One of my favorite authors is C. S. Lewis. He wrote one of my favorite series “The Chronicles Of Narnia.” He also wrote a book called “Mere Christianity” in which he set out to “explain and defend the belief that has been common to nearly all Christians at all times” and provides a rational case for the Christian faith. Since I have referenced one of C. S. Lewis’ most famous quotes several times in the past couple of weeks; I thought that I would share it with you…
What is your view of Jesus? Most historians agree that Jesus actually existed; which knocks out the theory some people have that Jesus did not exist. Jesus is by far one of the most influential people who ever lived. Approximately 2,000 years after his life; there are approximately 2.1 billion people who believe in Christianity. The Bible is the most sold and published book ever. More books have been written about Jesus than any other person in history. More people mention his name (whether in reverence or in swear form) than any other person. If you do not believe that Jesus Christ is God; then I wonder if you have ever actually thought about who Jesus is to you? Was he a good man? A good teacher? A good prophet? Or was and is Jesus Christ actually God as he claimed to be? According to C. S. Lewis; Jesus didn’t leave us many options to choose from:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: ‘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 a 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 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 option open to us. He did not intend to.”
I found an awesome article that describes the above quote better than I ever could. I have copied most of the article below. You can see the full article and many more great articles at Got Questions?org. I have also included in Bible order (at the end of this post) all of the scripture that is referenced in the article.
“So, who did Jesus claim to be? Who does the Bible say He is? First, let’s look at Jesus’ words in John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.” At first glance, this might not seem to be a claim to be God. However, look at the Jews’ reaction to His statement, “‘We are not stoning you for any of these,’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’” (John 10:33). The Jews understood Jesus’ statement as a claim to be God. In the following verses, Jesus never corrects the Jews by saying, “I did not claim to be God.” That indicates Jesus was truly saying He was God by declaring, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). John 8:58 is another example: “‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’” Again, in response, the Jews took up stones in an attempt to stone Jesus (John 8:59). Jesus’ announcing His identity as “I am” is a direct application of the Old Testament name for God (Exodus 3:14). Why would the Jews again want to stone Jesus if He had not said something they believed to be blasphemous, namely, a claim to be God?
John 1:1 says “the Word was God.” John 1:14 says “the Word became flesh.” This clearly indicates that Jesus is God in the flesh. Thomas the disciple declared to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Jesus does not correct him. The apostle Paul describes Him as, “…our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). The apostle Peter says the same, “…our God and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:1). God the Father is witness of Jesus’ full identity as well, “But about the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom.’” Old Testament prophecies of Christ announce His deity, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
So, as C.S. Lewis argued, believing Jesus to be only a good teacher is not an option. Jesus clearly and undeniably claimed to be God. If He is not God, then He is a liar, and therefore not a prophet, good teacher, or godly man. In attempts to explain away the words of Jesus, modern “scholars” claim the “true historical Jesus” did not say many of the things the Bible attributes to Him. Who are we to argue with God’s Word concerning what Jesus did or did not say? How can a “scholar” two thousand years removed from Jesus have better insight into what Jesus did or did not say than those who lived with, served with, and were taught by Jesus Himself (John 14:26)?
Why is the question over Jesus’ true identity so important? Why does it matter whether or not Jesus is God? The most important reason that Jesus has to be God is that if He is not God, His death would not have been sufficient to pay the penalty for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). Only God could pay such an infinite penalty (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus had to be God so that He could pay our debt. Jesus had to be man so He could die. Salvation is available only through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus’ deity is why He is the only way of salvation. Jesus’ deity is why He proclaimed, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).”
I have shared the C. S. Lewis quote with people who are not Christians several times. Most of them believed that Jesus really did exist based on history but they did not share my belief that Jesus is God. After sharing the quote most of those people still held that Jesus was was not God. One person said that just because he is not God it doesn’t make him a bad person. Some truly believe that Jesus is actually a liar or lunatic.
What the above article does not define is: What is a liar or a lunatic?
A liar is defined as “a person who tells lies.” The synonyms for a liar include: cheat, con artist, deceiver, deluder, dissimulator, equivocator, fabler, fabricator, fabulist, false witness, falsifier, fibber, maligner, misleader, perjurer, phony, prevaricator, promoter, storyteller, and trickster.
A lunatic is defined as “a person who is crazy, mad.” The synonyms for a lunatic include: crackpot, crank, cuckoo, demoniac, flake, fruitcake, kook, lamebrain, loon, maniac, neurotic, nut, paranoid, psycho, psychopath, psychotic, scatterbrain, schizophrenic, sociopathic.
If it were true that Jesus Christ was either a liar or a lunatic; it would make 2.1 billion people deceived (including myself). I personally would not want to knowingly follow a liar or a lunatic on any level. The great thing about Jesus is that because he is God; he was capable of being sinless. That gives him the power to fully pay my price and forgive my sins against God and against other people. I place my hope in what I think is the most logical view of Jesus: Jesus Christ Is God!
Scripture used in the article above:
Exodus 3:14 “God said to Moses, “I am who I am . This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 8:58-59 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.”
John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
John 10:33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Titus 2:13 “while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ”
2 Peter 1:1 “Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours”
1 John 2:2 “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”