Summary: Jesus made some incredible claims. Was He crazy? A lunatic? A liar? Was He actually telling the truth and therefore should be viewed as Lord?
Liar, Lunatic or Lord?
Pt. 1 - Bread
Lie Detector Test
Have you ever dealt with someone who couldn't or wouldn't tell the truth? It is frustrating to say the least. Have you ever dealt with someone who was one fry short of Happy Meal? The wheel is spinning, but the hamster is dead. They are crazy. Most of us have dealt with folks like this, but have you ever stopped to think that there was a day when people thought these things about Jesus?
Mark 3:20-21 (NIV)?Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
John 8:48-49 (MSG)
The Jews then said, “That settles it. We were right all along when we called you a Samaritan and said you were crazy—demon-possessed!” Jesus said, “I’m not crazy. I simply honor my Father, while you dishonor me.
John 8:58-59 (NIV)
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.
The very family of Jesus and the religious leaders of the day, after hearing Jesus' claims about Himself, came to the conclusion that He was either a liar or a lunatic. This guy is coo coo for cocoa puffs! I think the most interesting of these exchanges is the one found in John because at the end Jesus makes this statement . . . "Before Abraham was born, I am!" This leads the religious folks to pick up rocks to kill Jesus on the spot. We hear Jesus' statement there and really never stop long enough to understand what just happened. Jesus uses the same phrase that God used when He spoke to Moses from the burning bush. Remember? Moses sees the bush and begins a discussion with the voice coming from the bush. He finally asks the voice what is your name? The voice, which was God, responds . . . "I am that I am!" In that moment God identifies Himself as I Am! This became so holy and such a point of reference for God that the Jews wouldn't even utter this name for God out loud. So, when Jesus makes this statement the leaders consider it blasphemy. Jesus is saying in no uncertain terms that He is God Himself. So, the leaders pick up rocks to kill this crazy man. However, because of how the Bible is translated, so that we can understand it, we fail to realize that Jesus has already made this same claim 7 other times prior to this exchange. It is those "I am" statements that made the people of His day wrestle with Jesus’ identity. We too need to wrestle with His identity. So, we are going to look at the 7 times that Jesus talks about Himself and like CS Lewis said . . .
"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 patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
? C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
So, let's begin. Listen to the conversation Jesus has after feeding the 5,000 with a boy's box lunch and after walking on water in the middle of the night. The people He had just fed rush to find Jesus on the other side of the lake. As soon as they arrive, they demand more miracles. The folks "asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do? Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
and then the crazy claim comes . . .
TEXT: John 6:35 (NIV)
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
We miss that the way Jesus would have said this in His native tongue which was "The bread of life . . . I am!"