Can Jesus walk on water?

Can Jesus walk on water?

During the years between Jesus’ baptism and resurrection, the Son of God journeyed throughout Judea to preach the Good News. The Bible recounts many stories of His teachings, and how the crowds that gathered to listen to Him were astonished by the wisdom and authority in which He spoke. While Jesus’s ability to tell parables about the kingdom of God captivated the minds of thousands, undoubtedly, it was the rapidly spreading gossip of His power to perform miracles that caused people to travel great distances to see the Messiah in action. Perhaps the most famous miracle, and also the most highly debated among skeptics, was an account of Him walking across a lake to meet His disciples in the middle of a raging storm. This infamous story has led billions of people throughout the centuries to ask the question, “can Jesus walk on water?”

Yes, Jesus can walk on water, but the account in the Bible where Jesus walked across the Sea of Galilee in the middle of a torrential storm also illustrates Jesus’ divine authority over the wind and rain. It likewise shows that Jesus can meet us in the middle of our difficulties. In this article, we will examine the story of Jesus walking on the Sea of Galilee and the symbolism of this Biblical account.

Jesus walks on water 

Sea of Galilee

The Gospels of Matthew, John, and Mark provide three separate but generally consistent biblical accounts of Jesus’s walk across the Sea of Galilee. From these books, we learn that once Jesus was finished feeding a crowd of 5,000 people, He instructed His disciples to go on ahead of Him and to take a boat and travel to the other side of the lake. In the darkness of night, after the disciples’ boat was a considerable distance offshore and was in the middle of stormy weather, they saw Jesus walking on the waves approaching their boat. Here are snippets from the accounts of the Gospels regarding the disciples’ experience that night:

  • Matthew 14:24-25, “And the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.”
  • Mark 6:48, “He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them.”
  • John 6:19, “When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened.”

While these accounts tell a miraculous story of Jesus’s absolute authority over the weather, and saving His disciples in the middle of their adversity, there is also symbolism to many aspects of this story. Let’s explore them in more detail.

Significance of water in the Bible

Moses parting the Red Sea

Many of the Bible’s great stories are centered around the presence or absence of water. In the Old Testament, God instructed Noah to build an ark to save his family from the great flood of the earth. In the Book of Exodus, Moses needed to part the Red Sea to free the Israelites from Egyptian slavery. And throughout the history of Israel, God brought about great famines that devastated Judea’s socio-economic life for years at a time.

Though the presence water in the Bible can often be symbolic for troubled times for God’s children, water can also represent salvation. We find an example of this concept in Exodus 17: 5-6 when the Israelites were harassing Moses to provide water for them to drink in the desert.

5 Then the Lord told Moses, “Go over in front of the people and take some of the elders of Israel with you. Take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. 6 I’ll be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. You are to strike the rock and water will come out of it, so the people can drink.” Moses did this in front of the elders of Israel.

Another example of this concept is present in John 4:13-14, where Jesus was sitting at a well explaining to a Samaritan woman that He could provide water that leads to eternal salvation:

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

As we can see, biblical stories frequently use water, which often has a literal and symbolic meaning of giving life or taking it away. Three Gospel accounts proved that Jesus literally walked on water that night on the lake. However, what exactly was the symbolic meaning behind the event?

Significance of Jesus walking on water

Significance of Jesus walking on water

When Jesus set out across the Lake of Galilee to meet His disciples in the boat, He likely knew that people around the world would be discussing this story for many generations. Here are some of the things we believe Jesus was communicating to His disciples and the rest of the world:

1) Jesus will purposely send us into the unknown

If we remember in the Gospel accounts, Jesus told His disciples to cross the lake without Him. It would not be difficult to imagine that this directive must have been shocking to His disciples because they likely wouldn’t have left Him alone for any reason. They had just watched Him feed over 5000 people supernaturally, and in their minds, they must not have understood why they were being sent away after such a miraculous event.

The symbolism of Jesus sending His disciples away tells us that during times of prosperity or recent success, Jesus may intentionally lead us into uncomfortable situations that we do not understand so that we are forced to grow spiritually. Jesus knew about the storm that His disciples would encounter on the lake. However, He sent them anyway.

2) Jesus will wait before intervening

The Bible not only says that Jesus sent His disciples into a perilous situation, but He also waited before intervening. Mark 6:48 tells us that:

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them.”

Jesus was teaching His disciples a vital lesson about maintaining faith, even when things look bleak. Mark mentioned that it was shortly before dawn when they saw Jesus. This means that the disciples were likely in the middle of a bad situation for most of the night. Many professional sailors will attest to the strenuous physical and mental fortitude required to battle a storm all night while in a relatively small vessel. The disciples were probably exhausted physically and spiritually by the time Jesus approached them and were in desperate need of a savior.

However, Jesus did not rush to save them. He waited until the night was the darkest, and all hope appeared to be lost before intervening on their behalf. 

3) Jesus can arrive by walking on our fears

When Jesus walked on the surface of the water to meet His disciples in the boat, one interpretation could be that He came to them by walking on their fears, which were the rough seas they were encountering due to the torrential storm. By this time, the disciples were already desperate and terrified of their situation, but Jesus came to them calmly walking on the waves. This shows us that He wanted them to see that no matter how bad a situation can appear on the surface, He can overcome their problems in ways that aren’t explainable by human logic.

4) He wants to show us His glory in a remarkable way

Multiple accounts show us that the disciples were terrified when they saw Jesus walking towards them. This by itself is interesting because it is likely that they were also terrified of the storm. Under normal life circumstances, for most people, it is rare for one type of terrifying event to simultaneously overtake another. However, when the disciples saw Him walking on the water, they completely forgot about their initial problem, which was the storm, because they were enamored with the sight of Jesus.

That day on the lake, Jesus symbolically showed them that He has authority over nature, such as the wind and water, and therefore they should always keep their fears in the proper perspective. Matthew 14:32–33 recounts,

32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

After this incident, the disciples’ faith in Jesus grew and transformed their previous view of Jesus, which was a man who had the ability to perform miracles to understanding that He was truly the Son of God.

Can Jesus walk on water?

As we have seen, the presence of water in the Bible can often signify troubling times or salvation. In the case of Jesus and His disciples that night on the Sea of Galilee, the water was symbolic of both. Even though the disciples were in the middle of a storm, it came as no surprise to Jesus. In fact, the event was destined so that He could grow their faith in a more profound way. So if you ever find yourself in the middle of a storm even though you feel you have been faithful to Jesus, don’t worry. Like the disciples, Jesus knows exactly where you are, He has a plan for you, and He will not let you drown.

Can Jesus Heal Me?

Can Jesus Heal Me?

Several stories from the Bible chronicle how Jesus miraculously healed the sick. He blessed the deaf with the ability to hear, He cured a man suffering from leprosy, and He even raised people from the dead. These acts of healing lead many of His followers to call him the “Divine Physician.” His compassion towards those who have faith in Him and God the Father caused Him to devote a significant portion of his ministry to curing people of sicknesses and even demons. As Christians, we draw strength from saying, “Jesus can heal me” whenever we are faced with physical and emotional suffering. But can Jesus actually heal us if we call for Him?

Yes, Jesus can heal us, but it’s essential to understand that He heals those who seek Him and have faith in His divine power. In fact, in most stories in the Bible that dealt with the topic of healing, people had to actively seek out Jesus before they were cured. The Bible teaches us that both physical and spiritual healing is available to those who seek the Lord whole-heartedly and embrace the truth of His divinity.

In this article, we will look more closely at the healing power of Jesus and the reasons why He spent most of His time dedicated to this portion of His ministry. We will also discuss if Jesus can heal us if we call for Him, and why some people never receive the gift of healing.

The healing power of Jesus

In the short number of years that Jesus Christ walked the earth, He spent most of His ministry curing the sick and expelling demons. One of the most famous examples of healing came in Luke 7:13-15 in which Jesus encountered a man who had died and was being carried out of a town called Nain. Jesus felt compassion for the man’s mother because he was her only son, and she was also a widow.

13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her, and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

There are also no records in the Gospels that narrate how Jesus turned away a faithful who was asking to be cured. In fact, in Matthew 15:21-28, we saw Jesus heal the son of a Canaanite woman who was demon-possessed even though she was not a Jew. This shows us that He does not favor any particular religion or background and that expelling demons was also a primary focus of His ministry.

28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

These stories are just a few of the many accounts from the Bible, which shows how Jesus Christ delights in acts of healing and restoration. Indeed, there is no affliction that is too difficult for Him, even the sufferings of our heart and soul.

Why does Jesus want to heal us?

Although we know that Jesus can perform miracles, many people often want to know why He cares about them in the first place? Let’s explore why His ministry has always been focused on healing and restoration.

1) To show us His compassion

The Bible shows us that Jesus not only has compassion for us, but He also expresses grief and feels the sting of our emotional suffering. This is portrayed beautifully in John 11, in which Jesus encounters the sister of His friend Lazarus who had recently died.

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. 35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”

The story of Lazarus provides a more in-depth look into the heart of Jesus. It shows us that when we feel pain and anguish, He understands on an emotional level and has empathy for us when we encounter life’s challenging situations.

2) To reveal God’s glory to all of us

God’s plan for each one of us is often much more significant than we would ever imagine. However, this doesn’t always mean we will never encounter storms along the way. A consistent theme in the Bible is God using unfair circumstances so that more people can bear witness to His miracles. John 9:3-4 (NIV) gives us a clear illustration of this as Jesus’ disciples asked Him about a man He healed who was blind from birth: 

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Through healing the blind man, Jesus has shown us that God’s power is magnified in those who seek relief from infirmities and spiritual conditions. We also discover that often people may experience suffering not because of something they have done wrong, but because through their testimony of healing, other people will want to experience the same mercy in their own lives.

3) To destroy the works of Satan

The devil’s power and influence in our lives are enhanced when our faith in Jesus is weak. However, a complete absence of Jesus in our life can lead to more severe consequences such as demonic possession. In the Bible, Jesus encountered and healed many who were possessed by demonic spirits, and never abandoned them the way society had done. A powerful illustration of this was in Mark 5 when He was approached by a man who was possessed with many impure spirits collectively named “Legion.” 

1 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.

