A Controversial Claim
I believe this is the most important question of the 21st Century. What I choose to believe about Jesus Christ will determine the answers to other important questions, such as these:
• Why am I here?
• What happens when I die?
We must decide if Jesus is God. This must be addressed because it was his most controversial claim. Jesus Christ didn’t die because he healed the blind, made the lame walk, and raised the dead. The fact is that Jesus was rejected and crucified because He claimed to be the Son of God—having the very nature of God.
The Bible continually refers to Him this way.
But about the Son he says,“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom …” —Hebrews 1:8
While we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. —Titus 2:13
We must deal with Jesus’ claim to divinity because it is true or false, and the answer has eternal impact. If it is true, then I need to make some huge choices about my relationship with Him while on earth. If His claims are false, then I need to find another answer for my search for meaning.
Buddha never claimed to be God. Mohammad never claimed to be Allah. Moses never claimed to be Yahweh. But Jesus trumped them all by making these audacious claims: “Unless you believe in Me, you will die in your sins. And those who see Me have seen God.”
So when we deal with who Jesus is, we have 4 options.
The first is that He is a legend, a myth. However, we can discount the myth idea because many secular historians have researched Jesus of Nazareth and have found overwhelming objective evidence that he lived.
That leaves us with three options. Here is how C.S. Lewis, former atheist and professor at Cambridge University, put it:
“A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — 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.”
So is Jesus a liar, a lunatic or Lord?
First, if Jesus wasn’t who He claimed to be and knew it, He was a colossal liar. He was telling people He was the only way to have a relationship with the true and living God who loved them and desired to forgive them. If he preached this, knowing it to be false, doesn’t that make Him a liar on the level of a demon from hell?
We can reject this option because everything Jesus taught was built on the virtues of love and truth. It doesn’t seem reasonable to assume that the person many people consider the greatest influence for good the world has ever seen would be living a lie and calling people to believe a lie. This would make Jesus not only a liar but also a fool because he got Himself killed for it.
But we have another option. If Jesus’ claim to be God was false and He really thought he was God, He would be mentally unbalanced, a schizophrenic. Yet none of Jesus’ actions or personal characteristics indicate schizophrenia. Most psychiatrists tell us that if the world would live by the teachings of Jesus, we would have no more war or murder or hatred.
Our last option is that Jesus is Lord. So if Jesus is God, then what?
We’ll take a closer look at that next week.