To me, as you read the gospels it’s obvious that Jesus claimed to be God. As you read the writings of the apostles, the disciples, the epistles, they truly believed Jesus was God in human flesh. When you read the writings of the early church fathers it become very clear that they truly believed He was God in human flesh.
And yet a lot of people today will say, “You know, no, no, no. He was just a good man. He was a good moral teacher. A good religious man.” Now wait a minute. You can’t say that about Christ when you take into consideration what He claimed about Himself.
Let me show you how I worked through that, and what helped me here were some things that C.S. Lewis taught in His writings. I call it the “trilemma” when it comes to the claims of Christ. So follow with me. It will take me several sessions to do this.
First, Jesus claimed to be God. Now there are two alternatives to that. His claims were either true, or His claims were false. If His claims were false, then there were two alternatives. One, He knew they were false or two, He didn’t know they were false. Now, if He knew His claims were false then that would have to mean He made a deliberate misrepresentation of who He was; then that would mean He was a liar. And if He was a liar, then that would mean He was a hypocrite. And if He was a hypocrite that would mean that He was a demon out of the pit of hell. And then that would have to mean he was a fool. Why? Because he went out and died for it.
Jesus claimed to be God. His claims could either be false or true. That dilemma leads to another dilemma – that His claims if they were false, 1) He knew that they were false or 2) He did not know they were false. That would mean that He was sincerely deluded — on the level of a man who would call himself a poached egg.
Now if He was deluded then it would have to mean that He was a lunatic. And if He was a lunatic, then isn’t it amazing the teaching of a lunatic accomplished more good than a sane person’s teaching ever has in history.