The 2001 Commentaries

Who was Jesus?

Flevit super illam (He wept over it)
Flevit super illam (He wept over it), by Enrique Simonet, 1892

info All commentaries are written by volunteers, readers, or supporters of our Bible translation project. These are not official views of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.



There is no other issue in Christian theology more debated than who Jesus actually was. Christians even argued about this subject in the 1st century CE, for his apostle John said in one of his letters:

‘Many have strayed [back] into the world and won’t admit that Jesus the Anointed One came in the flesh. These that have strayed are the Antichrists.’ —2 John 1:7

So even at that early date, there was debate over who Jesus was, and even if he ever existed. This document will outline everything that the Bible text itself says about his identity, why he came, and where he went.

Jesus, Joshua, Iesous, or Yehoshua?

Jesus was probably never called ‘Jesus’ during his lifetime on earth, since Jesus is just a Hellenized (made to sound Greek) pronunciation of the name Joshua (actually pronounced YehoShua). The common language in JeruSalem during the 1st century CE was Aramaic (a form of Hebrew). Indeed, in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament, JoShua was called “Jesus” (actually pronounced Yaysous). So the name “Jesus”, spelled Iesous at the time, was what later Greek-speaking people began to call him after his death as a human.

What about the name “Jesus Christ”? Actually, it’s very likely that nobody ever called him Christ during his lifetime on earth. Why not? “Christ” is a later Greek pronunciation of the Hebrew/Aramaic word Mashiach, from which we get the word “Messiah”. It’s proper translation into English would be “Anointed” or “the Anointed One”.

So Jesus was not actually called Jesus, nor Jesus Christ. He was called Yehoshua, which could be either Joshua or Jesus in English. Christ was not one of his names, but a title meaning “Anointed”. So “Jesus Christ” probably sounded like “Yehoshua Mashiach” and would be correctly translated as “Jesus (or Joshua) the Anointed One”.

Further, within his name is the name of the Hebrew God, Jehovah (or Yahweh). The first part of the name Jesus (or Joshua, or Iesous in Greek) is a shortened form of Jehovah (or Yahweh, or Iaweh in Greek). The second part of the name (Sus or Shua) is Hebrew for savior or salvation. So the name Jesus/Joshua actually means Jehovah’s Savior (or Yahweh’s Saviour), which is fitting since Jehovah’s prophets in the Old Testament foretold that Jehovah would send a saviour to mankind.

The different theories

In the centuries following the deaths of the Apostles, Christians argued over the nature of Jesus. This resulted in a great theological debate, which ended in the creation and adoption of ‘the Trinity Doctrine.’

The doctrine is often called a ‘divine mystery’. It teaches that Jesus is one part of a three-person “Godhead”. In other words, that Jesus is one of the three personalities of God. The three are ‘the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.’ The Catholic Church was the first to adopt this doctrine. They did so at their Council of Nicaea in the 4th century. Later when Protestant religions broke away from Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries, they held the same doctrine.

In this teaching, Jesus isn’t referred to as the Son of God, but as “God the Son”.

Not all Christian denominations accept the Trinity doctrine. Some teach that Jesus was the first son created by God, while others believe that he is in fact the same person as Jehovah/Yahweh from the Jewish scriptures, so no ‘trinity’ is implied.

Even among those who believe that Jesus is a son of God there is disagreement. For example, some believe that he was once a mighty spirit son of God, but then God transferred his life into a human fetus so that he was born as a human. Others think of him as a superhuman ‘god-man’ or an ‘angel-man’, and there are yet others who think he was only created when he was born as a human.

Which of these teachings (if any) is true according to the Bible? Let’s ask a series of questions about Jesus, and then just show the relevant scriptures without any commentary or interpretation.

Question: Was God the father of Jesus?

Matthew 3:16, 17:

‘After being baptized, Jesus came up out of the water. Then {look!} the heavens opened and he saw God’s Breath coming down on him like a dove. And {look!} there was a voice that came from the sky, which said:

This is my loved Son and I’m very pleased with him.’

Matthew 11:25-27:

‘It was concerning this, that Jesus prayed:
‘I’ve been given it all by my Father.
For no one knows the Son like his Father,
And no one knows the Father as well as His Son…

And those to whom he reveals Him.’

Matthew 16:15-17:

‘Then [Jesus] asked:
But, who do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered:
You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God.
Then Jesus said to him:
You are blest, Simon son of Jonah, because this wasn’t shown to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in the heavens.’

Matthew 26:63, 64:

Pilate said: ‘By the living God, I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Anointed One, the Son of God!
And Jesus answered: You said it yourself!

Luke 22:69, 70:

‘Well at that, they all asked, So, are you the Son of God?’ And he replied: You're the ones who are saying that I am!

