Meanderings of a Minister


Just Who Did Jesus Think He Was?
April 4, 2012, 2:33 pm
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C. S. Lewis, in his book, Mere Christianity, proposed a statement that Jesus was either, in Lewis’ words, a liar, a lunatic or Lord.  This was the question that drove Lewis to investigate the truth of God’s Word and was the foundation upon which God built to change C. S. Lewis from an atheist to a follower of Christ.  In our day, we would add one more possibility to that list of “L’s”.  Some claim that He is simply a legend.

When considering the quadlemma concerning Jesus’ identity, one must attempt to understand both what is and is not being said by each statement that is being proposed. For instance, the statement that Jesus was a liar, or that He was deceived or deceiving to others. Was Jesus deceived into thinking He was the Son of God? His mother certainly would have told Him so, but does that make it true? John the Baptist, His cousin, certainly thought He was the Son of God, but that does not offer much credibility as he could have been biased. So, how does one determine if Jesus was actually a liar?

One would first consider the words He spoke and ask if He claimed to be the Son of God. Yes, He did, but what else did He say? He said He would go to Jerusalem, be handed over the authorities, suffer and then be crucified on a cross. He claimed He would rise again on the third day and the disciples would see Him again. Every one of his prophecies came true and can be corroborated by more sources than can prove Abraham Lincoln actually lived. He prophesied about His life and the lives of His disciples and every one of the prophecies were fulfilled. That is not the definition of a liar.

If He was not deceiving others, then maybe He Himself was deceived. Could He have been told He was the Messiah and it not have been true? It would seem that raising people from the dead, casting out demons, giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the mute, mobility to the paralyzed and the ability to read people’s minds and stop them dead in their tracks would seem to mitigate towards something supernatural in Him. Walking on water, feeding 5000, showing up alive after being killed and turning water into wine wouldn’t exactly hurt the case, either. So, Jesus was not a liar, but maybe He was a lunatic.

Maybe He believed He was the Son of God like your Uncle John thinks he’s a tugboat. For Jesus to be a lunatic would mean that He would have believed He could do all the things listed above, but would not be able to do so, but only thought He could. The problem was that many eyewitnesses were available to refute the stories of Jesus’ miracles and prophecies, and their fulfillment, and no one objected because people spent time with formerly blind, deaf, mute, demon-possessed and even dead people that were no longer those things. What about the temple veil being torn in two at His death, from top to bottom? Did He imagine that? Hardly. The priests were terrified and wrote it down. The very ones that had Him killed.

So, not a liar and not a lunatic…what about a legend? How do we know these stories are not just all made up? We could look at historians of the day that verify some of the events. Josephus was not a Christian, but recorded some of Jesus’ life and did so for the Roman court. To lie in that history would have cost him his livelihood and maybe his life. Or how about Eusebius? He was another historian without an axe to grind. What about Thallus, the Gentile that wrote confirming the darkness that fell over Palestine at Jesus’ crucifixion? What about Tacitus that confirmed some of the stories about Christians found in the book of Acts? What about the archaeological finds that prove the existence of Jesus in Nazareth, crucified in Palestine, under Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberias Caesar at Passover, His miracles that were dismissed as sorcery? What about the discovery of Yohanan, a crufixion victim that confirms the New Testament account of Jesus’ own? What about the various locations being found? No, there is no doubt that the New Testament stories about Jesus pass the external test, that they do not contradict each other and that they are confirmed historical facts.

There is also no doubt that the New Testament we have today matches the original within a 97% accuracy rating and that this is over triple the percentage of any other historical work that is not questioned as historical.

So, if Jesus told the Truth, was not crazy, and His stories are true, then that only leaves one conclusion possible. He is Who He said He was. God the Son, the propitiation for our sins and the only way to Heaven. Whether or not you believe that is irrelevant for Him, but very relevant for you. He is Lord of the Universe, but does He sit on the throne of your heart? Would you like for Him to?

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