John 1:14 New International Version: “14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In a world that has over 4000 recognized religions, choosing which path to take towards spiritual enlightenment can be confusing. Many of these belief systems are practiced by their followers without much controversy. In fact if you made a public proclamation that you have given your life and your will over to the flying green jelly bean monster, most people would be ok with that.
Why then is there so much controversy surrounding the name of Jesus? Why do so many unbelievers get angry or frustrated at His name? I Googled Jesus today and got more than 3.5 billion results. There have been countless books written about Him.
Some people don’t believe and some people want to call Jesus a good moral teacher or a prophet who brought wisdom into the world. The truth though, is that Jesus claimed to be God and we have a decision to make about that claim. We either believe Him or we don’t believe Him. There really are no other choices.
C.S. Lewis has said the following: “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 the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your 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 and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
There are only two options. His revelation of Himself as God must be either true or false. There are no other choices. So what do you believe? Have you thought about it? This is the single most important decision you will ever make.
Let’s explore the possible alternatives and decide what we believe based on the evidence. The three possibilities are that He was lying and knew He was lying; He was crazy and therefore He didn’t realize He was lying; or He is God.
The first possibility is that Jesus was lying and knew it. .
What if Jesus was a liar? If He knew he was not God then He was lying and betraying the trust of His followers. He taught others to be honest whatever the cost so lying and betraying others would mean that He was a fraud. He instructed people to trust Him as the only way to heaven and many people did but if He was lying then this would make Him a monster. If He was lying or deceiving His followers with claims or promises He couldn’t keep then He was evil.
If this was the case and Jesus was knowingly lying about who He was then He was nothing more than a complete failure. His claim led to His crucifixion, an extremely painful experience that could have been stopped at any time by admitting He was lying.
Those who say that He was a good moral teacher must explain how that could be if He was intentionally lying to people about who He was. A lying Jesus isn’t compatible with what we know about Him, the way He lived or the things He said.
If you examine the lives’ of the people who knew Him in the bible as well as the people who know Him today the results are amazing. So what happens to these people? Alcoholics become sober; cowards become courageous; the hateful learn to love; selfish people become generous; sinners learn to repent and the list goes on.
It just wouldn’t make sense for Him to be a liar. Someone who lived the perfect life that He lived, who taught such amazing truths and died the way He died could not have been a liar.
The second possibility is that He thought He was telling the truth but was deranged.
What if Jesus was just crazy? Could He have mistakenly thought He was God? It is possible for a genuinely good person to be wrong. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be the first or last time that someone mistakenly identified themselves as God. These people are rightly seen as irrational and delusional. We lock them up so they can’t hurt themselves or others.
With Jesus it was different though. We don’t see the personality defects and irregularities that go with such a disconnect from truth. If we take the case of a schizophrenic for instance, their aim is to escape from reality and a claim to be God would be a cause for concern.
If He was deranged could He have lived life with such a calm and rational demeanor as He was recorded as doing? If He was insane He would not have been able to maintain His self-discipline and composure throughout the time of His earthly ministry.
Giving an honest study of the life of Jesus it is impossible to arrive at the conclusion He was disconnected from reality. The words of Jesus are the most life-changing words ever recorded. These same words have freed so many people caught in sin, pain, failure and hurt.
It is impossible for Jesus to have been insane. He taught with such logic, love and compassion that He clearly knew what He was doing. In fact many people claim that in order to experience spiritual healing all they need to do is pick up their bible and read the words of Jesus.
I reject the claim that Jesus was crazy.
The final possibility is that Jesus is the Son of God.
What if Jesus is the Son of God? What if He is exactly who He said He was? Basic common sense will reveal that Jesus was not a liar or a deranged man. These possibilities can not exist when you honestly look at the evidence. There is only one other option.
Jesus is in fact the Son of God. Let’s look at the evidence. The New Testament is a document proven to be historically accurate. It contains twenty seven books which were all written in the first century A.D. This is important because it means they were all written within a few years of Jesus’ Earthly presence and they all proclaim that Jesus is God. They were all written by different people and for different reasons but they all share the common theme of who Jesus is and what He did.
The writers of the New Testament were not the only ones who recorded information about Jesus. Many early philosophers and theologians recorded what they knew. They all lived within a few decades of Jesus and they all make the same claim about His divinity.
Here is what some of them are recorded as saying about Jesus:
Ignatius of Antioch (Ad 110): God incarnate…God Himself appearing in the form of man.
Justin Martyr (AD 100-165): For they who affirm that the Son is the Father, are proved neither to have become acquainted with the Father, nor to know that the Father of the universe has a Son; who also, being the first-begotten Word of God, is even God.
Irenaeus (AD 177): …the Father is Lord, and the Son is Lord, and the Father is God and the Son is God; for He who is born of God is God.
Melito of Sardis (AD 177): He was man, yet He is God. . .
Today there are followers of Jesus everywhere who have seen and felt His presence in their own lives. There are many people who, in a spiritual darkness and despair have met their savior who then picked them up, dusted them off and set them on a new course. I know through personal experience that if you call out to Him he answers. Turning your life over to Him is a decision full of logic. Soon, though the logic won’t matter because you will have made the ultimate life-changing connection with The God of Everything who loves you more than you will ever know.
You must carry this message. Ask your friends, family, coworkers, strangers, everyone to follow Jesus. Ask people about the options.
Was Jesus a liar? No
Was Jesus deranged? No
Is Jesus your savior?
There are no more choices.
Michael at R2W