Who Is Jesus? Was He a Liar?

In the last entry we looked at how the claims of Jesus, that He was God, polarized those who heard Him teach. They either worshiped and accepted Him or completely rejected Him. In addition, we briefly looked at the foundation of Josh McDowell’s book “More Than a Carpenter” that states Christ was a liar, lunatic, or God. In this entry we will look at the first possibility; was Christ a liar? Generally people lie for one of two reasons:

  • To avoid the consequences of one’s actions
  • To pass themselves off as something other than what they truly are

These are broad categories, but most people who lie fall into one of them. We can immediately cross off the “avoid the consequences” reasoning as Christ’s assertion that He was God actually caused Him great heartache. He was given the opportunity many times to simply admit that He was not God and He would have been left alone.

Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. Mark 14:60-65

This leaves us with the most likely reason that Christ would have for lying about His deity; He lied to promote Himself, gather a following, and earn notoriety. First, if Christ was looking to promote Himself as God and gather a following He went to the wrong people. The polytheistic gentiles in the region would have gladly accepted Him as God, especially considering the many signs that He performed. His claim to be God would not have been at odds with their belief system. The Jews, on the other hand, were monotheistic and accepting Christ as God was difficult because of a lack of understanding regarding the scriptures that discussed the coming Messiah and the nature of God as revealed in the Old Testament. Suffice it to say, without getting into an in depth theological discussion regarding the nature of God or the Trinity, if Christ was looking for followers and power He did not choose His audience very well. Secondly, Christ suffered for His assertion that He was God. He was beaten, spit upon, rejected, and ultimately put to death for His claim. The punishment that He was subjected to is difficult for us to comprehend, but many people who were crucified died from the beatings alone; well before they actually made it to the cross. Even His closest followers denied their relationship with Him for fear of suffering the same fate.

Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, “You also were with Jesus of Galilee.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are saying.” And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth.” But again he denied with an oath, “I do not know the Man!” And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, “Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you.” Then he began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know the Man!” Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” So he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:69-75

How could a person, who was in their right mind, withstand all that torture without once revealing that he/she was a fraud? This leaves us with the next of the three possibilities; was He a lunatic?

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