Teacher. Moral example. Good person.
These are common modern descriptions of Jesus, but we need to ask, what did Jesus say about Himself?
Although we may attempt to soften Jesus’ words or change His identity to be that of a mere teacher, if we take the New Testament seriously, we see that Jesus claimed to be God. There is simply no escaping that fact. As a result, we are faced with a choice. We can believe that Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. He also could have intended His statements to be taken mythically instead of literally, but the New Testament is clear that this is not so. Instead, He is the Lord of all, the One who graciously provided a way of salvation for sinners and gives us eternal life in Himself.
Jesus: Just a Liar or a Lunatic?
One attempt to discredit Jesus claims that He was a liar, that He knew He was not the Son of God but chose to pretend to be that in order to gain a following.
However, the integrity of His words and the example of His character demonstrate that He was not a liar. At the very least, He truly believed He was God, which would make Him a lunatic if He were not.
Once again, examining His life discredits this claim. There are no inconsistencies or imbalances in His life. There have been many people who claimed to be the Messiah, but their acts unmasked them for who they really were. Jesus, on the other hand, lived a perfect life, so much so that even those who do not believe in Him as Lord say to follow Him as a moral example.
Jesus: Lord of All
Because the other descriptions of Jesus do not fit what was recorded in the New Testament, we come to the conclusion that He is the Lord of all. Looking at His life, we see that He make many unique claims:
- Power to forgive sins
- Fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies
- Rise from the dead; raise all people
- Return and judge the world
- Exclusive way to salvation.
Not only are Jesus’ claims unique, but His life is also unique in that the way He lived backed up every one of these claims:
- Sinless life
- Unique character and teaching
- Fulfillment of hundreds of messianic prophecies
- Power to change lives
- Resurrection from the dead
Jesus authenticated His claims again and again, demonstrating His ultimate authority as Lord of all and as the Son of God.
Jesus: The Only Way of Redemption
Knowing that Jesus is the Lord brings us to the question, why did God choose to restrict redemption to belief in Jesus? Why can we not save ourselves through anything else?
From the beginning of the Bible, we see God’s plan at work. Despite our rebellion against Him, He chose to make a way of salvation. He formed a messianic line out of the Jews, choosing them not because of any greatness on their part, but because of His great mercy (Deuteronomy 7:7–8). He sent His prophets over and over again to proclaim the need for salvation to the people, but they did not listen (Jeremiah 25:4). Finally, He sent His Son, the Lord of all, and the people He came to save killed Him (Acts 2:36–38). Even so, God extended His mercy to these murderers, opening the way to the worst people by offering new life in Jesus (Acts 9:1–19).
Would you really say that this is not enough? God has given us everything. He did not need to provide a way of redemption at all, but instead He sent His own Son to die for us and bring us eternal life. Even though the way of salvation is narrow, Jesus Himself commissioned us to bring the message of salvation to everyone (Matthew 28:18–20). Despite the exclusivity of the way of salvation, then, Christianity is good news for those in need of hope. The Lord of all will gladly save you if you put your trust in Him.
Interested in learning more about the Bible and the Christian faith? Check out Ken Boa’s apologetics category on the website.