A Liar, A Lunatic OR The LORD


I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as 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 lunatic—on the 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 patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. . . . Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 55-56
Jesus teaching

Picture courtesy of lavistachurchofchrist.org

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:

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.