Jim Bramlett (19 Feb 2011)
"“Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?""


Insights
 
The newsletter of Jim Bramlett
 
“Liar, Lunatic, or Lord?
 
2.18.11
 
Dear friends:
 
One of my favorite stories is about the late Cambridge University professor and British author, C.S. Lewis.  You may have heard this before, but you will enjoy the reminder, and you may want to keep this to share later.  If you are unsure about the direction of your faith, this is your answer.
 
Lewis addressed the illogic and absurdity of those who dismiss Jesus as merely a great moral teacher and less than God.  He incisively concluded with these classic words:
“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things that Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic­on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg­or 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 on 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.”
 
To paraphrase Lewis: Considering the things that Jesus said about Himself, He would have to be a complete liar, a hopeless lunatic, or the exalted Lord, and there is no rational basis for the first two.
 
Each person must make his choice about Jesus: liar, lunatic, or Lord? One’s decision has eternal consequences. Do not make that decision lightly but only with the most serious deliberation of the facts.
 
Napoleon Bonaparte’s words summarize a prevailing view of Jesus:
“I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world is no possible term of comparison.”
 While truth does not always win the popularity contest and is really not dependent upon a poll or a vote, it is significant that data show in the world today there are more people who claim Christianity than any other religion. According to data from the U.S. Center for World Mission, in the year 2000, 33 percent of the world’s population claimed Christianity as their faith, a strong plurality, with second place going to Islam with only 19.6 percent. Hinduism was third with 13.4 percent, and Buddhism only had 5.9 percent.  Skewing the data is that in many cultures, such as Islamic,  religious faith is automatically identified with nationality, where deviance is a death sentence, and there is often no informed personal belief and commitment. Other religious cultures are often closed and repressive toward other beliefs. By contrast, typically in Christianized cultures there is relative freedom of religion and expression. The true God gives liberty to accept or reject Him, whereas man-made religions typically do not­it is “believe as we say” or else persecution, or even “off with your head.”
 
Critical distinctions
 
There are great distinctions between Yeshua, or Jesus, and all others who are considered “religious founders,” even though Jesus did not come to start a religion, but to reveal God, His love, and His plan. Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.  Three distinctions which stand out are:
 
1.  Jesus’ life was predicted in advance
, and in considerable detail.  This amazing fact authenticated His identity and claims. This has happened to no other person, ever.
 
3.  Jesus claimed to be God
. No other religious founder ever made such a claim. Most were not even trying to start a “new religion.”  Hinduism did not even have a founder, but evolved from local practices and foreign invaders. Some say that Hinduism is not even a religion and impossible to define because it stands for everything and thus for nothing. Japan’s Shintoism, which saw the Emperor Hirohito as God, was discredited when Japan lost World War II, causing Hirohito to disavow his deity.  Islam’s Mohammed did not claim to be God.
 
4.  Jesus claimed to be “the Way.”
The others generally tried to describe what they thought was a way. Lao Tzu (Taoism) recognized an ultimate truth but admitted he could not define it (but strangely referred to it as a “Son”). K’ung Fu-tzu (Confucious) never really intended to start a religion but only to outline an ethical system.  Buddhism is primarily an ethical system. Its founder, Siddhartha Gautama, like the others, never claimed to be divine or even to have divine revelation. But overzealous followers later deified him. Jesus summarized all valid ethics in just one word­love, a concept He was sent to personify. He also said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”
 
5.  Jesus was resurrected, leaving an empty grave
. The others, like all humans, died and remained dead. Even though Buddhism’s founder, Gautama, died about four centuries before Jesus was born, parts of his body, such as hair and teeth, are still preserved and enshrined.
 
BOTTOM LINE:  Jesus is Lord! 
 
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist” (Colossians 1:15-17).
 
Jim
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The above is excerpted from my book, The Top Ten Mysteries of the Bible (PublishAmerica, 2006), available from book sellers or free online at my Web site below.
 
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Jim’s main Web site is at www.choicesforliving.com .  His two latest books are available free online on the main page.