Friday, October 3, 2008

Liar, Lunatic or Lord?

When you ask a person what they think of when they hear the name Jesus, they generally say that He was a good teacher, one of the prophets of God, a Jewish Rabbi or a good man. Many people, while not believing in the inclusiveness that Jesus is the only way to heaven, will usually believe that He was a good person, worthy enough to learn from. While not believing Him to be the Second Person of the Triune Godhead, they will usually include Him in those who have had a good and moral influence. When asked, most people will say something like , I believe that Jesus is among the greatest teachers of History, along with Buddha, Gandhi, Mother Teresa etc." Mostly pointing to His sermon on the Mount and His parables about loving enemies, helping the poor, loving neighbors as the righteous qualities that He taught and are trying to follow. There have been many good and loving people throughout the ages. They range from Mother Teresa, who selflessly helped the poorest of the poor and those separated from society because of disease and sickness. They include princesses, like Diana, who traveled war torn countries, helping those who have suffered loss of limbs from land mines. Heads of State, Presidents, teachers, pastors, philosophers. There have been many who have strived to make peace, lift the poor, comfort the sick and diseased. So what makes Jesus special? Is it His teachings on helping and loving, or is it more?Those who deny Him as God, yet include Him in a list of other moral and righteous teachers, would include a liar among their role models. If they don't believe that Jesus is God, then they must look at all of His claims that He is God. They must look at all the times that He made Himself equal to God. People have to look at the person of Jesus Christ and say whether He is a Liar, a lunatic or Lord. He can not be a righteous teacher if He is a liar. He can not be a good and moral leader if He is a lunatic. Jesus leave no choice. If you are going to believe in His Words about love, peace and the poor, you must believe His Words in which He claims to be God. Hisclaims are either truth or lies. Which will you believe? When He is claiming He is God, if He knew that He is not God, then He was deliberately lying and deceiving His followers. He tells us to be honest and not to cheat. If He was lying about His claim, then He was an evil person for telling such a lie and deceiving so many. He would also be incredibly stupid, for it was because of His claims that He was crucified. There is no way that someone who is a deliberate liar could be anywhere near a moral and good teacher. Historian Philip Schaff pointed out, "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? How could He have conceived and successfully carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrificed His own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudices if His people and age?"Someone who lived, taught, and died the way that Jesus did could not be a liar.What if instead of lying about being God - He only just believed He is God? Say like maybe I think I'm Cleopatra? Maybe He sincerely thought He was God, but wrong? Would this not make Him delusional? Maybe even deranged? Why would so many of His followers believed His wacky claims and perpetuated them? I mean, maybe (very hard maybe!) I could convince myself that I'm Cleopatra, but I highly doubt I'd get anyone else to believe it too! So what gives? Was Jesus a lunatic? Looking at His skills in the way He taught, and the depth of His Words, He was completely sane. The fact that so many millions over the past two thousand years have followed Him, and even those who don't believe that He is God have paid so much attention to His Word, show that He is not a lunatic.He was not a liar, and not a lunatic. That leaves only one alternative. He is Lord.I know that He is Lord - the question He asks though, is "Who do you say that I am?"
Next time we'll look at whether Jesus is the Messiah, and How Is the Messiah also God?

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