Many people have opinions about Jesus: a moral teacher, good man, community leader, God, and many others. The author C.S. Lewis once said about Jesus, “You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God.” But why did this intelligent man make such a polarising statement? Jesus’ claims give insight as to why Lewis said these things. If the average person made the following claims, they would certainly be described as crazy! But what if they are true?
To have existed before the world began and created everything. John 1
To be able to give eternal life (to live forever). John 3:16
To be able to forgive sins (anything people do that is wrong). John 5:20-21
To be without sin (to be perfect). John 8
That he would die and be brought back to life. John 10:17
To be king of a heavenly kingdom. John 18:36-37
Jesus knew that people would have many ideas about who he was. Even his closest followers discussed the different opinions people talked about, but Jesus interrupts them and directly asks, “Who do you say I am?” [emphasis added]. This is one of the most important questions in history and one which we all must consider and answer. If he is God, then we must fall at his feet. If he is a lunatic, then he needs to be shut up and disregarded. It is important to make our own decision.
So, who do you think Jesus is? I’m really asking.
Let’s unpack the person of Jesus a little further. History remembers great people; those who have spent their lives bringing liberty, justice, wisdom, peace and progress in various forms. By these standards, Jesus was also a great man. He spoke widely on these issues and brought social change. However, Jesus is incomparable to other great people, because he had a mission and achieved more than anyone else could.
Jesus’ mission was to save all of humanity from their brokenness and reunite them forever with God. But how was this possible? Jesus chose to take all the punishment people deserved for all the sins (wrong behaviour/thoughts) they ever committed. The punishment had to be death. Three days after he died God raised him back to life. By receiving the punishment we deserved, Jesus could reconcile us to God. Jesus’ mission is incomparable; he found a way to save the world from their brokenness and sin.
Jesus achieved his mission, and therefore through him, everyone can receive eternal life (that is, to live forever). Even though Jesus was God, he wasn’t able to do this simply by clicking his fingers. His achievement is so monumental partly because of the sacrifices he made to make it happen. Jesus left heaven, a place perfection, and came to a broken world with pain, suffering and hardship. He did this to save the world. His achievement is incomparable because through acute suffering and forgoing his right to be in heaven, he was able to pull off an unparalleled rescue and enable people to live forever with their God.
So what if Jesus’ claims are true? Is he God who rescued and unites us eternally to God? Is he that great? Or is he a lunatic, who did some good, but ultimately we should ignore him for being a fool?
- To learn more about the life of Jesus read any of the four biographies about his life found in the bible. They are called Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (named after the author of the account, as opposed to who the biography is about, which they are all about Jesus).
For deeper consideration about the case for Christianity, read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis