When you boil everything down to the essential elements, you are left with the person of Jesus. Who was He? His human life on earth spanned a mere 30-ish years, and yet the impact of that short time on our planet has been without parallel in human history. Why? What was it about Jesus that caused such a stir? As C.S. Lewis famously wrote,
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. (Mere Christianity, 55-56)
Lewis clearly elucidates the dilemma faced by those trying to figure out, “Who was this Jesus?” We are left with what was termed thetrilemma,by a 19thcentury preacher named John Duncan.
1. Jesus intentionally deceived humanity by conscious fraud.
2. Jesus was, himself, deluded or deceived.
3. Jesus was Divine.
Another possibility exists. There is the possibility that the Jesus we read about in the Biblical narratives are legendary or “made up,” by the writers. When examining the 4 Biblical narratives describing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, we read incredible accounts of things that surely include things that are unusual and hard to believe. However, these accounts also contain things that are messy and don't seem like things that someone trying to create a character would include. For example:
So, we come back to the question of Jesus' identity and it seems that the trilemma gives us our only choices.
Let me know your thoughts.
Each day we go into the world with the opportunity to make an impact. Each person whose paths cross ours matters. Lives intersect for a reason. I believe there is One who directs our steps to these sometimes seemingly random meetings. My goal for these encounters is that I make a difference. That is my desire for those who venture across my blog. I hope you are blessed and it makes a difference for you.