NOTE: This article is part of our series called ‘Honest Questions’, which seeks to aid those on a spiritual journey to work through some of the biggest questions and obstacles to faith. You can read our introduction to the series here.

AN HONEST QUESTION

“I think Jesus is pretty important. He was probably a great man and a wise teacher – maybe even an amazing healer. But it’s just too far-fetched to conclude that he was God!”

It would be easiest for us if Jesus were simply a great teacher. We could learn about life from him; but when we think we know better, we could ignore him.

WHO ARE YOU?

It’s only fair to take seriously what Jesus said about himself. Once Jesus was talking to a group of people who were descended from a man called Abraham who had lived 1800 years before. When they asked if he had seen Abraham, Jesus said: “Before Abraham was born, I AM” (John 8:58).

I AM was God’s name for himself, the name he had told people to call him by. Here, Jesus says it’s his name. Jesus says he’s older than Abraham. So in calling himself I AM, Jesus claimed to be the eternal God.

WHAT HE CAN’T HAVE BEEN

And that means Jesus can’t just have been a great teacher.

Imagine you’re back at school, and your favourite math teacher says “2+2=6”. Now he can’t just be a good teacher. He’s either in charge of the whole of mathematics, so he can write the rules, or he’s making this up to fool you; or he’s making a terrible mistake.

Whichever it is, he can’t be just a great teacher!

It’s the same with Jesus – but with higher stakes. Because Jesus claims to be God, he must be one of these:

  • A liar: deliberately trying to fool us
  • A lunatic: mistakenly thinking he is God
  • The Lord: God himself, and so a great teacher, but not just a great teacher.

YES, BUT…

“Does it really matter who I think Jesus was? Surely as long as I’m good, I’ll go to heaven anyway?

“So Christians believe Jesus is God. What did he have to say about what the point of life is?

RESOURCES for FURTHER STUDY

Thanks to the internet, we have an incredible number of resources at our fingertips. In an abundance of information, however, the challenge is often finding the right thing to study. With this in mind, we’ve curated this list of articles and videos for you as you continue your investigation into the topic explored in this article.

Author

  • Timothy Berry

    Tim and Renske met and were married in Toulouse, France. They have three wonderful children: Matthijs, Anouk, and Jaana. Before planting City Church Wolverhampton, they served at Mendham Hills Community Church in Chester, NJ as the Pastor of Worship Arts. Tim is ordained by the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA).