Jesus never wrote a book, held an office, had a family, owned a house, or went to college. He never did any of the things we usually associate with greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. But Jesus remains the central figure of the human race. Nothing in the world has ever affected humanity so much as Jesus. So who is He?
In Mark 3 we find two popular opinions of Jesus.
And the multitude cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils. (Mark 3:20-22)
The first opinion people had of Jesus was a madman. The second is that he was a tool of Satan. This presents us with the Great Trilemma: either Jesus was a lunatic, or a demonic liar, or He was God.
In his famous book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “I’m trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really silly thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That’s the one thing we mustn’t say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said wouldn’t be a great moral teacher. He’d either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he’s a poached egg – or else he’d 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 at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord & God. But don’t let us come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He hasn’t left that open to us.”
What did Jesus claim for Himself? I found at least 5 claims:
1. Jesus claimed a sinless life.
John 8:28-29 “So Jesus said, ‘When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.’”
2. Jesus claimed to be the ONLY way to God.
John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.”
3. Jesus claimed to forgive sins.
Luke 7:48-49 “Then Jesus said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ The other guests began to say among themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’”
4. Jesus claimed to be a Heavenly King.
John 18:36-37 “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.’ ‘You are a king, then!’ said Pilate. Jesus answered, ‘You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’”
5. Jesus claimed to be able to give eternal life.
John 10:28-30 “I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”