John 1:34:

‘I have seen it and I testified to the fact that this is the Son of God.’

John 19:7:

‘We have a law. And according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself God’s Son.’

2 Corinthians 1:3:

May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, the Father of mercy and the God of all comfort, be praised.’

Question: Where was the Father when Jesus was on Earth?

Matthew 7:11:

‘So, if you in your wickedness know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those that ask him?’

Matthew 10:32, 33:

‘For everyone who admits that they are with me in front of men, I will admit that I’m with them in front of my Father in the heavens. But for whoever denies knowing me in front of men, I will also deny knowing him in front of my Father in the heavens.’

Matthew 11:50:

‘Whoever does all that my Father in heaven wishes, is my brother, sister, and mother.’

Question: When Jesus was born on Earth, was he a human or a spirit?

Psalm 40:6:

‘Sacrifices and offerings, You didn’t want;
But, You prepared a body for me…
You did not seek whole burnt offerings,
Nor sacrifices for [the covering of] sins.’

Matthew 9:6:

‘I want you to know that the Son of Man has the power to forgive sins here on the earth.’

Luke 22:22:

‘The Son (who is for a fact from men) is going the way that was marked out for him.’

Hebrews 2:9:

He was made a little lower than [God’s] messengers. And it was because he suffered and died that he was crowned with glory and honor.’

Hebrews 2:16, 17:

‘So [when he came], he really didn’t take on [the shape] of one of [God’s] messengers somewhere, but he took [the shape of] Abraham’s seed. For he was obligated to become like his brothers in every way, so he could become a merciful and faithful High Priest before God and offer a sacrifice to cover peoples’ sins.’

Question: Where did Jesus come from?

Micah 5:2:

‘And as for you, O BethLehem,
Of the house of EphRatha (The few among the thousands of Judah);
From out of you will come forth,
A man that will be IsraEl’s ruler.
His [roots] are from the most ancient times,
And from the days of the ages

John 1:3:

This one was with The God in the beginning, and through him it all came to be.’

John 1:15:

‘John witnessed about him. Yes, he’s the one that said it… he yelled it out loud: He’s the one that is coming behind me. He was the first one, and he came before me!.’

John 1:29, 30:

‘The next day, he saw Jesus coming toward him and said: Look! The Lamb of God who lifts sin from the world! This is the one I meant when I said, The one coming behind me has come before me, because he was first, before I was.’

John 5:30:

‘I’m not looking to do the things that I want, but to do the will of the One that sent me.’

John 5:36-38:

‘I am doing the work that my Father assigned me to finish.
These are the things that testify about me [and prove] that the Father sent me.
Why, even the Father that sent me has testified about me.
You’ve never heard His voice or seen His shape, and His words don’t stick with you, because you don’t believe the one whom He sent.’

John 6:37, 38:

‘But those whom the Father gives to me will come to me… and I won’t throw away anyone that comes to me, because I didn’t come here from heaven to do my will, but [to do] the will of the One that sent me.

John 6:57:

The living Father sent me and I live because of the Father.’

John 7:28, 29:

‘The One that sent me is real and you don’t know Him. I know Him, because I came from Him and because He sent me here.’

John 8:26:

‘The One that sent me is truthful, and I’m telling the world the things that I heard from Him.’

John 8:29:

The One that sent me is with me. He didn’t send me off alone, because I always do things to please Him.’

John 8:42:

‘If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came here from God.
I didn’t come here on my own. He sent me.’

John 8:58:

‘I tell you the truth; I existed before Abraham was.’

John 13:3, 4:

‘And knowing that the Father had put everything in his hands and that he came from God and was returning to God; he got up from the meal and laid his outer clothing aside.’

John 16:27, 28:

‘The Father cares for you because you cared for me, and because you believed that I came here from the Father (gr. ego para tou patros exelthon, or, I next/to the Father came out). So, since I came into the world from the Father, I'll also be leaving the world and returning to the Father.’

John 17:4-8:

‘I have glorified You on the earth and perfectly completed the work that You assigned to me. So, Father; Glorify me beside You with the glory that I had beside You before there was a cosmos. I have made Your Name shine among the men that You gave me from the world. They were Yours, but You gave them to me, and they have obeyed Your words. They now realize that everything You gave me came from You, because I passed along to them all the things that You told me, and they welcomed them. They know it as a fact that I came as Your representative and they believe that You sent me.’

Colossians 1:13-18:

‘He drew us to himself from out of the power of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love. And the ransom price that frees us from our sins, has been paid through him. He’s the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation (gr. protokos pases ktiseos – first/taken all creation). Through him, everything in heaven and on the earth was created, both the things that are visible and those that are invisible. Everything has been created through him and for him, regardless of whether they are thrones, or rulerships, or governments, or powers.
He was before everything and everything came into existence through him.

