The Historical Dispute
Is Jesus God? The answer to this question is the only real dispute surrounding the historical Jesus. No legitimate scholar today denies that Jesus is a historic figure that walked on this earth about 2,000 years ago, that he did remarkable wonders and acts of charity, and that He died a horrible death on a Roman cross just outside Jerusalem. The emotionally charged dispute focuses specifically on whether Jesus was God incarnate who rose from the dead three days after His Crucifixion.
The Only Alternatives
Is Jesus God? Many people have dealt with this “spiritual” dispute by intellectually accepting Jesus as a great man, great teacher, or great prophet. However, Jesus and His inspired followers didn’t mince words when they declared Him to be God (John 10:30-38, Matthew 16:13-17, Mark 14:61-64, John 14:6, Hebrews 1:8, Colossians 1:16, John 12:40-41 [quoting Isaiah 6:1-10]). Therefore, any type of intellectual compromise calling Jesus a “good man” is logically inconsistent. Why? Because there are really only three legitimate alternatives for the identity of Jesus Christ. He is either a liar, a lunatic or our Lord and God.
Since Jesus claimed to be God, His claims are either true or false. If false, He must have been a liar, deliberately misleading the multitudes. Or, He was a lunatic, sincerely believing Himself to be God, when in reality He was just a man. However, if Jesus was a “good man,” as most people now agree, how then could He be both good and crazy, or good and a liar? There is only one logically consistent alternative – He must have been telling the truth. In addition to the logical inconsistency, the remarkable historical, archaeological and manuscript evidence shows that Jesus was neither a liar nor a lunatic. Again, the only position left is that His claim is true. Jesus is Lord and God.
The only real argument that remains is that Jesus was just a legend or myth. There is little likelihood that Jesus’ claims are legend. There just wasn’t enough time for any legendary development of the story to replace what really happened. For instance, we now know that the Gospels were written 30 to 50 years after the crucifixion of Jesus. More dramatically, we now date some of the early Christian creeds, proclaiming the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, to 3 to 10 years after His crucifixion. This includes Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, Romans and Galatians. Finally, if Jesus’ claim of deity were a myth, the early Jewish opponents of Christianity would surely have presented the fact that these claims never happened. Unlike modern skeptics, the Jewish rabbis never denied that Jesus made the claim that He was God. Instead, they called Him a liar, and tried Him for blasphemy.
Is Jesus God? The Only Answer
Is Jesus God? Once you have asked all your questions, weighed all the evidence, and tested all the arguments, you will ultimately be confronted with this question. In Mathew 16:15, Jesus put it this way, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ One of His disciples, Simon Peter, replied: ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ What is your reply?