1, 2. (a) Do you really know someone famous if you know only his name? Explain. (b) What do people believe about Jesus?
THERE are many famous people in the world. You may know the name of someone famous. But just because you know his name doesn’t mean that you know him well. It doesn’t mean that you know every detail about his life and what he is really like.
2 You may have heard about Jesus Christ, even though he lived on earth about 2,000 years ago. But most people do not know what Jesus was like as a person. Some say he was a good man, some say he was a prophet, and some believe that he is God. What do you think?—See Endnote 12.
3. Why is it important for you to know Jehovah God and Jesus Christ?
3 It is important for you to know the truth about Jesus. Why? The Bible tells us: “This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Yes, if you know the truth about Jehovah and Jesus, you can live forever on a paradise earth. (John 14:6) Also, knowing about Jesus will help you because he is the best example of how to live and treat others. (John 13:34, 35) In Chapter 1, we learned the truth about God. Now we will learn what the Bible teaches about Jesus.
WE HAVE FOUND THE MESSIAH!
4. What do the words “Messiah” and “Christ” mean?
4 Many years before Jesus was born, Jehovah promised in the Bible that he would send the Messiah, or Christ. The word “Messiah” comes from the Hebrew language, and the word “Christ” comes from the Greek. Both of these titles mean that God would choose the promised Messiah and give him a special position. The Messiah will make all of God’s promises come true. Jesus can also help you right now. But before Jesus was born, many people wondered, ‘Who will be the Messiah?’
5. Did Jesus’ disciples believe that he was the Messiah?
5 Jesus’ disciples had no doubt that he was the promised Messiah. (John 1:41) For example, Simon Peter said to Jesus: “You are the Christ.” (Matthew 16:16) How can we be sure that Jesus is the Messiah?
6. How did Jehovah help sincere people to identify the Messiah?
6 Long before Jesus was born, God’s prophets wrote down many details that would help people find the Messiah. How would this help? Suppose you were asked to go to a busy bus station to pick up a person you had never met. If someone gave you a good description of that person, you would be able to find him. In the same way, Jehovah used his prophets to tell us about what the Messiah would do and what would happen to him. The fulfillment of all those prophecies helps sincere people to know that Jesus is the Messiah.
7. What are two prophecies that prove that Jesus is the Messiah?
7 Here are two of those prophecies. First, 700 years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in the small town of Bethlehem. (Micah 5:2) And that’s where Jesus was born! (Matthew 2:1, 3-9) Second, Daniel prophesied that the Messiah would appear in the year 29 C.E. (Daniel 9:25) These are just two of the many prophecies that clearly prove that Jesus is the promised Messiah.—See Endnote 13.
8, 9. What happened at Jesus’ baptism that proves he is the Messiah?
8 Jehovah has made it very clear that Jesus is the Messiah. God promised to give John the Baptizer a sign so that he would know who the Messiah was. When Jesus went to John to get baptized in the Jordan River in the year 29 C.E., John saw that sign. The Bible tells us what happened: “After being baptized, Jesus immediately came up from the water; and look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw God’s spirit descending like a dove and coming upon him. Look! Also, a voice from the heavens said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’” (Matthew 3:16, 17) When John saw and heard this sign, he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. (John 1:32-34) On that day, when Jehovah poured out his spirit on him, Jesus became the Messiah. He was the one whom God had chosen to be Leader and King.—Isaiah 55:4.
9 Bible prophecies, Jehovah’s own words, and the sign He gave at Jesus’ baptism prove that Jesus is the Messiah. But where did Jesus come from, and what was he like? Let us see what the Bible says.
WHERE DID JESUS COME FROM?
10. What does the Bible teach about Jesus’ life before he came to earth?
10 The Bible teaches that Jesus lived in heaven for a long time before he came to earth. Micah said that the Messiah was “from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2) Jesus himself said many times that he had lived in heaven before being born as a human. (Read John 3:13; 6:38, 62; 17:4, 5.) Even before coming to earth, Jesus had a special relationship with Jehovah.
11. Why is Jesus so precious to Jehovah?
11 Jesus is very precious to Jehovah. Why? Because God created him before everything and everyone else. So Jesus is called “the firstborn of all creation.” * (Colossians 1:15) Jesus is also precious to Jehovah because he is the only one Jehovah created directly. That is why he is called the “only-begotten Son.” (John 3:16) Jesus is also the only one Jehovah used to create all other things. (Colossians 1:16) And only Jesus is called “the Word,” because Jehovah used him to give messages and instructions to angels and humans.—John 1:14.
12. How do we know that Jesus and God are not the same person?
12 Some people believe that Jesus and God are the same person. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. The Bible says that Jesus was created, which means that Jesus had a beginning. But Jehovah, who created all things, had no beginning. (Psalm 90:2) As God’s Son, Jesus never thought of trying to be God. The Bible clearly teaches that the Father is greater than the Son. (Read John 14:28; 1 Corinthians 11:3.) Only Jehovah is “God Almighty.” (Genesis 17:1) He is the greatest and most powerful person in the universe.—See Endnote 14.
