Jesus claimed to be God. His claim must be either true or false, and everyone should give it the same kind of consideration he expected of his disciples when he put the question to them in Matthew 16:15.
If Jesus knew his claim was false, then he was lying and deliberately deceiving his followers. But if he were a liar, then he was also a hypocrite because he taught others to be honest whatever the cost. Worse than that, if he were lying, he was a demon because he told others to trust him for their eternal destiny. If he couldn’t back up his claims and knew it, then he was unspeakably evil for deceiving his followers with such a false hope. Last, he would also be a fool because his claims to being God led to his crucifixion—claims he could have backed away from to save himself even at the last minute.It amazes me to hear so many people say that Jesus was simply a good moral teacher. Let’s be realistic. How could he be a great moral teacher and knowingly mislead people at the most important point of his teaching—his own identity?
To conclude that Jesus was a deliberate liar doesn’t coincide with what we know either of him or of the results of his life and teachings. Wherever Jesus has been proclaimed, we see lives change for the good, nations change for the ¬better, thieves become honest, alcoholics become sober, hateful individuals become channels of love, unjust persons embrace justice.
Historian Philip Schaff says,”How in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an imposter—that is a deceitful, selfish, depraved man—have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? How could he have conceived and carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrificed his own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudices of his people and age?”*1
Someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught, and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar.
‘But what about you?’ he asked. ‘Who do you say I am?’Matthew 16:15
1. Philip Schaff, The Person of Christ (New York: American Tract Society, 1913), 94–95.
–Taken from More than a Carpenter by Josh McDowell