Was Jesus just a good teacher?

4 01 2007

I’ve heard people say they believe Jesus Christ was a good teacher or a good man but that He wasn’t the Son of God.  But I’m wondering if that’s even possible.  Jesus made a lot of bold claims about who He was and what He was going to do in the spiritual realm.  I don’t see how someone can say He was a good teacher if they considered a lot of His teachings to be outright lies.

C.S. Lewis spoke on this a few times, and he explains it better than I do, so I’m going to include some quotes of him :

I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: “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 a level with a 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 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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that option open to us.  He did not intend to. ~ C.S. Lewis, “Case for Christianity”

There is no halfway house and there is no parallel in other religions.  If you had gone to Buddha and said, “Are you the son of Bramah?”, he would have said “My son, you are still in the veil of illusion”.  If you had gone to Socrates and asked, “Are you Zeus?”, he would have laughed at you.  If you had gone to Mohammed and asked, “Are you Allah?”, he would first have rent his clothes and then cut your head off.  If you had asked Confucius, “Are you heaven?”, I think he would probably have replied, “Remarks which are not in accordance with nature are in bad taste.”  The idea of a great moral teacher saying what Christ said is out of the question.  In my opinion, the only person who can say that sort of thing is either God or a complete lunatic suffering from that form of delusion which undermines the whole mind of man.  If you think you are a poached egg, when you are not looking for a piece of toast to suit you, you may be sane, but if you think you are God, there is no chance for you.  We may note in passing that He was never regarded as a mere moral teacher.  He did not produce that effect on any of the people who actually met Him.  He produced mainly three effects — Hatred — Terror — Adoration.  There was no trace of people expressing mild approval. ~ C.S. Lewis, “What are we to make of Jesus Christ?”

There was a man born among these Jews who claimed to be, or to be the son of, or to be “one with” the Something which is at once the haunter of nature and the giver of the natural law.  The claim is so shocking — a paradox, and even a horror, which we may easily be lulled into taking lightly — that only two views of this man are possible.  Either He was a raving lunatic of an unusually abominable type, or else He was, and is, precisely what He said.  There is no middle way.  If the records make the first hypothesis unacceptable, you must submit to the second. ~ C.S. Lewis, “The Problem of Pain”

God chose to reveal Himself in this manner, where we would have to choose to believe with faith.  Some people find this absurd, saying God should declare Himself to us definitively.  Actually, He will, but you have to believe to “see”.  Again, some people think this is preposterous, but it makes some sense when you think about it.  (Note that this is my reasoning; I make no claim to fully understand all of God and His intentions.)  God wants us to choose Him rather than being forced to submit to Him.  If He revealed Himself on the Earth in all His glory, there would be no doubt that He exists and is God, and thus every knee would bow to Him.  But in that situation, you would have to believe — to attempt to do otherwise would be craziness and denying reality.  (And I think His fully manifested presence would be so “real” that you couldn’t disbelieve, even if you tried to say otherwise.)  God chose to give us free will, where we get to choose our path in life.  God has revealed Himself enough that we can find Him if we want to, but we aren’t forced to find Him.  But when you do find Him, you have all the proof you need; it’s just not the kind of proof that you can place on a desk in a courtroom to force everyone to believe; that would go against how He chose to do things.  But when you have a relationship with God, He speaks to you and interacts in your life in miraculous ways, which is definite proof.

Like C.S. Lewis said, the claims of Jesus Christ should not be dismissed lightly.  Either Jesus was crazy or He was who He claimed to be — the Son of God.  If He’s right in what He said (and He was), it has huge consequences for your life, and everyone should study the facts and seek after the absolute Truth to find out what this life is all about.

If you don’t know Jesus personally and haven’t accepted His sacrifice in place of your punishment for your sins, I encourage you to seek after Him.  Talk to people who know Him, study the Bible, and pray that God would reveal Himself to you.  I can’t make you believe nor can I prove God to you if you don’t already know Him, but you can find Him.  I wouldn’t want you to believe something so important just because someone said this or that — you should seek the absolute Truth for yourself.  And when you find God and know Him personally, it’s the answer to what life is all about; you find unconditional love, and you find purpose, peace, joy, and all that life is meant to be.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: