Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

"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 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 patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity  

Great Moral Teacher?

Many today say that Jesus wasn't God. They say that he was a great guy, a good teacher. Someone we should emulate, but not consider God. I've even heard people say that if Jesus knew that people today were worshiping him, he would roll over in his grave.

Most other religions think this sort of thing. Buddhists say he was enlightened. Muslims say he was a prophet.

The problem is, that is not an option. If you are going to believe that he actually existed based on the accounts about him, then you have to believe what those accounts say he said about himself. And unlike those saying he would roll over in his grave, he seemed to think that it was okay to worship him. In fact, he treated that as the proper response.

Thomas

Take the Apostle Thomas as an example. We see this account in John 20. Jesus appears to him after he refused to believe the other disciples. And when Thomas touches Jesus' scars and realizes that is was in fact raised from the dead he says to Jesus, "My Lord and my God." At that point, Jesus did not rebuke him, he just let it happen. He accepted the title of God.

Many Other Examples

We could cover example after example of times that Jesus claimed to be God, accepted the title of God, or did things that only God could do.

Here are just a few things that he did: claimed to forgive sins, called himself the Son of Man (This phrase came from a prophecy in Daniel about the Messiah. All of the Jews would have recognized this as a claim to divinity.), and accepted worship.

He Was Crucified for It

We know that he claimed not only because of the things I've already mentioned, but also because he was crucified. The reason given for his crucifixion was blasphemy. He was crucified because he claimed to be God. If he didn't claim to be God there would be no reason to crucify him.

You Have to Pick One

Now what conclusion can we draw from that? I think C.S. Lewis had it right. Jesus did not leave the option of great moral teacher open to us. If he claimed to be God, which he did, then he was either a lunatic (meaning no one should follow him), a liar (meaning he was not that moral of a person, considering his deceit of so many), or he was Lord and God. And in that case, he should not just be regarded as a great moral teacher, he should be worshipped.

It's your choice. You have to pick one. I think the evidence points to Lord and God, but you have to make the decision for yourself. But just know, the option of great moral teacher is not on the table.

Question to think about and discuss:

What other examples can you think of where Jesus claimed to be God?

Another Thought on Diversity in the Church

Diversity at Starbucks and the Church