Most People would probably agree with me in saying that he was a great teacher, with great teachings that were very true. But they go on to say that he was just that–a teacher. Or just a prophet.
C.S. Lewis put it well:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make you choice. Either this man was, and is the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.
You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him as a demon, or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His Being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
This statement does get worn out. There is no doubt about it. But if you think about it, it holds so much truth. If Jesus’ claims are false, then really there is just two more options left. He either knew that his claims were false…or he didn’t know. I can’t think of any other options.
So, was Jesus a liar?
If Jesus was a liar, he would have to be the biggest liar in all of history. He would be a demon, telling other that he was the only way to heaven. And to top it off he foolishly threw his life away by dying on a cross, something he claimed God led him to do.
Now, to those who say Jesus was just as great moral teacher because he would have been a huge hypocrite, teaching one thing and the next minute doing the opposite of what he taught. There is no way that he could have been a great moral teacher if his teaching was not backed up with actions. He would be what Josh McDowell calls a “deliberate liar.”
But we don’t see him as a deliberate liar. His actions do support his words. We see lives changed wherever Jesus was. People were changed for good. Men, women, children, even nations, were changed for good. I don’t see a liar and terrible hypocrite being so pure and honest and true all through his life. It’s nonsense!
“How in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an imposter–that is a deceitful,selfish, depraved man–have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality?”
The life of Jesus does not point him to be a liar.
But, hey, was he a lunatic?
Maybe he really thought he was God, and was very sincere, but just flat out wrong. I mean, couldn’t that be a possibility? It certainly seems so.
I mean, if someone were to come up to you and tell you that they were Napoleon…Well, you’d probably laugh (hard?) then call the authorities if he was was insane like that. Who knows, he could hurt someone!
If Jesus claimed he was God, and was not, but really believed he was…He really was not in his right mind.
Again, I go back to the lifestyle of Jesus and point out his teachings, and his sayings. His teachings were too sound and great that it doesn’t really point to the fact that he was a lunatic. Josh McDowell wrote of a Psychiatrist who said that all you have to do is read portions of Christs’ teaching to patients, and that’s all the counseling they need.
His intellect and theological knowledge do not point to a point of insanity, but of firm mental soundness.
So, was he Lord?
I’m not concluding that Christ was a liar or lunatic. So what else is there to choose from? To conclude that Christ is not a liar or a lunatic, is to conclude that he is Lord. Think about it…Which of these three “L’s” are more probable? Christ is not just a great moral teacher…He’s something that you have to choose.
Next, I will conclude this series with a defense on the reliability of the New Testament, and a complete wrap up on this series.