C. S. Lewis, in his book, Mere Christianity, said, “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. 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. … Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God,” (pg 54-56).
Several years ago, I heard a preacher paraphrase this quote in one of his sermons. I found it rather shocking. But it stayed with me.
Its logic cannot be refuted. There is no doubt that Jesus actually lived upon this earth. Ever since, however, a controversy exists about who He was. This man made outrageous statements that shocked and amazed people of that day. He said things like,
“’Believe in God; believe also in me. . . .
I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me,’” John 14:1, 6.
“’I am the resurrection and the life.
Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
and everyone who lives and believes in me
shall never die,’” John 11:25-26.
Outrageous! Right? His words still shock and amaze people today! But those of us who believe in Him, know them to be true.
Lunatic. Yes, if anyone but Jesus had made the same statements and claims that He did, we would consider them a lunatic—self-deluded, at best. Was Jesus a lunatic? Read the gospel accounts of His life, death and resurrection found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, then ask yourself that question. My conclusion is that Jesus was not a lunatic, but the sanest man who ever lived!
Liar. If He was sane—and therefore, not a lunatic—then perhaps He committed the most dastardly, large-scale fraud in history. Was He a fraud? A liar? Was His purpose in life to mislead the masses? I challenge you again to read the gospel accounts of His life before you answer that question. After a careful reading, I think you might agree with me that Jesus Christ was not a liar, but the most trustworthy man who ever lived!
LORD! If, then, Jesus was not a lunatic or a liar, there is only one possibility—that He was who He said He was! He was and is the Son of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
C. S. Lewis just might have been on to something when he wrote this argument. Shocking. But true.