I have heard sceptics say, that the Lord Jesus never claimed to be God. Muslims and humanists try to say he was a great teacher or a prophet. I agree with C. S. Lewis assessment of things. He had to be either a Liar, a Lunatic or the Lord – and you better decide which you believe fairly quickly or you will end up with that poached egg all over your face.
Our Gospel reading today is John 5:17-29. For all those who think he never claimed to be God – read it for yourselves. Jesus makes the statement that He Is co-equal with the Father. Jesus links Himself with the Father in the greatest issues of life:
- Verse 19 – He Is the Son and is doing what His Father does.
- Verse 20 - He Is the Son and His Father trusts and confides in Him totally.
- Verse 21 - He Is the Son and can raise from death, anyone he wants.
- Verse 22 - He Is The Son and has been given authority to judge sin.
- Verse 23 - He Is The Son Who Is deserving of equal honour with The Father.
- Verses 25 – 26 - He Is The Son Who like the Father has life in Himself, so that as the Son of God He will summon the dead to life.
- Verse 27 - He Is The Son to Whom the Father has given the authority to exercise judgement because He Is the Son of God.
Even before he spelled it out for them, the Jewish Pharisees knew exactly what he meant. He was claiming to be their Messiah – the Son of God and therefore claiming to be equal to God. As such he would have far more authority and power than they did, why should the people listen to them any more? They were being put on the spot, for they either had to recognize the stupendous nature of His claims and respond to Him, or dismiss them out of hand. The 3rd, 5th and 6th statements are inconceivable unless Jesus really is equal with God, while the rest bring out His uniqueness in the scheme of things, the 7th being Messianic.
Most chose not to believe him and to plot, plan and kill this threat to their power, a few of them stopped to think, the time is right, the Messiah was prophesied to appear at this time. What if he is telling the truth? Some of them truly loved and feared God more than their positions and they had to be sure, so some like Nicodemus, privately came to Him and found a truth they could hold on to for the rest of eternity.
So think hard if you haven't made up your mind – Liar, Lunatic or The Lord! But never JUST a great teacher or prophet.