I recently read a sad interview with a young man who had grown up in a Christian home but has since renounced his faith and become an atheist. When talking about Jesus, he said that he believed that Jesus was a good teacher and a good man. When I read that I thought, has this guy ever truly wrestled with the identity of Jesus? Does he really have the audacity to say that Jesus was a good teacher?
The reality is, Jesus was not a good teacher. No way. Just listen to the words that he said:
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)
“Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:54)
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” (John 7:37-38)
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
“You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:23-24)
C.S. Lewis famously said that Jesus is either the Lord, a liar, or a lunatic. Honestly, I don’t even think we can say that Jesus was a liar. Liars want to deceive people and to con them into believing something that isn’t true. Liars generally don’t make outlandish, ridiculous, “I can’t believe he said that” kind of claims. Liars spin their tales for the purpose of manipulating people and getting things out of people. Liars don’t usually invite people to eat their flesh and drink their blood. Liars want power and money. The things that Jesus said had the opposite effect.
The things that Jesus said about himself are so crazy that there are only two possibilities. He might be a total lunatic, possibly a schizophrenic. He might be the kind of guy who hears voices in his head, and is only able to function when he has high doses of Seroquel coursing through his body. He might belong in a mental institute, wrapped tight in a straight jacket so that he doesn’t hurt himself.
Or maybe he is the son of God.