jesus

EASTER: PATHETIC OR GENIUS?

Jesus didn’t stutter when he said that he is the truth:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life,” he said, “no one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

Why did Jesus claim to be the truth, versus one single truth among many other truths? Why did he say that he would not share his glory with any other God or any other religious leader? Why was he unwilling to accept the mere designation of Rabbi or of a good moral teacher or of an exemplary human being? Furthermore, why do his followers seem stuck on the idea that Jesus, in being the truth, is the singular path to God? C. S. Lewis, a secular atheist intellect turned Christian, answers this question as well as anyone in Mere Christianity:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish 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 is the one thing we must not say. 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 the man who says he is a poached egg—or 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 at 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.

But what is it, exactly, that has made Lewis so certain that Jesus is more than a great human teacher, but is instead the Son of God, the Word who has become flesh, the Incarnate Deity? I believe the answer to this question rests in a single word:

Resurrection.

Jesus, who was crucified, dead, and buried, rose again bodily from the dead.

The man Saul of Tarsus was militantly opposed to the Christian religion and a leader in the first century massacre against the followers of Jesus. Yet, Saul of Tarsus later became a follower of Jesus. The turning point occurred for Saul when he was on his way to Damascus to arrest more Christians. Jesus, having risen from the dead, met him on the road, temporarily blinded him, and asked him a question, “Saul, why do you persecute me?”

The message to Saul was clear. In standing against Christians, he was standing against Christ, the risen Messiah. And in standing against Christ, the risen Messiah, he was standing against the truth.

In an instant, Saul, once a big shot among the Jews, became small in his own eyes. Saul, a great teacher and leader, was at a loss for words.

Instead of striking Saul down, Jesus forgave him.

From that point forward, Saul of Tarsus was also Paul the Apostle, the inspired writer of approximately one-third of the New Testament. He later wrote these words:

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly and in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life (1 Timothy 1:12-16).

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Source: Core Christianity | Scott Sauls