Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jesus: Liar, Lunatic or Lord


In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, "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 a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool 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 human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

Jesus could only have been one of four things: a legend, a liar, a lunatic--or Lord and God. There is so much historical and archeological evidence to support his existence that every reputable historian agrees he was not just a legend. If Jesus were a liar, why would he die for his claim, when he could easily have avoided such a cruel death with a few choice words? And, if he were a lunatic, how did he engage in intelligent debates with his opponents or handle the stress of his betrayal and crucifixion while continuing to show a deep love for his antagonists? Christ said he was Lord and God. The evidence supports that claim.

The Claims of Jesus

Jesus claimed to live a sinless life
Jesus could look at a crowd of people angry at his claims to share God's nature and ask, "Which of you can point to anything wrong in my life?" Even more amazing is that none of them could give a reply! No human being has ever lived a sinless life, except for Jesus Christ.

John 8:28-29 "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'"

John 8:46-47 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God
Not one of several ways, but the one and only way. Not to teach the way, but to be the way to God. Nobody has ever made claims like that before and backed them, but Jesus did through his love, balanced life, and miracles.

John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

Matthew 11:27 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

No other world religious leader, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed ever claimed to be the truth, only Jesus did.

Jesus claimed to have shared the glory of God in Heaven
Jesus claimed to have pre-existed the people he spoke with. The apostle John--who shared bread with Jesus--wrote that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and that "all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being." (John 1:1-5)

John 17:5 "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

This is a claim distorted by groups like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jesus Christ claimed to be able to forgive sins
One of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were so angry with Jesus was his continual practice of forgiving people's sins. The religious leaders understood clearly that since sins were rebellion against God Himself, only God could forgive sins.

Luke 5:20-21 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.' The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"(emphasis: web author)

Luke 7:48-49 "Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'"

Christ claimed to be a Heavenly king
Luke 22:69 "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

Luke 23:1-3 "Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, 'We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.' So Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied."

John 18:36-37 "Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' 'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.'"

Christ claimed to be able to give everlasting life
Jesus didn't just tell people how they could find everlasting life, or deepen their own life experience. He actually claimed to give life himself.

John 6:40 "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6:47 "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 10:28-30 "I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...'"

Jesus claimed that he would die and come back to life
John 10:17 "Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

John 12:32-33 "'But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."

John 16:16 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

Luke 18:31-33 "Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up into Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'"

Christ claimed that he would return again to judge the world
Matthew 24:27-30 "So as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man... At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats."

Mark 14:61-62 "Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' 'I am,' said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"

Jesus claimed to be God
John 8:57 - 59 So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

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.'"

http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/english/claims.htm


In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?

We are living in a time when you can believe anything, as long as you do not claim it to be true. In the name of “tolerance,” our postmodern culture embraces everything from Eastern mysticism to New Age spirituality. But as Ravi Zacharias points out, such unquestioning acceptance of all things spiritual is absurd. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.

Jesus Among Other Gods provides the answers to the most fundamental claims about Christianity, such as:

Aren’t all religions fundamentally the same? Was Jesus who He claimed to be? Can one study the life of Christ and demonstrate conclusively that He was and is the way, the truth, and the life?

In each chapter, Zacharias considers a unique claim that Jesus made and then contrasts the truth of Jesus with the founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with compelling insight and passionate conviction. In addition to an impressive breadth of reading and study, he shares his personal journey from despair and meaninglessness to his discovery that Jesus is who He said He is.

“In Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that he is one of the most intellectually gifted as well as spiritually sensitive writers of today’s leading apologists for the Christian faith. Zacharias brings alive the unique power of the claims of Jesus about himself and the utter relevance of his message today for the human condition.”

 — David Aikman, author of Great Souls

http://knizky.mahdi.cz/03_Ravi_Zacharias___Jesus_among_other_gods.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaIBoARTGPk

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