Breaking the bondage that Satan attempts to place on us through demonic possession or influence is an essential component of why Jesus wants to heal us. While Jesus and demons are in direct opposition to the other, the playing field is not equal. Jesus has complete authority over Satan and his demons, which is why, in the story, the demons had to “beg” Jesus to go into the pigs.

4) To do the Father’s will

The doctrine of the Trinity teaches us that Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love for us— that everything He did while on earth was part of the Father’s masterplan. He performed countless miracles to reveal God’s glory, and He preached ceaselessly so that all could learn the value of repentance. However, many people were still doubtful if He was indeed the Messiah. In John 10:37-38, Jesus explains how every single thing he does is of the Father:

37 Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. 38 But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

The acts of healing that Jesus performed in the Bible help us understand that God wants all His people for physical and spiritual restoration.

5) To fulfill what was prophesied in the Atonement

Much of the Old Testament in the Bible included prophecies and foreshadowing about the coming of Jesus and the miracles He would one day perform. The fulfillment of prophecy was paramount to the legitimacy of God’s word. Thus, a key component of why Jesus heals us is to legitimize the promises that God made through His prophets many years earlier. The fulfillment of the prophecy of healing was written in Matthew 8:16-17:

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”

Even though the prophecy of healing in the Atonement was fulfilled thousands of years ago by Jesus Christ, it is not guaranteed that we will never suffer from any illnesses in the span of our lives. All believers should continue being faithful in the tough times and seek restoration from problems, as highlighted in James 5:14-16 (NIV).

Why doesn’t Jesus heal everyone?

Although there were likely thousands of people that successfully received their miracles of healing directly from Jesus while He was in Judea, undoubtedly, there were also many who did not receive the gift. This begs the question, “why are some people healed by Jesus and others aren’t?” Mark 5:25-29  provides us with a story of a woman who suffered for many years with sickness, but when she heard Jesus was in town, she refused to be denied her miracle:

25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.

While there may be a multitude of reasons why someone who seeks Jesus isn’t receiving relief from their problems, this story illustrates the essential concepts of faith, desperation, and laboring for a miracle. The fundamental difference between this woman and others in the crowd is that she wanted her miracle more than everyone else, and would not be denied. So much so that in later passages, Jesus was almost shocked that such faith had zapped the miracle-working power right out of Him. Having the tenacity to find Jesus while amid your problem is often a prerequisite to receiving a miracle.

Other reasons why some people aren’t healed

It’s essential also to acknowledge that too many people meet all the prerequisites for a miracle but still fail to achieve their goal of restoration. Here are some of the reasons why these gifts are being to denied to followers of Christ:

  • They fail to find other Christians that can help support them (John 5:6-7)
  • God has a higher purpose for them (Isaiah 55:8-9)

However, there may come a time when none of these things may ultimately fix the problem immediately. It’s essential also to remember that Jesus is faithful to His word, but not everything will happen on our time-table. Maintaining a consistent faith-inspired attitude and being prepared to commit to the spiritual journey is also paramount for receiving your miracle.

Conclusion: Jesus can heal you

Jesus’ ability to heal any illness is evident in several accounts from the Bible. Most of His life here on earth was devoted to healing the sick and expelling demons. He did this for several reasons, but the most important was because of His compassion for us. If you are in doubt and asking, “Can Jesus heal me if I call for Him?” The simple answer is yes. However, for you to receive the miracle of healing, you should have a strong faith in His power to heal you. 

A great way to seek God’s miracle is through prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the “prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.” If, in case you did not receive the miracle of healing, seek solace in knowing that He has a greater purpose. What you must do is to continue to keep the faith and remain patient for His purpose to be revealed. 

Can Jesus forgive me?

Can Jesus Forgive Me?

From a Christian perspective, God’s salvation plan for mankind begins and ends with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, during His time on earth, Jesus spoke candidly to His disciples about the reasons He was brought into the world and prepared them to carry on His gospel after His crucifixion. A cornerstone of His message was that He alone could forgive the sins of all people who seek salvation. For the last two-thousand years churches have taught billions of believers about the redemptive power of Jesus and His ability to forgive people of all backgrounds, no matter how bad of a past they may have come from. However, far too often, this message has failed to reach those in most need of His love and mercy, leaving many to ask, “can Jesus forgive me?”

Yes, Jesus can forgive your sins. In fact, Jesus has already forgiven the sins of all those who seek Him, but it’s up to each believer to accept the terms of repentance. In this article, we will focus on the concept of forgiveness and what the Gospels say about the atonement of sins.  

Jesus and forgiveness

Throughout the New Testament of the Bible, while traveling through the region of Judea, Jesus encountered many people whom society and the Church itself had written-off as being unworthy of God’s mercy. Whether it was dealing with prostitutes, cheaters, murderers, the demon-possessed, or the handicapped, Jesus was far more comfortable in the presence of these people than He was around the Jewish religious leaders. 

In fact, when questioned by the Jewish leaders about why He was spending most of His time in the presence of known sinners, He replied in Mark 2:17  that “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” One of the many examples that are seen in the Bible displaying this concept is in Luke 7:44-48 when a woman with a bad reputation heard that Jesus was in town and came to see Him:

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

The act of forgiveness is the foundation of Jesus’s message to all those who seek Him. As in the times of Jesus, and still true today, society or religious institutions can often push people away who seek help with their problems. The historical accounts of Jesus’s ministry show us that He fiercely embraced those who society ignored, regardless of their background or religious affiliation. However, what precisely does it mean to be forgiven for your sins? Let’s first take a look at the topic of sin, what it is, and why it’s important to know.

