Lunatic, Liar, or Lord?

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29 June, 2018

Jesus Christ is arguably the greatest person who has ever lived. He divides history itself into BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, Latin for the year of Our Lord). Most people concede Jesus was a great teacher. All the world religions revere him as a great prophet. Even Humanists admire his teachings of equality, love, forgiveness and humility. 

One of the most obvious things we learn from the gospels is Jesus’ authority. The gospels say that Jesus’ authority as a teacher was unique. Unlike the other spiritual leaders of his day, he never quoted others to draw on someone else’s credibility. He just simply said on the strength of his own authority “I tell you…”

It wasn’t just His teaching. He had authority to heal physical diseases, to cast out demons, to command even the physical elements themselves, to even raise the dead! Jesus actually claimed for himself the very highest authority. He claimed to be God.

There is a very significant story almost at the beginning of Mark where He is confronted with a man paralysed. Everyone expected him to heal the man, but instead he forgives the man’s sins. The religious leaders had problems with this, though apparently they wouldn’t have had a problem if he had healed the man, but they thought that he was blaspheming because only God can forgive people their sins. Jesus knew this caused them a problem. That’s why he said it. He waited for their reaction, then explained to them it was because he wanted them to know who he really was he held back before healing the man. Then he dramatically heals the man completely of his paralysis… “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. ‘

We don’t have to accept this story to know that Jesus claimed to be God. There were many such claims, for which the Jewish leaders sought to kill Him. It was for this very reason they eventually did. The record is clear. He claimed to be God! What do we do with such a claim?

Maybe He actually believed He was God, but was delusional. In that case he was a lunatic.

Maybe he wasn’t mad, and knew that he was really just a man. Then he was deceiving people — passing himself off to the vulnerable and impressionable as something he knew he wasn’t. In that case he was a liar.

But it is hard to reconcile someone who has had the most profound influence on morality as being such a liar, and luring millions of followers into persecution and martyrdom for what he knew to be a lie. It is equally impossible for Jesus (whose wisdom credits him as being the greatest teacher in history), to be written off as a lunatic.

So if he wasn’t a liar or a lunatic, there is only one possibility left — He is Lord — just as he claimed.

More From 'Meet Jesus'

How Can I Meet Him?

Listen to what Jesus says…

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” — Matthew 11:28-30 

“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’” — John 3:5-7

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” — John 5:24

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:37-38

“Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” — John 4:14

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” — Revelation 3:20

Believe in the Lord Jesus… that is trust in, cling to, and rely on him. He will do something incredible within you. His own spirit —the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that raised Him from the dead — will transform you from the inside out, giving you a new nature — his own nature — making you a brand new person — being born all over again with Jesus nature! Forgiven cleansed and empowered to live the way you were meant to!

This is what these verses say. This is his promise to you today! What a Saviour!

You can receive Him today. Right where you are. Right now. Is there anything stopping you from praying a prayer like the one below?

“Lord Jesus, I know you love me. I know you died for me. I know you paid for all my sin. You know I can’t deal with the sinfulness of my heart myself. I come to you as you told me to. And I ask you to forgive me. Come into my life. I am sick of the person I am. Come into my heart. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Give me your spirit to change me on the inside into what you are like. I believe you rose from the dead to give me life, and I trust you now to keep your promise, not because of anything in me, but because I know you are faithful. Thank you for loving me, and for all these things that you have guaranteed to do. Amen.”

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Am I Good Enough?

Suppose you were to die, and you found yourself face to face with God, and He asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven with me?” What would your answer be? 

We have surveyed many people with this question. Though it can be answered a thousand ways, every response falls into two basic categories. In fact, more than nine out of ten are basically the same.

Most people’s answers focus on their own merit. We try to find something in ourselves that might redeem us. We might look at good things we might have done, at our motives and intentions, or our desires. We might compare ourselves with others or look at things we didn’t do or temptations we resisted; good deeds, generous thoughts, religious acts etc. “I never tried to hurt anyone.” “I tried to do my best.” I kept the golden rule.” ” I never murdered anyone.” “Even though I’ve done things I’m ashamed of, I didn’t mean to do wrong.” “I am a product of my environment.”

But who can measure up to God’s standard? Very few people face the truth that compared to God, who is Holy, perfectly loving, and who is perfect Light, we are not able to come into His presence. Very few people acknowledge the deep depravity the hides within the human heart.

The truth is that human history proves beyond doubt, what God’s word says about us,“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” The worst evil in human history is committed consistently by average ordinary people. The worst obscenities in human history are repeated over and over again, as a whole, by people from all walks of life who loved their wives and kids, and cried when their pets died. Given the right circumstances, the right conditioning, the right culture, any of us could have been guards in the concentration camps. This is what Jesus said about you and me.

“For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.” — Mark 7:21-23

That’s why we need him; not just to forgive us, not just to bear our punishment in our place only, but to change our hearts. The Old Testament promised that one day He would come to do exactly that!

“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” — Ezekiel 36:25-27

That’s exactly what Jesus does for us when we come to him — in grace — freely and totally undeserved!

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world… All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” — Ephesians 2:1-10

The good news of Jesus is that when we trust him, he forgives us and makes us new — inside! Good works can’t save us, but when He saves us good works come as a result of that change!

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