He’s the head of the body of the congregation.
He’s the earliest and the first one to be born from the dead, so that he would be first in everything.’

Revelation 3:14:

‘And write this to the messenger of the congregation in LaoDikea:
This is what the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the earliest creation of God (gr. he arche tes ktisios tou Theou – the beginning of/the creation of/the God).’

Question: Why did Jesus come?

Isaiah 53:11:

‘It was the Will of Jehovah…
It was by His Hand that He would remove,
The misery that his life came to know…
In order to show him the light,
To help him to understand,
And to prove this righteous one just…
This good one that was serving for many,
So as to bear all their sins.

Matthew 20:28:

‘This is how the Son of Man came… not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.’

Matthew 21:9:

‘Part of the crowd walked ahead of him and those that followed were shouting:
[God] save the Son of David! Praise the one that comes in the Name of the Lord! May [God] in the highest places save him!’

Luke 1:31-33:

‘{Look!} You will get pregnant and give birth to a son whom you are to name Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father.
He will rule over the house of Jacob into the ages and there will be no end to his Kingdom.

John 3:16, 17:

‘This is how God loved the world: He gave His one-and-only Son so that everyone who believes in him won’t be destroyed, but will have age-long life. God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge it, but for the world to be saved through him.’

John 3:35, 36:

‘The Father loves the Son and He has entrusted everything into his hands; so, those that believe in the Son will have age-long life.
However, those that disobey him won’t see life, for the wrath of God remains upon them.’

John 5:19-23:

‘Then Jesus said to them: I tell you the truth; The Son can do nothing on his own other than what he sees the Father doing… whatever [the Father] does is what the Son does. And because the Father cares about the Son, He shows him everything that He does… and [God] will show him greater works than these, just to amaze you. Therefore, as the Father raises the dead and makes them alive; the Son can also give life to whomever he wishes. Also, the Father doesn’t judge anyone; for, He has left all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son as they honor the Father… and whoever doesn’t honor the Son, doesn’t honor the Father that sent him.’

John 5:26:

‘Just as the Father has life in Himself, He has also given the Son life in himself and authorized him to do judging… because he’s the Son of Man.’

John 6:37:

‘Everything that the Father gives me will come to me.
I won’t reject anyone that comes to me, because I didn’t come from heaven to do my will, but [to do] the Will of the One that sent me.’

Hebrews 4:14, 15:

So in view of the fact that we have such a great High Priest that has passed [into] the heavens – Jesus, the Son of God – let’s keep talking about him! For we don’t have a High Priest that can’t sympathize with our weaknesses; rather, we have one that has been tested in every way just like us… however, [he didn’t] sin!

Hebrews 7:22:

‘So Jesus has become the promise of a better Sacred Agreement.’

Question: How did Jesus get here?

John 1:14:

Thus the Word became flesh and tented among us and we gazed upon his glory, which was the glory of the one-and-only next to the Father… and he was filled with kindness and truth.’

Philippians 2:5-11:

‘Keep this attitude in you that the Anointed Jesus had:
Although he once existed in the same shape as God, he didn’t consider trying to make himself equal to God (gr. oux harpagmon hegesato to einai isa Theo, or, not snatching he/considered the to/be equal God).
Rather, he emptied himself into the shape of a slave and became a man.
And when he found himself shaped as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient until his death; yes, death on a pole. This is why God promoted him to a superior position (gr. Theos auton hyperupsosen, or, God him put/high/over) and kindly gave him the title that is over all others. So that in the name of Jesus, every knee in heaven, on earth, and under the ground should bend, and every tongue should confess that Jesus the Anointed One is Lord to the glory of God the Father.’

Question: Is Jesus just another personality of God?

Matthew 23:9-10:

‘And don’t address anyone on earth as Father, because there’s just one that is your Father, the heavenly One.
Nor should you be called Leaders, because you only have one Leader, the Anointed One.’

Matthew 24:36:

‘No one knows the day or the hour; not the angels in heaven or the Son… just the Father.’

Matthew 26:39:

‘And going a little way forward, he fell on his face praying and said:
My Father; if it’s possible, let this cup pass from me. However, not my will, but Yours.’

Matthew 26:53:

‘Don’t you think that I can ask my Father to immediately send more than twelve battalions of angels?
But if [I did] that, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?’

Matthew 27:46:

‘And about the ninth hour, Jesus called out in a loud voice:
‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That is, ‘My God, my God; Why have you abandoned me?