What is Sin and why it matters

The Book of Genesis introduced Adam and Eve, who were the first humans created by God. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden, where God allowed them to eat any fruit except the ones from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that eating fruit from this tree will result in death; however, Satan, disguised as a serpent convinced Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. Eve then shared the fruit with Adam. The disobedience to God’s rule by Adam and Eve is the first sin recounted in the Bible. 

When analyzing the scriptures, sin means disobeying God’s laws, which leads a believer to separate from God. Exodus 20:1-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21 document the Ten Commandments, which God gave to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai after God rescued Moses and the Israelites from Egypt’s slavery. The Ten Commandments provided spiritual and moral guidelines for the Israelites’ to fulfill God’s plan for them to be the holy and pure nation. However, the Israelites became restless while waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain and pleaded with Moses’ brother to construct them an altar that they could worship. When Moses returned to the campgrounds, he became angry when he saw the people committing the sin of idolatry. 

All throughout the Old Testament, the atonement of sins involved a High Priest from the family line of Aaron offering various forms of sacrifices, such as animal sacrifices, in which the animal’s sinless blood could atone for the sin of a single person or an entire Israelite community. In the New Testament, the death of Jesus Christ during His crucifixion was the final blood sacrifice to be made to atone for the sins of humanity. After this, there would never again be a required sacrifice of blood to atone for the sins of mankind. We see this in John 1:29 (NIV),

29 “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Now that we know the death of Jesus on the cross atoned for all sins for the rest of eternity, many people can’t also help but wonder, is there such a thing as an unforgivable sin? 

Can all Sins be forgiven?

A sin punishable by death is a transgression we find in the Book of Leviticus. The Old Testament story tells us how an Israelite son blasphemed God’s name while fighting with an Egyptian man. Upon hearing the incident, God instructed Moses that the blasphemer must be stoned until his death. However, what does blasphemy mean, and why does God consider this act an unforgivable sin?  

The unforgivable sin 

From the Bible, we gather that the term blasphemy implies disobeying or disrespecting the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Matthew 12: 32 (NIV) provides more insight into the consequences of blasphemy,

32 Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.

Thus, purposely mocking the divinity of Jesus Christ or scorning God is an unforgivable sin and taken quite seriously even by Jesus’s own admission. Now that we have the history of sins let’s explore the biblical definition of forgiveness.

The Biblical definition of forgiveness

Frequently in the Bible, Jesus talks about how we should forgive others because He and God have forgiven us. Jesus profoundly demonstrates the act of forgiveness in the story of the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, wherein a man owed a debt which was dismissed by his master. Yet, the man didn’t forgive a debt that another man owed him.

The definition of the forgiveness of sins over the centuries has often become blurred for believers and simply confusing for many people who are entirely new to the Christian faith. Romans 12:18-19 (NIV) describes forgiveness by:

18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord

Ephesians 4:31-32 (NIV) also describes forgiveness,

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

As we see in the Bible, forgiveness means having peaceful relations and forgiving others in the same way Jesus forgave us. However, does this mean that we must meet certain conditions before we receive Jesus’ forgiveness?

How Jesus provides forgiveness

In the Bible when Jesus taught about the principles of forgiveness, He also discussed the criteria that needed to be met before a person is truly forgiven. These criteria include repentance, the forgiveness of others, and the confession of sins. Let’s discuss the biblical definition of each condition below.

1) Repentance

Repentance, according to The New Testament, means turning around. Hence, the act refers to being firm in deciding to turn away from sin and walking a godly path of righteousness and purity. Jesus frequently references the concept of repentance as seen in Matthew 4:17 (NIV), 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”.

Forgiveness requires genuine remorse. If a sinner seeks forgiveness but intends to repeat the sin at a future date, that person didn’t really accomplish repentance. 

2) Forgiveness of others

Jesus always instills to His disciples that there shall be no bounds in forgiveness. As Jesus and God were able to forgive us, we should be willing to forgive others who sinned against us. Jesus discusses this in Matthew 6:14-15, 

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  

As seen in the Bible, holding on to anger and resentment can prevent the forgiveness of sins. 

3) Confession

Integral to repentance is the act of confession, which means to verbalize the admission of sins. John 1:8-9 (NIV) tells us why confessing our sins is important, 

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Confessing to Jesus is vital in attaining atonement from sins. One of the many titles for Jesus in the Bible is that He is our “High-Priest”. Thus, this divine position allows believers to confess to Him directly, even in the privacy of their own homes. 

Can Jesus forgive me?

When one truly desires mercy, Jesus Christ is ready to impart His forgiveness. Yes, Jesus can forgive your sins. To attain His pardon, one must sincerely repent, forgive others, and confess their sins. However, while Jesus can forgive certain misdeeds, blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. Remember, Jesus’s mission is to save His people from their sins. As faithful believers, it is up to us to seek Christ’s mercy and give honor to God. 

