by Mark Herring
In the first part, we looked at the ways in which Jesus emphatically claimed to be God both directly and indirectly. Yet a sceptic could easily respond by saying: “Just because Jesus said all that doesn’t make it true.” So now we will look at the ways in which Jesus backed up his assertions.
Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?
The so-called “Lunatic, Liar, or Lord” argument picks up on this argument, most famously in the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 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 the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.”
(What would your choice be?)
Lunatic? Hardly. Look at the life of Christ and there is zero evidence of delusion. His wisdom, composure, consistency, and complete self-control all point to a person in full command of his senses.
Liar? Maybe Jesus deliberately deceived his hearers to give authority to his teaching. But to the point this would result in his own death? Come on. People may choose to die for something they believe to be true but isn’t. But nobody dies for something they know is a lie.
Of course, another alternative is that, over time, followers of Jesus put words into his mouth. But this doesn’t make sense either. The gospels were written within the lifetime of those who saw, heard, and followed Jesus. These accounts contained specific facts and descriptions confirmed by those who were eyewitnesses – and could have easily been disproved at the time.
Then we have the fact that Jesus backed up his words with actions.
Jesus didn’t just say he was God – and believe He was God. He had the credentials to back it up.
“Even though you do not believe me, believe the evidence of the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the Father is in Me, and I am in the Father.“
1. Jesus led a perfect life.
The quality of his life was such that he was able to challenge his enemies with the question, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?“ He was met by silence, even though he addressed those who would have liked to point out a flaw in his character.
This lack of any sense of moral failure is a complete contrast to the experiences of saints and mystics throughout the ages. The closer men and women draw to God, the more overwhelmed they are with their own failure, corruption, and shortcomings.
It is also striking that John, Paul, and Peter, all trained to believe in the universality of sin, spoke of the sinlessness of Christ: “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
2. Jesus performed miracles.
Jesus constantly demonstrated a power that simply broke through the limits of physical and natural laws. He cured the sick and the lame, the deaf and the blind. He walked on water, fed large crowds, raised the dead. And on one occasion that’s very close to my heart, He turned water into wine.
3. Jesus controlled nature.
Jesus also demonstrated a supernatural power over nature itself, walking on water and commanding a raging storm to be calm. “Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!”
4. Jesus easily outwitted the wise.
The most wise, the most experienced, and the most cunning experts in religious law attempted to trick Jesus time after time. They would have met and discussed the questions and hypotheses they could use to undermine Him in public. Yet on every occasion, Jesus effortlessly confounded their efforts with displays of wisdom that left them speechless.
5. And yes… Jesus rose from the dead.
The resurrection was the supreme evidence of deity. On several occasions Jesus clearly predicted that he would die, how he would be killed, and that three days after being buried he would rise from the dead. This really was the ultimate proof to his disciples that he was more than just a prophet or a wise teacher. He was their Lord. And he was their God.
Needless to say, this list would open up a Pandora’s box of bluster from beetroot-faced sceptics. But this isn’t the time or place to deal with them. (In previous blogs we’ve looked at solid arguments for most of the claims above: the accuracy of scripture, evidence for the resurrection and so on).
When all is said and done
Despite my friend’s spurious claims, and despite what many people continue to believe, the Bible clearly shows that Jesus claimed that He was God. Jesus believed He was God. And most importantly of all, Jesus proved He was God.