Ask yourself this question: “What do I think of Jesus Christ?” The renowned atheist-turned-theist and Christian philosopher, C.S. Lewis, claimed we only have three options when it comes to answering that question:
“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 a 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. 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 patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” (Mere Christianity, p. 52)
It is difficult to deny Mr. Lewis’ logic. It seems there are very few reasonable people who would deny the moral uprightness and pedagogy of Jesus Christ. However, many of these same people do not consider themselves Christians. In fact, many of them do not claim to believe in God at all. There appears to be an inconsistency here, or at least a misunderstanding.
Let us come back to our question. What do you think of Jesus? Which one is it? Is Jesus a liar? If so, he is not morally upright. Is Jesus a lunatic? If so, then what He taught has no basis in reality and should be rejected. In either of these cases, one cannot reasonably call Him a “good moral teacher.”
Or could it be that He is Lord? This is the question that makes us uncomfortable because if “He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all.” The term “lord” means “someone having power and authority.” Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). If Jesus is Lord, then He has ultimate authority over our lives here and in the life to come. As has been true since Jesus walked the earth, this conclusion either attracts mankind to or repels mankind from Him.
There does not appear to be any defensible middle ground when it comes to what we think of Jesus. We either reject Him — because He is a liar or lunatic — or revere Him as Lord. There are eternal implications if Jesus is who He said He is. This piece is an invitation to inquiry. I hope and pray all will carefully consider and test the claims made by Jesus as set forth in His Word.
Torrey Clark is the preacher for the church of Christ Northside (www.churchatlagrange.org) and host of the weekly Christian worldview talk show, Culture Shock (www.thelightnetwork.tv/shows). Clark may be reached at email@example.com or 706-812-9950.