Jesus - Legend, Liar, Lunatic or Lord?
Jesus Christ is the most influential human being who has ever lived.
Quote from essay “One Solitary Life.”
“ Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put his foot inside a big city. He never travelled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He had no credentials but himself …Today he is the centrepiece of the human race. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.”
2,000 years after his birth, approximately 1/3 of the world’s population claim to follow him and other world religions respect him as a Spiritual Leader, whilst Atheists and Humanist philosophers respect the authority of his moral teaching.
“If Julius Caesar or Alexandra the Great were to come into the room, we would rise out of respect to them, but if Jesus Christ came into the room, we would bow down and worship Him”
Jesus Christ was unique in many ways.
Firmly based with historical evidence - No Legend. - 11-5 BC - 33 AD.
Unlike Hindu myths and stories. Herod The Great, Caiaphas The High Priest, Pontius Pilate the Roman Procurator were all well-known historical figures living at these times.
Non-Christian Ancient Historians.
Thalus - Samaritan - 52 AD. Refers to the darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion.
Josephus - Jew - Around 70 AD refers to Jesus, his good works, his death under Pilate and the report of his resurrection.
Tacitus - Roman - 112 AD refers to the death of Jesus under Pontius Pilate.
The New Testament
Written in 45 - 100 AD in the life-time of eyewitnesses, many of whom were ready to die for their testimony.
11 Peter 1:16 “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”
1 John 1:1 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim
concerning the word of life.”
His Character - Perfectly Good - No Liar
Testimony of His friends who lived with Him, (and would have witnessed unguarded moments).
1 John 3:5 “In Him is no sin.”
1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin and no deceit was found in His mouth.”
Challenge to His enemies;
John 8:46 “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?”
His Miracles, Power and Wisdom - No Lunatic
Helping the sick, casting out evil spirits, feeding more than 5,000 people with a few loaves and fish, walking on water, raising the dead.
Matthew 11:2-5 “When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask Him ‘Are you the one who was to come or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied ‘ Go back and report to John what you hear, and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the Good News is preached to the poor.’”
John 10:37-38 “Do not believe me unless I do what my Father does, but if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that Thy Father is in me, and I in the Father.”
His wisdom outwitted the cleverest Pharisees
For example they asked Him if it was right to pay taxes to the Romans, hoping to trap Him. If He said yes, then the crowd would not like Him for supporting the occupying Roman forces and if He said no, then the Roman Authorities could charge Him with insurrection. He asked for a coin and said “ Whose likeness is it on this coin?”, they said “Caesar’s” and so he said “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.”
His moral teaching is respected by scholars and philosophers, for example Mahatma Gandhi said that the greatest influence on his life had been the teaching of the New Testament.
His Claims - Lord
Mark 13:31 “Heaven and eart h will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”
John 11:25 “I am the resurrection and the life. he who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”
John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.”
Mark 2:5 “When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the Paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’”
Matthew 25:11-22 “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 from the goats.”
John 10:17-18 “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.”
John 14:9 “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
These are the claims of a devious, calculating, evil liar, or a complete mad man or God himself.
C. S. Lewis wrote:
“I am trying 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 mad man or something worse.