13. Why does the Bible say that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God”?
13 Jehovah and his Son, Jesus, worked closely together for billions of years before the heavens and the earth were created. They must have loved each other very much! (John 3:35; 14:31) Jesus imitated his father’s qualities so well that the Bible calls him “the image of the invisible God.”—Colossians 1:15.
14. How could Jehovah’s precious Son be born as a human?
14 Jehovah’s precious Son was willing to leave heaven and be born on earth as a human. How was that possible? Jehovah miraculously transferred his Son’s life from heaven to the womb of a virgin named Mary. In this way, Jesus did not need to have a human father. So Mary gave birth to a perfect son, and she called him Jesus.—Luke 1:30-35.
WHAT WAS JESUS LIKE?
15. How can you come to know Jehovah better?
15 You can learn a lot about Jesus, his life, and his qualities by reading the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Those books are called the Gospels. Because Jesus is just like his Father, what you read will also help you come to know Jehovah better. That is why Jesus could say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father also.”—John 14:9.
16. What did Jesus teach? Where did Jesus’ teachings come from?
16 Many people called Jesus “Teacher.” (John 1:38; 13:13) One of the most important things that he taught was “the good news of the Kingdom.” What is this Kingdom? It is God’s government that will rule over the entire earth from heaven and bring blessings to people who obey God. (Matthew 4:23) Everything Jesus taught came from Jehovah. Jesus said: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him who sent me.” (John 7:16) Jesus knew that Jehovah wants people to hear the good news that God’s Kingdom will rule over the earth.
17. Where did Jesus teach? Why did he work so hard to teach others?
17 Where did Jesus teach? Everywhere he found people. He taught in the countryside as well as in cities, villages, markets, places of worship, and people’s homes. He didn’t expect people to come to him. He often went to them. (Mark 6:56; Luke 19:5, 6) Jesus worked hard and spent much time and energy teaching people. Why? Because he knew that God wanted him to do that and because he always obeyed his Father. (John 8:28, 29) Jesus also preached because he felt compassion for people. (Read Matthew 9:35, 36.) He could see that the religious leaders were not teaching the truth about God and his Kingdom. So he wanted to help as many as possible to hear the good news.
18. What qualities of Jesus do you like the most?
18 Jesus was a man who loved people and cared for them. He was kind and easy to talk to. Even children liked to be with him. (Mark 10:13-16) Jesus was always fair. He hated corruption and injustice. (Matthew 21:12, 13) He lived at a time when women didn’t have many rights and were not treated with respect. But Jesus always treated women with respect and dignity. (John 4:9, 27) Jesus was also truly humble. For example, one evening he washed the feet of his apostles, something that was normally done by a servant.—John 13:2-5, 12-17.
19. What example shows that Jesus knew what people really needed and that he wanted to help them?
19 Jesus knew what people really needed, and he wanted to help them. This was very clear when he used God’s power to heal people miraculously. (Matthew 14:14) For example, a man with leprosy came to Jesus and said: “If you just want to, you can make me clean.” Jesus was moved by this man’s pain and suffering. He felt sorry for him and wanted to help him. So Jesus stretched out his hand, touched the man, and said to him: “I want to! Be made clean.” And the sick man was healed! (Mark 1:40-42) Can you imagine how that man must have felt?
ALWAYS FAITHFUL TO HIS FATHER
20, 21. How is Jesus the best example of obedience to God?
20 Jesus is the best example of obedience to God. No matter what happened or what his enemies did to him, he was faithful to his Father. For example, Jesus did not sin when Satan tried to tempt him. (Matthew 4:1-11) Some of Jesus’ own family didn’t believe he was the Messiah and said that he was “out of his mind,” but Jesus kept doing God’s work. (Mark 3:21) When his enemies were cruel to him, Jesus stayed faithful to God and never tried to harm them.—1 Peter 2:21-23.
21 Even when Jesus suffered a cruel and painful death, he stayed faithful to Jehovah. (Read Philippians 2:8.) Imagine how much he had to endure on the day he died. He was arrested, false witnesses accused him of blasphemy, corrupt judges condemned him, mobs laughed at him, and soldiers tortured him and nailed him to a stake. When he was dying he cried out: “It has been accomplished!” (John 19:30) Three days after Jesus died, Jehovah resurrected him and gave him a spirit body. (1 Peter 3:18) A few weeks later, Jesus returned to heaven, “sat down at the right hand of God,” and waited for God to make him King.—Hebrews 10:12, 13.
22. What opportunity do we now have because Jesus was faithful to his Father?
22 Because Jesus remained faithful to his Father, we now have the opportunity to live forever on a paradise earth, just as Jehovah purposed. In the next chapter, we will discuss how Jesus’ death makes it possible for us to live forever.
Consider the far-reaching influence that Jesus has had on human history.