It’s pretty common these days to hear a statement like this: “Now, I don’t buy into the idea that Jesus was literally the Son of God, but I’ll admit some of His teachings were good. He isn’t a Deity, but He had some decent ideas about how to live.”
Well, C.S. Lewis had something to say about that.
“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 a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”
Jesus said resolutely, absolutely, that He was the Son of God. He boldly forgave sins with the authority that only a Deity has. He made outrageous claims, He did outrageous things. He called for outrageous action– leave your fishing boats, leave your unburied dead, give away all your possessions, leave the dishes in the kitchen, walk out on the water– Come to Me. He claimed that He was the only way to eternal life.
His entire ministry was extreme. He was controversial, because with Him, it was all or nothing.
It still is.
You can’t take a little bit of Jesus. You can’t customize your faith to fit your favorite philosophies. There’s no option to take a little “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “judge not, lest you be judged” and leave out “I and the Father are one”, or “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
There’s no middle ground with Him. No straddling the fence. He wasn’t Buddha, or Confucius. He didn’t call mankind to follow a way of life… He called mankind to follow HIM, the Person, the Son. There is a difference. Someone once put it this way:
Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.” Jesus said, “Who convicts me of sin?” Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.” Jesus said, “Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.”
He is It. The Answer. The Passage. The Key. The Everything. He is why we are, why we exist. He’s the beginning and the end of every burning question about humanity’s presence on this rock spinning in space. He’s not a suggestion, an option, an alternative, a consideration. He’s not a chapter in Religious Studies. He’s not a motivational speaker, a prophet, or a mere historical figure.
He is the Great I Am.
He’s called us to believe nothing less than that. If we do, if we call Him Lord and Savior, then we have found All. And if we call Him anything else, then in the end, we have found Nothing.