Are Jesus And Christ The Same?

Are Jesus And Christ The Same?

 

 

As believers, we acknowledge and embrace that Jesus Christ is the core of our Christian faith. Beginning over two-thousand years ago with the crowd of spectators that viewed His crucifixion, people throughout history have sought to understand more about the man who died on the cross so that every human could receive eternal salvation. Often for new practitioners of the faith, this journey of discovery begins with the question, “are Jesus and Christ the same?” Many people around the world refer to Him as Jesus, some call Him Christ, and others use the terms interchangeably or in conjunction with the other. While the person they are referring to is the same, there is much more to the story that is rarely told.

Jesus and Christ represent the same person; however, there is some distinction in each name’s etymology. Jesus refers to the human name selected by God to be given to His Son, and can be interpreted as “Savior”. On the other hand, Christ pertains to a title that translates to “Chosen One”, “Messiah”, or “Anointed One”. When combining these words, we can conclude that one translation of Jesus Christ is the “Messiah who Saves.” Unlike names given at birth today, Jesus Christ is not His full legal name but represents His given name and title.

In this article, we will dig deeper into the etymology of the names Jesus and Christ, discuss the real meanings behind them, and provide some interesting background information you may not have known.

How did Jesus receive His name?

The first encounter between Jesus and John the Baptist

According to the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel went to Mary to relay a message from God. Gabriel told Mary that when she gives birth, she and Joseph, the man she is set to marry, will name the baby Jesus. Hence, when we speak of Jesus, we refer to the human name bestowed by God. Luke 1:31-32 (NIV) says,

“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David,”

His given name signifies His distinctive identity and the purpose of His mission on earth. Let’s look at the significance of the name Jesus in the next section. 

The meaning of the name Jesus

Over the centuries, the Bible as we know it today underwent multiple translations from its’ original Classical Hebrew text. This includes being translated into other languages such as Aramaic, Latin, and Greek before finally arriving in the English version that is widely used around the world today.

The name Jesus derives from the Latin translation for the Greek word “Iesus”, and Iesus comes from the Greek spelling of the name “Iesous”. The Greek name Iesous is the transliteration of the original Hebrew name “Yeshua” or “Joshua” which in turn means “Yahweh is Salvation”.

The meaning of the name Christ

While the name Jesus pertains to His human form, on the other hand, Christ is a term that derives from the Greek word “Christos”. The title is similar to the Hebrew word “Messiah” or “Anointed One”. 

Usage of the names Jesus Christ and Christ Jesus

Frequently you will find Christian authors in the New Testament combining Jesus’s name with His title, such as Christ Jesus or Jesus Christ.

Some passages indicate the title first as seen in 2 Timothy 1:2 (NIV), which says,

 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus, our Lord. Other passages place His human name first, as seen in Jude 1:1 (NIV), that states, Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

When one places “Christ” beside the name “Jesus”, this expresses honor to the Son of God whether you position the title before or after His given name. Moreover, early disciples and followers of Jesus use the title because they believed He was the Messiah. 

Conclusion

While usage of the names Jesus and Christ are often used synonymously to refer to the same person, as we have seen in the previous sections, some distinctions are worth mentioning that can add helpful context to the topic. The name Jesus pertains to the human form of the Son of God. While the term “Christ” emphasizes His divine nature. Nonetheless, both of these names refer to the individual that grew up in Galilee and roamed Judea spreading the gospel about God’s love and salvation.

Learning more about Jesus is the only way to mature your faith. Like human relations, the parties’ trust and devotion in the relationship prosper as they find out more about each other. Jesus already knows who you are and loves you. Now it is up to you to understand and get to know Him. 

Are Jesus and John the Baptist Cousins?

Are Jesus and John the Baptist Cousins?

During Christmas, the story of Jesus’s mother Mary and her miraculous conception is often told in churches and other similar prayers as part of Christian tradition. In addition to retelling how Mary conceived through the Holy Spirit, another famous tale is recounted as part of the celebration— that of John the Baptist’s unusual conception and birth. John the Baptist is known as the Herald of Christ and the one who baptized Him in the River Jordan. It is said that John’s mother, Elizabeth, is a relative of Mary; that’s why many followers of the Christian faith are quick to conclude that Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins. But, were they cousins? Is there biblical evidence to support this family tie?

Based on biblical scripture, there is no concrete evidence to support that Jesus and John the Baptist were cousins; however, we know that they were related in some way because their parents were relatives. We conclude that there are two ways in which Jesus and John the Baptist could have been cousins. The first way would be if their mothers Mary and Elizabeth, were cousins based on traditional family tree dynamics. The second way is to rely only on the 17th century meaning of the word cousin, which means “any relative.” 

In this article, we will learn more about who John the Baptist was by discussing his birth and works on earth. We will also take a deep look at his relationship with Jesus Christ to clarify why many people believe that They are cousins.

Who was John the Baptist?

Who was John the Baptist?

John the Baptist was a fiery preacher and reformer who was known to have baptized Jesus Christ in the River Jordan. He played a significant role in preparing the people for Christ’s arrival, thus being called as His forerunner. In the Gospel, there are several passages that link John to the Prophet Elijah, who performed the same role in the Old Testament. Luke 1:16-17 (NIV) gives us a clear picture of their connection.

