Summary: This topical message examines the famous trilemma of C.S. Lewis and answers a very important question for our day.
Jesus Christ: Liar, Lunatic, Or Lord?
Who do you say that I am? Mark 8:29
Have you ever met anybody who said things about themselves that made you scratch your head & say, Coo-coo?” I remember a boyhood friend of mine named Greg who told me he was a robot from another planet. The sad thing is I believed him! Then it dawned on me one day; this guy is an 80lb weakling. Surely they make better robots than that.
Well, Jesus never claimed to be a robot from mars, but He did make some pretty outstanding statements about Himself. Have you ever thought about the claims which Jesus of Nazareth made for Himself? He said that the Father sent Him. He declared that He came down from God; that the words He spoke, God had actually given Him; and that everything He did, He did according to the commandment of God. He claimed that He would be the final Judge of the world. He even claimed that no man could come to God except through Him.
Jesus commanded His followers to believe in Him, love Him, obey Him, sacrifice for Him, worship Him, and, if need be, die for Him as they would for God. Now in the light of these assertions, what is one to think concerning Jesus Christ? The critical question Jesus put to those who followed Him was, "Who do you say I am?" The simple truth is that Jesus claimed to be God.As we face the claims of Christ, there are only three possibilities. He was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord.
1. Liar. One possibility is that Jesus Christ lied when He said that He was God. If He knew He was not God then He was also a hypocrite because He told others to be honest. And also He was a fool because it was His claims to being God that led to His crucifixion.
Jesus pointed to His works as proof of His divinity. During His ministry, Christ stilled the storms, walked on the water, healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, fed the hungry and raised the dead. Wherever the true message of Jesus has gone, new life, new hope, and new purpose for living have been the results. This gospel has not only converted individuals, it has also changed society. On every mission-field the message of Jesus has established standards of hygiene and purity; promoted industry; elevated womanhood; restrained anti-social customs; abolished cannibalism, human sacrifice and cruelty; organized famine relief; and changed the social structure of society. Jesus without writing a single line, He has set more pens in motion and furnished themes for more sermons, discussions, works of art, and songs of than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times. Born in a manger and crucified as a criminal, He now controls a spiritual empire that embraces one-third of the inhabitants of the globe. Jesus has accomplished more good for mankind than any one who has ever lived. If His claims are false, a lie has accomplished more good than the truth.
From the very outset of His ministry to its conclusion, Jesus constantly stated that He was the Son of God and the Savior of the world. Now, either those claims were true or they were false. If He is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, it is blasphemy and nonsense for us to talk about Him as a mere teacher. This is an option not left open to us. You must make your choice.
Was Jesus such a person? The closer one looks at the life of Jesus the more difficult it is to find abnormality and imbalance as found in deranged persons. Here we find meekness without weakness, holiness without hypocrisy, power without pride and arrogance, suffering without self-pity, success without self-seeking, love that knows no limit even in the face of death. If Jesus were crazy then I would to God that the whole world would be affected with His kind of insanity!
The only other alternative left open is that Jesus spoke the truth -- that He is who He claimed to be -- God in the flesh -- the God-Man -- the Savior and Lord of sinners. Your response to the question of Jesus Christ’s identity is vital. You simply cannot put Him on a shelf as a good man or a great moral teacher. He has not left that option open to you. Either He is who He claimed to be or He isn’t. Who is Jesus? A liar, a lunatic, or Lord? Your life upon this earth and for all eternity is affected by your answer to this question. The apostle John wrote, "these things have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you might have life in his name." Won’t you come face to face with His claims and embrace this Jesus of Nazareth as your personal Savior and Lord and find life in His name?