“…the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1
Most people have heard about Jesus Christ. Most religions revere him as a miracle worker, moral teacher or even a prophet sent by God. Even those who do not claim to have any religion acknowledge that he existed and afford him a certain amount of respect.
However, Jesus' own claims about himself are even more profound.
A Real Person
On the one hand, Jesus was a Jewish teacher who was born, lived and died just over 2,000 years ago in Palestine. He was no myth or legend, but a historical real-life figure. However, he was infinitely more than just a Jewish man.
The Promised Messiah
He was the Messiah, the Christ. Details of his birth, his life, and even his death and resurrection fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies made about the King and Saviour whom God had promised to the world. This promised King would be the one to fix our broken world by establishing his perfect kingdom of love, truth and justice.
The Son of God
He was the Son of God. Jesus is God himself, entering the world as a human being, offering forgiveness of sins and eternal life to those who put their trust in him. Moreover, he proved these claims through various miracles, including his own resurrection from the dead.
C.S Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia (including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) became a Christian in his thirties. In his excellent book ‘Mere Christianity’, he summed up the implications of these claims well when he 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 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 patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
For anyone to claim that they are the Son of God; to accept worship as God; to say he has the authority to grant God’s forgiveness through himself; to teach that he is the only way to God; to promise eternal life; to warn that he will judge all people at the end of time; and to tell his followers to expect persecution, and sometimes even death, for his sake, must either be completely deluded, or deliberately misleading, or who he claimed to be? Surely he must be either “mad, bad, or God!”
Founders and leaders of religions have come and gone, but only One stepped out of the tomb; only One has risen from the dead; only One has conquered death; only One offers the promise of eternal life to those who trust and follow Him.