16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Matthew 17:10-13 also affirms that John the Baptist is, in fact, the Prophet Elijah as Jesus references the prophecy of Malachi:

10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” 11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way, the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.

The first encounter between Jesus and John the Baptist

The first encounter between Jesus and John the Baptist
The parents of John the Baptist were an old righteous couple named Zechariah and Elizabeth. They remained childless for a long time because Elizabeth was not able to conceive. Through praying ceaselessly, God heard them and sent the angel Gabriel to deliver the news that Elizabeth would finally bear a son as written in Luke 1:13:

13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.”

The Bible shows us that Jesus and John the Baptist shared a close bond that started before either of them were born. In fact, when Mary found out she was pregnant with Jesus, she went to visit her relative Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, it was told that John the Baptist “leaped” while still in Elizabeth’s womb, telling us that even as infants, there was an intimate connection between Jesus and John.

The work of John the Baptist

As we analyze the kinship of Jesus and John, the Bible shows us that not only were they kinsman but that John’s determination to preach a gospel of repentance and Final Judgement was to prepare Israel for Jesus’ arrival. People all around the region Judea went to the wilderness to listen to him preach. Even the Pharisees, who were the Jewish synagogue leaders, would come to hear his sermons.

John also worked hard to oppose injustice and corruption. He asked the rich to share with the less fortunate, and he exposed the transgressions of the tax collectors. He openly criticized King Herod for his abuse of power and sinful behavior, which ultimately led to John being put to death. 

John’s baptism of Jesus

John's baptism of Jesus

Further analysis of the relationship between Jesus and John reveals that God always had a plan to have them cross paths at various times throughout their lives. This was evident when Jesus came to John to be baptized by him in the desert and said that the moment was “to fulfill all righteousness.”

However, before John’s baptism of Jesus, many Israelites believed that John was, in fact, the Messiah sent from God. John dismissed this idea, as stated in Matthew 3:11-12 (NIV):

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

As we can see from the details provided to us from the Bible, it suggests that not only was John a kinsman of Jesus, but he also maintained a duty to prepare a foundation for the future Gospel of Jesus.

Are Jesus and John the Baptist cousins?

Are Jesus and John the Baptist cousins?

To understand if Jesus and John the Baptist are cousins based on traditional family-tree dynamics, it must be established that their mothers are also cousins based on the same criteria. Let’s revisit the biblical details of the family connection between Mary and Elizabeth:

Mary and Elizabeth’s family relationship

We know that when the angel of God visited Mary to share the news that she was going to conceive Jesus, he also mentioned about the miraculous conception of her “relative,” Elizabeth. 

Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. – Luke 1:36 (NIV)

This establishes that both Mary and Elizabeth are related, but the NIV version of the Bible doesn’t specifically allude to the type of family relationship they share. It is important to note that not all versions use the same terminology to describe the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. For example, the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible uses the word “cousin” to describe their relationship. 

And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. – Luke 1:36 (KJV)

However, the KJV was written in the 17th century, and the word cousin during that time was used to address any relative, so we can consider its definition also vague. 

Unfortunately, the Bible does not provide concrete evidence to classify the specific family-tree dynamic at work between Mary and Elizabeth. Some scholars of the scripture claim that Elizabeth is Mary’s aunt, given the age difference, while others say that they are distant relatives. The same goes for identifying the relationship between their sons Jesus and John the Baptist, as their family relationship is not addressed in any accounts in the Bible.

Conclusion: Jesus and John the Baptist are relatives

John the Baptist played a significant role in preparing a foundation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was considered as the Herald who proclaimed Jesus’ arrival, and he was also the baptist who encouraged people to repent to be saved from their sins, as well as introducing for the first time in history the concept of water baptism. 

Some Christians believe that he is a cousin of Jesus, but the dynamics of their kinship is somewhat vague, and we cannot know for sure what their exact relationship is. Regardless of their connection, we know that they loved each other and were destined to play key roles in God’s destiny for mankind.

Are Jesus and Joshua the Same Name?

Are Jesus and Joshua the Same Name?

The controversy about what to call the Son of God has been debated amongst scholars’ for thousands of years. Today, as more people become interested in exploring the Christian faith, the desire to understand each nuance of the Bible has become increasingly important to millions of believers around the world. Understanding the many names used to describe Jesus Christ is no exception. Some people claim that the real name of the Savior is Joshua and referring to Him as Jesus is entirely blasphemous. Others even go as far as saying that calling Him different names means you worship the wrong Messiah. But is there enough evidence proving this claim? Are Jesus and Joshua the same name contrary to what others believe?

If we look at the languages used in writing the Old Testament and the New Testament, we will find that transliteration played a significant role in the names we are using to address God’s Son. The names Jesus and Joshua are, in fact, the same. Biblical scriptures do not state that we should favor one particular name over the other, so we can use the two names interchangeably from an etymological standpoint. However, it is important to note that in the Bible, Jesus Christ and Joshua were different men with very different historical backgrounds.

In this article, we will focus on the difference between translation and transliteration and its relation to how we arrived at using these two names today. We will also discuss the real meaning behind the name of Jesus, the controversial use of the letter J, and decide if one name is more acceptable over the other.

