Jesus gets talked about and quoted a lot, but have you ever wondered who Jesus is? This 15-Scripture tour walks us through who Jesus is and what he does.
The number one goal for a follower of Jesus is to know him (Phil. 3:7-10). So here are 15 Bible passages to help you get to know who Jesus is. Think of them like 15 snapshots giving you a glimpse into who he is.
The apostle Paul tells us that in the fullness of time Jesus came, born of a woman, born under the law (Gal. 4:4). That is, Jesus came as the culmination of the long story of the nation of Israel, the fulfillment of God’s promises to them. Jesus “looks” the way he does in each of these snapshots because he was precisely what this story was building up to.
1. Matthew 1:22-23 – Born of a virgin
Now all this took place so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they shall name Him Immanuel,” which translated means “God with us.”
This is how Matthew begins his story about Jesus, which shows us that the way Jesus was conceived is an important part of who he is. Technically, Jesus’ birth itself was just like any other baby’s; it’s his conception that was miraculous. He was conceived within the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit. Matthew says this is the ultimate fulfillment of the promise God made to Isaiah (see Isaiah 7:14) and it means that Jesus is literally God with us.
2. Romans 1:3 – Descendant of David
Concerning Jesus, the apostle Paul writes that he “was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh.”
Jesus’ descent from King David is not an unimportant detail. It’s the same reason both Matthew and Luke include Jesus’ genealogy. David lived 1,000 years before Jesus and was the greatest king of the Jews. Being a descendant of David means Jesus is from the royal line. He is thus the fulfillment of God’s promise that there would be a king on David’s throne forever (e.g., 2 Sam. 7:16).
3. Matthew 11:28-29 – Rabbi/disciple maker
Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
These words are the call of a rabbi to would-be disciples. Jesus consistently carried out his ministry as a rabbi (teacher) who made disciples. This shows us how Jesus intends to change our life: by discipleship. He is a great teacher who passes on God’s truth and calls us to live as his disciples. It’s from him that we learn wisdom and truth for life, so we might find rest for our souls.
4. John 1:116-17 – Full of grace
For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
Jesus isn’t an uptight rule-follower full of religious sternness. He is full of grace. Grace entails kindness, compassion, and love for those who haven’t done anything to deserve it and have done plenty not to deserve it. Read the stories about Jesus and watch as he eats with the outcasts and sinners, tells stories of forgiveness, welcomes the broken, and embodies grace upon grace.
5. Matthew 16:16-17 – Messiah
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”
To call Jesus the “Christ” as Peter does here is to say he’s the Messiah. Both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew) mean “anointed.” It’s a royal title and indicates that Jesus is God’s anointed ruler and deliverer.
6. John 3:16 – God’s Son
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus is the one and only Son of God sent to save the world. Throughout his ministry, Jesus regularly called God his own father, even saying “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). He is God’s unique son and was “declared the Son of God with power…by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).
7. 1 Peter 2:24 – Offering for sin
He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness; by His wounds you were healed.
Jesus’ death wasn’t a tragic mistake. By God’s design, it was the final offering for sin. It is the way all sin can be atoned for once and for all, liberation from sin can be experienced, and sinners can be healed. When Jesus went to the cross, he did so for our sins.
8. Philippians 2:9-11 – Risen Lord
For this reason also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
But Jesus’ death wasn’t the end. God raised him from the dead, breaking the power of death. The resurrection vindicates Jesus and confirms all his claims. He is now the risen Lord over all.
9. Ephesians 1:20-21 – Exalted King
God “raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.”
God also exalted Jesus to sit as King at his right hand. Jesus now reigns over all authorities and powers in the physical and spiritual realms. He is the high King of heaven forever and ever.
10. 1 John 4:14 – Savior of all
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
There is no question that corruption, injustice, suffering, and brokenness plague the world. Jesus came to rescue the world from all that’s wrong with it, to set it free from the ruin of sin, suffering, and death. He is the Savior of the whole world.
11. Colossians 2:9 – 100% God
For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.
Jesus was born as baby, learned how to walk and talk, got hungry and ate, became tired and slept, and bled and died just like every other human being. He was 100% human. But he wasn’t only human. He is also 100% God. When you see Jesus in action in the Gospels, you’re seeing God in action. Jesus is God in the flesh.
12. Colossians 2:15 – Victor over spiritual powers
When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Jesus is the victorious King in the great spiritual battle for God’s good world. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus triumphed over all the hostile spiritual powers, the rulers and authorities, and disarmed them. He is thus the supreme power in the universe and the One we need for help, protection, and deliverance.
13. Hebrews 2:14 – Destroyer of the devil
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, so that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.
One of the reasons Jesus came as a full-fledged human being was to destroy the devil. The devil holds people in bondage through enslavement to sin and fear of death, but Jesus died and rose again, defeating the devil on his turf so that death is no longer something to be feared. And someday the devil and death itself will be done away with forever. Jesus has defeated the devil and will fully destroy him one day.
14. Colossians 1:15-16 – Maker of all things
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation: for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
Paul calls Jesus the “firstborn” of all creation. This word comes from the world of kings and rulers of that day. It pictures Jesus as the heir to and ruler of all creation. Why is he that? It’s because he created everything—everything seen, everything unseen, everything on earth, everything in heaven. Jesus is the maker of all things.
15. Revelation 22:1-5 – Restorer of all of things
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever.
Jesus’ goal for all creation is breathtaking in its scale. He plans on restoring all things! The Bible culminates with a new heavens and a new earth where everything is made right again. Notice in this passage the echoes of the Garden of Eden from the beginning of the biblical story. Yet, at the same time, it’s something bigger and better: a garden-city.
“This is the grand culmination of Jesus’ mission and ministry. He is the restorer of all things!”
The curse is removed. Darkness of any kind is vanquished. And restored humans reign in loyal partnership with God forever. This is what Jesus suffered and died for. This is what he’s working toward even now. This is the grand culmination of Jesus’ mission and ministry. He is the restorer of all things!
A bonus text: Philippians 2:5-8
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.
No introduction to Jesus would be complete if it left out this marvelous passage. It captures so many of the themes we’ve noted about who Jesus is in one condensed passage:
- He pre-existed in the very essence of God.
- He didn’t use his divine power and prerogatives for his own benefit.
- He poured himself out for others.
- He added human nature to his divine nature.
- He served others.
- He obeyed God all the way to the point of death.
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.”
And as noted above (#8), the passage continues with Jesus’ present status as exalted, risen Lord before whom all will bow. The context of this beautiful passage teaches us that this self-giving, self-lowering way of life is the pattern for our lives as well. Indeed, this is the very goal of getting to know Jesus: to pattern our life after his. May we pursue knowing him until we become like him in all we do.
For more from John, see johnwhittaker.net.