Considering the grandiose nature of the claims Jesus made for Himself, He was either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. C.S. Lewis, the famous British apologist of Cambridge University wrote:
“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 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. 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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity, 1952)
In considering the possibility that Christ was little more than an accomplished liar, renowned biblical historian Philip Schaff wrote: “How in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an impostor 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 of His people and the ages?” (The Person Of Christ, pp. 94-95)
Was Jesus a lunatic who sincerely viewed Himself as God incarnate? Such a view rarely has been entertained by anyone who is familiar with His life and teachings.
“Is such an intellect—clear as the sky, bracing as the mountain air, sharp and penetrating as a sword, thoroughly healthy and vigorous, always ready and always self-possessed—liable to a radical and most serious delusion concerning His own character and mission? Preposterous imagination!” (Schaff, 97-98)
Would a raving lunatic teach that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us? Would a lunatic teach that we should pray for our enemies? Would a lunatic teach that we should “turn the other cheek,” and then set an example of exactly how to do that—even unto death? Would a lunatic present an ethical/moral code like the one found within the text of the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5, 6, 7)? Absolutely not! Lunacy of the sort ascribed to Christ by His detractors does not produce such genius.
If Jesus was not a liar or a lunatic then He must be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He was and is exactly Who He claimed to be. What evidence establishes Christ’s deity? Among other things, it includes:
- His fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Lk. 24:44-48),
- His confirmation of His Sonship via the miracles He performed (John 14:5-11),
- His crucifixion and subsequent resurrection (Matt. 28:1-7),
- And His post-resurrection appearances (I Cor. 15:1-8).
Phillip Brooks wrote the following tribute: “Here is a man who was born in an obscure village … the child of a peasant woman … He grew up in another obscure village … worked in a carpenter’s shop until He was thirty … and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher … He never wrote a book … never held an office … never went to college … never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born … never did one of the things that usually are associated with greatness … While He was still a young man the tide of public opinion turned against Him … His friends ran away … one of them denied Him … He was turned over to His enemies … He went through the mockery of a trial … He was nailed to a cross between two criminals … His executioners gambled for the only piece of property that He owned, His coat … When He was dead He was laid in a borrowed tomb through the pity of a friend … Nineteen centuries have come and gone and today He is the centerpiece of the human race and the leader of the column of progress … I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as THAT ONE SOLITARY LIFE.”
What do you think of Christ? If Jesus wasn’t God, then as Josh McDowell so well stated, He deserves an Oscar for His performance. (The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict, pp. 137) In spite of the fact that Jesus had no formal rabbinical training (John 7:15), and possessed no material wealth (Luke 9:58, 2 Cor. 8:9), He turned the world upside down with His teachings. He gave Himself, as a ransom, for all mankind, rose from the dead and now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords.