Jesus Christ is unquestionably the greatest teacher the world has ever known. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes,” we are told (Matthew 7:28,29). Jesus was also the greatest help to mankind the world has ever known, and yet He was misunderstood, persecuted and finally crucified. Many continue to misunderstand Jesus today and the Bible continues to be the most misunderstood book known to man, even by many Christians. If we claim that we are Christians, it’s important that we know who Jesus is. We should know how to walk like Him in discipleship so that we can be Christ-like examples so that others would know Him. Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know Him personally? A lot of misconceptions about Jesus come from a lack of biblical literacy. When we don’t have a strong relationship with the Bible, it’s easy to get the facts wrong and lose God’s truth. Here are six things you know about Jesus that may be wrong.
People Think Jesus Only Taught As an Adult
Jesus was a preacher as an adolescent. The Bible describes a time when Jesus was 12 years old and was found by His parents, preaching in the temple to adults. The Bible tells us, “When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, ‘Son, why have You treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for You.’ ‘Why were you searching for me?’ He asked. ‘Didn’t you know I’d be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what He was saying to them.”
This is the only story in the gospels about Jesus between His infancy and His public ministry as a man. The main teaching of this passage from Luke is that Jesus now recognizes His unique sonship to God, and that His mission will require of Him a devotion of God’s purposes so great that it takes precedence over family ties. He must follow His calling, even if it brings pain and misunderstanding. In this way, Luke sets the stage for the adult ministry of the Son of God.
Jesus’ public ministry didn’t begin until he was older. While Jesus was incredibly wise for His age, Jesus didn’t truly begin His earthly ministry until age 30.
People Think Jesus Only Died to Forgive Sins
Too many Christians get caught up thinking Jesus died just for the forgiveness of sins. But Jesus died for more than forgiveness. He died to bring you closer to God. Yes, Jesus died to take away the sins of the world, but that was a means to an end. Jesus Christ came bearing the Kingdom of God. Not only was God’s plan to defeat the power of sin and death with Jesus, but also to bring righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit to replace them with. Jesus’ death also accomplishes recondition, or reconnecting us back to God. Romans 3:25, says “…whom God set forth as a propitiation” for our sins. While “propitiation” literally means “something that appeases a deity,” in the biblical sense, it means much more than this. It means to ‘accept hurt,’ ‘to forgive,’ and ‘to show mercy.’ We are reminded in Scripture “Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Jesus lived and died so that we would see God and know God fully.
People Forget Jesus Was Fully Human
Too often, as Christians, we get caught up in the deity of Jesus that we forget about the humanity of Jesus. Jesus was born as a human being while still being completely divine. The concept of the humanity of Jesus co-existing with His deity is difficult for our mind’s to comprehend, but Jesus’ nature – wholly man and wholly God – is biblical fact. There are those that reject these biblical truths and declare that Jesus was a man, but not God. There is also the view that Jesus was God, but not human. Both viewpoints are unbiblical and false.
The fact that Jesus was born as a human being is important for several reasons. Galatians 4:4-5 says, “But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” Only a man could be born under a law. No animal or angelic being is “under the law.” Born under the law of God, all humans are guilty of transgressing that law. Only a perfect human – Jesus Christ – could perfectly keep the law and perfect fulfill the law, thereby redeeming us from that guilt. Jesus accomplished our redemption on the cross exchanging our sin for His perfect righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). The humanity of Jesus enables Him to relate to us in a way the angels and animals never can. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
People Think Discipleship is Easy
Christians are called to be Disciples of Christ. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to transform the world. Too often, Christians think that the discipleship call is easy. But it’s far from it. Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost us our lives. Jesus put it bluntly, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their crosses daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?” (Luke 9:23-25). To be a disciple of Jesus means that we give up our entire lives in order to follow Him wholeheartedly. When we are born again, our lives are no longer our own. Our lives are His.
People Think Discipleship is Just ‘Jesus and Me’
Yes, discipleship is all about Jesus, but don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s a solitary endeavor. Discipleship is relational. In order for us, as Christians, to respond to the Great Commission, we need to be disciples who are also making disciples of Jesus. This requires us to spend consistent time with other believers and non-believers. It’s important to remember that Jesus and His disciples spent a lot of time together (Acts 1:21-22).
They ate together, walked together, and rode in boats together, they even fought together. Jesus’ 12 were in one another’s lives, constantly and intentionally. The truth is that while we are called to become disciples of Jesus, we become disciples with one another, learning how to love God and each other as we go.
People Believe That Jesus Taught it Matters Not What One Believes
There are some Christians who believe that Jesus taught it doesn’t matter what one believes just as long as one is sincere in their belief. Those who understand this generally don’t have teachings to cite. Some will point to John 4:24. Jesus did say that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit. Sincerity of worship is required. However, it’s important that we consider what Jesus really said: “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23). Sincerity and worshiping in truth are equally important.
While we can learn a lot about Jesus’ life and ministry through Scripture, there are surprises to be found hidden within the Gospels, even for devout Christians. With advances in research and archaeological studies, more is known about his life and times. If we claim that we are Christians, it’s important that we know who Jesus is. Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know Him personally? Always remember that Jesus died and rose again, not just to start a spiritual movement but because He loves you and wants to provide a way for you to know Him.