Translation vs. Transliteration

Translation vs. Transliteration

Clarifying the difference between translation and transliteration is crucial for understanding why we now address the Messiah, as Jesus. Translation is merely changing a word to its equivalent in another language. An excellent example of this is the Greek translation of the English word Salvation, which is Soteria. 

On the other hand, transliteration changes the letters of one alphabet into similar-sounding characters from another language. For example, in the Greek alphabet, the 21st letter is Φ φ, representing the sound “ph.” Since there is no such letter in the English language, this letter is phonetically transliterated into “phi.” 

The meaning of the name Jesus

The meaning of the name Jesus

The Old Testament is originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Thus, the use of the Hebrew name Yeshua which means “Yahweh is Salvation.” This name translates to Joshua in English and is still widely used up to this date.

Since the New Testament is written in Greek, the original authors tried to translate Yeshua’s Hebrew name into their language. In doing so, they came up with the name Iēsous. They used “S” instead of “SH” because they do not have a letter corresponding to that sound in their alphabet. The English translation of the name Iēsous is Jesus.

This analysis of how the name Yeshua is transliterated into Greek, and later on, translated into English, leads us to the conclude that Jesus and Joshua are the same. Joshua is a direct English translation of the Hebrew “Yeshua.” Meanwhile, after being transliterated into Greek, the English translation became “Jesus.”

The letter J controversy

The letter J controversy

The conflict involving the name of Jesus does not end in its Hebrew and Greek translations. Some people also consider the use of the letter “J” in the English translation as incorrect. They believe that since there is no letter “J” in the original languages used in the Old and New Testament, it should also not be used in the English translations of Yeshua and Iēsous.

It is important to note that if a person speaks a particular language, it is entirely reasonable to spell and pronounce things according to that language. In other words, using the letter J in the names Jesus and Joshua are acceptable. After all, they are still referring to the same God.

Which name is more appropriate?

Is there a right way to call the Savior?

Since we have already figured out that Jesus and Joshua are the same names, what should we call Him then? Is Joshua more appropriate than Jesus? Is there a correct way to call the Savior?

Given the translation history of Jesus’ name, we can say that it doesn’t matter whether we call him Yeshua, Iēsous, Joshua, or Jesus. Even though some religious groups choose to use a particular name, that does not mean that His grace will not save those who call Him in a different name. 

The Bible also doesn’t command us to use the Hebrew or Greek versions of Jesus’ name or to pronounce it in those two languages alone. Acts 10:13 (NIV) says, 

“for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Similarly, Joel 2:32 (NIV) states, 

“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the Lord has said, even among the survivors whom the Lord calls.”

All translations of His name are equal because they refer to the same God, and they all mean ‘the Lord is Salvation.’

Jesus and Joshua are the same names

Jesus’ name has a long history. The original Hebrew form, Yeshua, was transliterated into the Greek name Iēsous which later became Jesus. While some religious groups claim that there is a correct way of saying His name to worship Him, we must keep in mind that what matters in Salvation is not what we call Him but how we call for Him. The name Joshua and Jesus are the same, and preferring one over the other does not make us more or less Christian. Instead, what makes us Christian is our faith and how we accept the one John the Baptist called the Lamb of God.

The Holy Trinity and Trinitarianism

Are Jesus Christ and God the Same?

 

 

Since the days that He walked the earth, Christians around the world have sought to know whether Jesus Christ is distinct from God. Some contend that they are the same, while others believe that Jesus is both God and God’s Son. We can recall that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, He cried out for God and asked why He had forsaken Him. This is one of the reasons why many historians declare that the Son is distinct from the Father. However, in other passages from the Bible, Jesus claims that They are one. For years this has been debated among the faithful, driving them to seek a final answer as to whether Jesus Christ and God are the same.

Yes, Jesus Christ and God are the same in terms of both spirit and nature. God’s deity, or His godliness, is manifested in Jesus Christ, thus making them one. Jesus was born for the sole purpose of representing God in the flesh or human form. In the Bible, Exodus 33:20 tells us that no man can look upon God’s face and live. Because of this, God gave His Son Jesus to the world so that all of humanity could have a direct relationship with Him and to be saved from a life of sin.

To understand how God’s deity can be manifested in Jesus, it is first essential to understand the concept of omnipresence. In this article, we will discuss the supernatural attribute of omnipresence, historically opposing viewpoints about God’s relationship with Jesus, and more.

The omnipresent God the Father

Creation of Adam hand drawn

The Bible teaches us that God the Father is omnipresent, meaning He is not limited to a particular dimension, area, or heaven, but that He exists everywhere simultaneously, fully aware of everything at all times. In the Old Testament of the Bible, Job 28:24 reads:

“For he looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens”

The idea of an always present God is one of the foundational tenets of the Christian faith and provides daily comfort to billions of believers around the world. In the Bible, this attribute is unique to God the Father, thus supporting the view that God can exist as Himself and Jesus Christ simultaneously, while also taking on their different roles and personas. While many modern theologians and philosophers have debated the practicality of omnipresence, the Book of Isaiah 40:28 tells us that God: 

“does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.