Luke 4:6-8:

‘Then the Slanderer said, I will give you power over all of these and the glory of them, because they’ve been given to me and I can give them to whomever I wish. They will all be yours, if you will just bow in front of me.
But Jesus replied, It’s written; You must worship Jehovah your God. He’s the only One that you should worship.’

Luke 6:12:

‘It was around this time that he went up a mountain to pray, spending the whole night in prayer to God.’

Luke 18:19:

‘And Jesus asked him: Why do you call me good? No one is good except One… The God!

Luke 23:34:

Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they are doing,’

John 3:45:

Don’t think that I’m going to accuse you to the Father.
The one that accuses you is Moses.’

John 6:27:

‘Don’t work for food that can spoil. Rather, [work for] for the food of life that lasts through the age, which the Son of Man will give you… yes, from the one that was sealed by the Father (The God).’

John 6:44, 45:

Nobody can come to me unless the Father who sent me attracts him and I will resurrect him on the last day.’

John 6:46:

No one has seen the Father other than the one that was with God. This one has seen the Father.’

John 12:48-50:

‘Whoever ignores me and doesn’t welcome what I say already has someone that judges him… for the things that I’ve said are what will judge him on the last day. Because, the things that I said didn’t come from me… it was the Father who sent me that gave me the commands of what to tell and what to say! And since I know that His Commandments mean age-long life; I’ve told you whatever the Father told me to say… yes, that’s what I’ve been saying to you!

John 14:28:

‘You heard me tell you that I’m going away and I am coming back to you. If you loved me, you would cry out in joy that I am going to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am.

John 20:17:

‘Jesus said to her, Don’t touch me, because I haven’t ascended to the Father yet. But go to my brothers and tell them that I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’

Acts 2:24-26:

‘But God resurrected him, freeing him from the cords of death, because it wasn’t possible for [death] to hold him.
For David said this about him:
I’ve always put Jehovah before me.
And since He is at my right hand,
I will never be shaken.
So, in my heart, I am cheerful,
And with my tongue, I rejoice;
For my body finds rest in the hope,
That, in the grave, You'll not leave me,
Or let Your loyal one see decay.

For the ways of life, You have shown me,
And You'll fill me with joy from Your face.

Acts 2:34-36:

‘Jehovah said to my Lord;
Sit here at My right hand,
‘Til I set your enemies as a stool for your feet.
So, let the entire House of IsraEl know for sure that God appointed this Jesus whom you impaled His Lord and Anointed!

1 Corinthians 15:24, 28:

‘Then in the end, after he has brought all governments, authorities, and powers to nothing, he will hand over the Kingdom to his God and Father.’ ‘However, after everything has been put under him, then the Son will submit to the One that put everything under him, so God can be everything to everyone.’

Ephesians 1:20-23:

He raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every government, authority, power, lordship, and every name that has been given not only in this age, but also in the one that’s coming. He has put everything under his feet and made him the head over everything to the congregation (his body), to fill him with everything that belongs to the One that does the filling.’

Hebrews 1:2-4:

‘In the last part of these days, He spoke to us through a Son whom He made the heir to everything… the one that he used to create this age. He shines with the same glory, is the exact image of His being, and He is responsible for everything that’s said through His power. And after he cleansed us of our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Great One in the highest places. He has become so much greater than the [other] messengers [of God] and so different, that he has inherited a [special] name among them.’

Revelation 1:1:

A revelation that God gave to Jesus the Anointed One, to show his slaves the things that must soon happen.’

Question: Where did Jesus go?

Acts 7:55, 56:

‘But [Stephen], being filled with [God’s] Holy Breath, stared into the sky and saw the Glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right hand, and he said:
Look! I see the heavens opening up and the Son of Man standing at God’s right hand!

Romans 8:34:

‘Why, the Anointed Jesus (who died, was raised from the dead, and who is at God’s right hand) also pleads for us.’

Ephesians 1:20, 21:

He raised him from the dead and seated him at His right hand in the heavens, far above every government, authority, power, lordship, and above every name that has been given, not only in this age, but also in the one that’s coming.’

Hebrews 1:3:

‘And after he cleansed us of our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Great One in the highest places.’

Question: So, who was Jesus?

Matthew 16:15-17:

‘Then [Jesus] asked,
But who would you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered:
You're the Anointed, the Son of the living God.
Then Jesus said to him:
You are blest, Simon son of Jonah, because this wasn’t shown to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in the heavens.’

1 John 5:5:

‘Who has conquered the world other than those that have faith that Jesus is the Son of The God?’

See also

All commentaries
























Our Bible translation

Check out our Bible translation project.

arrow_circle_right View our Bible

The 2001 Mailing List

Keep up-to-date with our project and receive interesting tidbits of Bible-related information.

arrow_circle_right Sign up