The Bible has many verses that answer the question “Who is Jesus?” One of the most succinct is Mark 1:1 – “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
This verse presents 3 names that tell us much about the identity of the biblical Jesus, arguably the most influential person in the history of the world. Basic Bible doctrine begins with a correct understanding of the person of Jesus.
1. Jesus is a man – his humanity.
Throughout his gospel account, Mark goes to great lengths to describe the humanity of Jesus. Consider these verses that describe his human emotions and limitations:
Compassion (1:41, 6:34)
Deep distress (3:5)
Troubled & sorrowful (14:33-34)
Jesus got tired (4:38) and hungry (11:12). He experienced the full range of human emotions and was regularly frustrated by his disciples’ behavior and lack of faith (4:40, 8:33, 9:19, 10:13-16).
Mark makes it clear that Jesus was a man. He has a human name and throughout the book of Mark, his humanity is undeniable and unmistakable. Yet the Bible teaches us that he was the only perfect man to ever live, for even though he was “tempted in every way, just as we are” he was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
2. Jesus is the Christ – his royalty.
This Jesus is also named “Christ”, the Greek form of the Hebrew word “Messiah”, which means “anointed one” – a reference to his office as King. Take note – the word “Christ” is not his last name. In Bible times, people didn’t have last names. Rather, this is his royal title.
It would make more sense to say it like this, “Jesus, The Christ”, or “Jesus, The Messiah”, or “Jesus, The King”.
The equivalent to this name/title combination “Jesus Christ” would be “Barack The President”. Many times in the New Testament the order is reversed – “Christ Jesus” is the same as saying “President Barack”, with the title preceding the name.
This “gospel” (or “good news”) which Mark is telling us about, then, concerns a man named Jesus who bears the title of Jewish royalty, The Messiah. The concept of Messiah would have much significance to the Jews in Mark’s audience, for the Messiah was the long awaited King who would come to save Israel from her enemies and establish an eternal kingdom for his people. The Messiah’s coming and reign were predicted throughout the Old Testament, the sacred writings of Judaism.