There is an infinite number of concepts that humans will never be able to understand. However, this doesn’t mean that groups throughout history haven’t attempted to explain other heavenly concepts such as the divine relationship between Jesus and God. There have been two popular theological perspectives on their relationship, one being Unitarianism and the other Trinitarianism. Let’s take a quick look at the key arguments in both.

What is Unitarianism?

What is Unitarianism?

According to Christianity.com, Unitarianism is centered on the belief that God is only one person. Unitarians contend that Jesus is a prophet of God and did not profess to be God Himself. They also claim that Jesus did not infer the presence of the Trinity. Below is a list of Unitarian beliefs and principles which lack key components of the Christian Bible:

  1. Unitarians argue that they are more monotheistic than some Christians because they consider Jesus as a prophet and not God Himself. They also deny the relationship of the Father to Jesus which opposes what God declared in Matthew 17:5 (NIV): While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
  2. They believe that Jesus is fully human and worshipping Him as God is unfaithful to how He views Himself. This diminishes Jesus’ deity which is contrary to what the Bible teaches us in 1 John 5:20 and Philippians 2:6
  3. They do not see any difference between God and the Holy Spirit and use these words interchangeably.
  4. They view salvation as “this-worldly.” In other words, people who serve as an agent of justice, reconciliation, and mercy are the saviors of humanity. They consider Jesus’ crucifixion as only an example of how to respond with evil through forgiveness rather than a sacrifice of the Son of God to redeem us from our sins. 

These Unitarian beliefs are in direct opposition to that of the Trinitarians which is anchored in the teaching that God is triune and divided into three equal persons. The Trinitarian doctrine is discussed in more detail in the following section.

The Holy Trinity and Trinitarianism

Trinitarianism is a theology based on the Holy Trinity or a belief that God is made up of three equal parts that have different roles and responsibilities. Earlier we examined the unique attribute of omnipresence which allows God to be everywhere simultaneously, thus providing the method in which God exists as Himself, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. To further substantiate this doctrine, let us look at Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV), where Christ speaks about baptism.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Similarly, 2 Corinthians 13:14 (NIV) is considered as a proof of the Triune Godhead:

“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

The central idea of the Trinity is this: the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. However, there is only one God. The Holy Trinity directs us to the fact that Jesus Christ and God are the same in terms of nature, but they are distinct to each other in terms of Their role in our Salvation. Let’s examine each member of the Holy Trinity in more detail to understand their connection:

God the Father

The first person in the Triune Godhead is the Father. He is considered as the supreme authority in the Trinity because He devised the plans for all of creation and salvation. In other words, He set in motion all of the events and actions that lead to Christ becoming our Savior. Ephesians 1:9-11 gives us a clear picture of the role that God the Father played in the Trinity.

9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

The Son

Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the second person in which God manifests Himself. Unlike His father, He is fully God and fully human, oftentimes called God-man. He serves at the will of God the Father and has many titles and roles that He performs on behalf of mankind, including functions such as Redeemer of our sins, King of the Earth, Teacher, High-Priest, and the Mediator between humans and God the Father. 1 Timothy 2:5 (NIV) provides us with a description of the relationship between Jesus and God the Father :

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus”

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit also called “The Spirit of Truth”, is the third member of the Trinity. Just like the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit maintains the deity of God the Father. In 1 John 14:15-27, Jesus tells us that once He returned to heaven after His crucifixion that God would send His disciples the Holy Spirit.

15 If you love me, keep my commands.  16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever

Other interpretations of the word advocate include counselor, intercessor, and helper. The role of the Holy Spirit to carry out assignments and support the disciples of Jesus Christ.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.  26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 

What makes Jesus distinct from God?

What makes Jesus distinct from God?

We learned from the doctrine of the Trinity that Jesus and God have the same nature, but Jesus has specific roles to fulfill in God’s kingdom in heaven and on earth. In Philippians 2:6-7, Jesus made it clear that He was not to be perceived as God’s equal. 

6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Let’s examine several other illustrations that show us how Jesus was distinct from God.

1) Jesus was sent by God the Father

Jesus embodies God’s love for the world which is why He sent Him to save us from our sins. Apostle Paul testified to this in Galatians 4:4. Meanwhile, John 3:16 (NIV) explains God’s goal in sending His Son:

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

By dying in the cross, Jesus offered Himself and took the punishment for all of us in what was called substitutionary atonement. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) gives us more insight into this:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

2) Jesus prayed to God

Another reason why we can say that Jesus and God are two different divine persons is that Jesus prayed to the Father on multiple occasions in the Bible. This act of praying illustrates the interpersonal relationship they have with the other and that they maintain different roles. An excellent example of this is when Christ prayed to His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before His crucifixion. He asked the Father to ”take the cup” from Him, but only on His will. 

3) Jesus followed His Father’s will

All the acts of Jesus are of the Father. He made this clear when Philip asked Him to show them who the Father is. Jesus’ response is written in John 14:10-11 (NIV):

10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.  11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

Jesus Christ and God are the same

Fortunately for humanity, God the Father is all-knowing and is ever-present in every area of our lives. In His love for us He sent his only Son is Jesus Christ so that we could have a direct relationship with Him and be saved from our sins. While there are varying theologies about the nature of the special relationship between them, the Bible teaches us that while they are one, they have different roles to play in our salvation.