Dr. Doug Posey
Is it possible that the One Who referred to Himself as “the Truth” was less-than-honest about Himself? You would be hard-pressed to find someone that would call Jesus a liar. Usually people acknowledge Him as God-made-flesh; the Savior of the world, or as a good guy who taught people about great things like love and peace, or they deny His existence altogether. But, few—if any—accuse Jesus of intentionally trying to hoodwink people.
I can only think of one example of where someone actually referred to Jesus as a liar. In Matthew’s gospel, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’…” (Matt. 27:63, emphasis added). Of course, after three days He DID rise, disproving the deceiver theory.
People may use His name in vain; they may misuse it as an expletive, but it is an extreme rarity for anyone to call Jesus a fraud, fake, pretender, imposter or phony. They won’t say it, but by the way they—and I’m even talking about Christians—relate to Him, they shout it.
In his classic book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis put forth his famous “Trilemma,” (since unlike a dilemma there are three options, not two) arguing that either Jesus was Lord (and God) as He claimed, or He was either a liar or a lunatic. Lewis wrote:
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 said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a 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.
The skeptics will say that this is a “false dilemma” since there may be other choices besides Lord, liar, or lunatic or, as some put it, “Bad, Mad, or God.” The skeptics are wrong, in my semi-humble opinion. The bottom line is that you cannot say that Jesus was a good, admirable person and at the same time say He wasn’t Lord and God, as He claimed.
All other choices fit into the general categories of Jesus being intentionally dishonest about who He was or being Himself deluded about His true identity. Other than these options, the skeptics must try to disassemble Scripture and discount the fact that Jesus ever made the claims. And of course, they try. But, the Bible is just too historically reliable for these attempts at erasing Jesus’ words to stand.
I believe that the exclusivity (saying Jesus is the only way) of the gospel is the very thing that causes people to want to believe He didn’t claim to be God or the only Way. This weekend, we’ll see how this and other factors in society today are laying the foundation for the apostate or anti-church of the last days. Could you be susceptible?
The best argument in favor of, or against, Christ being Who He claimed to be is your life. People are watching you to see if you believe strongly that He is actually Lord and God. If you can’t demonstrate by the way you live that you believe His claims, why should they believe His claims?
“The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son.”
—1 JOHN 5:10