Only 3 Choices


As many of us know, it is not sitting in a church or trying your best to be extra holy that makes someone a Christian. It is in fact accepting and trusting in the person and divinity of Jesus Christ himself. This is why the argument that so-and-so goes to church constantly, but treats everyone horribly ultimately breaks down. Someone may go to church, they may even believe in God - but it is possible they have not yet any faith in Jesus.

During my studies I have noted an argument that seems to have no refutation. It is one of those things where if someone attempts to circumvent it, it only means that they have failed to consider one of the premises in the original argument itself. I find this very effective at sharing the Good News of the Bible because it is a common-sense argument. Although I have not developed it myself (we must credit C.S. Lewis and some others for that), I find it to be quite enlightening. It goes as follows:

Premise #1
Jesus Christ was a real person. Not a human invention, not a mythical creature, not an after-the-fact story book character. This is evidenced by the overwhelming amount of original manuscripts found of the New Testament (more are in existence than for many of the other historical figures that we take for granted existed, i.e.: Plato or Aristotle for example). See my older post entitled "Is There Any Non-Biblical Evidence That Jesus Existed?" Wherein I discuss at length the writings of other people alive during the same time period as Christ. No, I'm afraid that almost no serious New Testament scholar attempts to state that Jesus never really existed.

Premise #2
First Choice: Jesus was a liar. Once we have come to terms with the fact that Jesus really existed, we must face our first decision. Regarding the information He was telling people during his 3 year ministry, we must decide "was He making it all up?" Maybe He was trying to get rich, trying to get famous, or simply trying to mooch free meals off of people by telling entertaining stories, right? Unfortunately records indicate He was poor, quite unpopular, and at times could be what may be constituted as 'self righteous.' But in both reading what He said, and watching what the people around him did, we can safely come to the conclusion that He wasn't a liar. If I went around pretending to heal people, would I generate much of a following? Probably not - chances are I would be found out soon enough. And don't forget - almost all of His 12 disciples went to their deaths upholding His preaching. Would you go to your death for a lie?

Premise #3
Second Choice: Jesus was crazy. Okay, so maybe he wasn't a liar. Maybe his followers didn't sacrifice themselves for something they knew was a lie. Maybe Jesus was actually straight up nuts! Whoops wait a minute. If we read the New Testament, we see that He has spoken some of the most meaningful philosophical statements in the last 2,000 years. We see that when it is appropriate to be angry, He gets angry. When it is appropriate to be sad, He is sad. I'm afraid we must discount the notion that he is insane. Have you visited the psych wing lately? Do any of those people say the things Jesus did? They may be delusional and think that they themselves are God, but something tells me they cannot actually forgive sins and heal people.

Premise #4
Third Choice: Jesus was telling the truth. If Christ wasn't a liar, and He wasn't off his rocker, then I'm afraid we are left with only 1 choice. He was telling us the truth. He actually was the Son of God. God actually does love us. We actually can be saved into Heaven. If we assert this truth (and believe me, I almost managed to live my whole life ignoring this predicament of logic), then we must necessarily take seriously the things He says.

Conclusion
I will leave you with this statement from C.S Lewis from his book Mere Christianity. About Jesus he writes, "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 a man who says he is a poached egg - or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool 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."

We must take the gift God has given us through the revelation of Jesus Christ through the New Testament. We are all open to make up our own minds. We can decide in favour of Christ, or we can (and many do) reject him. But at least do something. Do not allow yourself to ignore the most important occurrence in the history of the world.

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Comments

  1. I think there are quite a few reasons to think Jesus was if not a liar with nefarious intentions then at least he was mistaken about himself. First, the civilization at the time of Jesus was such that the coming of a messiah was an expectation, god(s) were considered to be in control of many environmental issues that we have since come to understand naturalistically and a claim to be the son of god was not such a radical notion as it is today. With this in mind, I'm sure jesus himself truly believed in his own divinity, and the fact that he had supremely devoted followers only points to the fact that he was an excellent orator and salesman (for the time). As is well known, there are a few similar stories of virginal birth, cruxifiction and subsequent ressurection which predate the story of Jesus. This leads me to think that Jesus' biographers were aware of such myths and easily adopted those stories into their accounts, an easily accomplished feat since none of the gospels were written until decades after Jesus lifetime and none by eyewitnesses. jewish tradition taught that a messiah was on the way, and as a jew, jesus could have easily been led to consider himself that messiah due to the fact that it was a cultural given that one was coming. David Koresch was not the second coming of Jesus, but ironically he and jesus probably had something in common, delusions of grandeur, grandeur not in the sense of material wealth and splendor but in the sense of universal kingship. I don't think Jesus was necessarily crazy, but he might have been. Psychological understanding was not back then what it is today. Perhaps he was both mistaken and a bit crazy, so perhaps there is a fourth choice to be offered. Regardless, for there to be a son of god, there has to be a god to begin with, and that is where I draw the line.

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  2. Good input, thanks! Remember although the coming of a messiah was expected in Jewish culture, he was expected to deliver them from all persecution and governmental rule. Jesus in no way fulfilled this expectation in the same way.

    As for the pre-dated resurrection accounts, I am assuming you are referring to Mithras and some others - all of which have been discovered to actually come after the Jesus accounts.

    Thanks for responding!

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  3. Lee Strobel is incorrect, there are more then 3 options.

    Jesus could have been a regular man who's life was exaggerated.

    I happen to be on the fence about Jesus being an actual historical person, but even if he was the New Testament texts are not enough to prove that he was indeed "lord".

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