into your world because in the process of encountering Jesus, you will encounter life. Find out more at www.EncounterLIfe.com.