Was Jesus a Great Teacher or God Incarnate?
Many think that Jesus was a “great teacher,” but often such people do not know what He taught about Himself:
Jesus Christ said that He was the Messiah the Jews had awaited for over 700 years.
John 4:25–26: ‘The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”’
He said that He existed before the creation of the universe.
John 17:5: ‘And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’
John 8:58–59: ‘Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.’
He said that He came down from heaven.
John 6:38: ‘For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.’
He taught that He was the only person in the world with a true knowledge of God.
Luke 10:22: ‘All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”’
He taught that He had the power to give men eternal life.
John 10:27–28: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
Luke 23:43: ‘And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”’
He directed men to Himself as the answer for all their soul’s needs.
John 6:35: ‘Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”‘
John 8:12: ‘Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”’
John 11:25–26: ‘Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.’
He claimed absolute devotion for Himself.
Matthew 10:37: “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
He taught that He was the only way to God.
John 14:6: ‘Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”‘
He taught that He had the power to forgive sins.
Luke 5:20–21: ‘And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”’
He taught that He Himself was sinless and absolutely perfect.
John 8:29: ‘And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”’
John 14:8–9: ‘Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”‘
He said that He was God.
John 10:33: ‘The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”’
John 5:18: ‘This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.’
He accepted worship from other men.
Matthew 14:33: ‘And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”’
John 20:28: ‘Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”’
He taught that one day He was going to raise every dead person in the world from their graves, just by speaking a word to them.
John 5:28–29: ‘Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.’
He said that He would return at the end of the world to determine the eternal destinies of all men who have ever lived.
Matthew 25:31–32: ‘When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.’
C.S. Lewis said, “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.”1C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (London: William Collins)
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