Jesus – Lord, Liar, Lunatic?
Growing up as a Christian I have met people who did not accept the Bible or have any belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. While I have never agreed with them, I can understand how someone might reject the Gospel. A Muslim, a Hindu, a Buddhist or simply an atheist might reject the truth found in the Bible.
But what has always puzzled me is the people I meet who tell me they do not believe Jesus is the Son of God, but they accept Him as a good moral teacher. They even quote Him and His teachings and say we should use them as a guide for our living.
But that has never made sense to me. When you read what Jesus said and did, I think you have to either accept Him as Lord – as the Son of God – or reject Him as a liar or a lunatic.
If he actually knew He was not the Son of God but claimed He was – then He was NOT a good moral teacher, but a liar!
And what a liar!
- Making promises He could never keep if He was not the Son of God.
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
- Encouraging people to give up everything to follow Him with those great promises.
So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
- Claiming to be able to forgive sins.
And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
If He was not the Son of God, but thought He was – He was an honest man – but also a lunatic!
And what a lunatic!
- Believing that the prophecies in the Old Testament (the Tanakh) were speaking about Him and that He could give eternal life to those who followed Him.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
- Believing that He had authority over all flesh given to Him by God and that God has sent Him to bring this eternal life to the people.
Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
- Believing that His death would bring a payment for the sins of the world.
Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
C.S. Lewis sums it up so well in his book, Mere Christianity:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus was 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 fanatic–on a 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.
Lord, Liar, Lunatic – which is He to you?