(Part one of this series is HERE , part two is HERE.)
Today I’m wrapping up the last day of the quote challenge. Although this is the last “official” post, I’m thinking about continuing this idea onward, how regularly I don’t know, in the future; as I said befor, I have a lot of favorites and could go for a while if I have the time.
I thought I’d would share what is probably my favorite quote from C. S. Lewis today:
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.
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I have spoken and taught on this topic before but I don’t think I’ve ever written about it so this seems like a good time to do it.
Though the religious leaders of Jesus’ times tried all manner of lies, trickery, and schemes they couldn’t find a reason to convict Him. They feared the people so they sought anything they could use to convict Him and have Him sentenced to death. What did they finally convict Him of? Blasphemy. Jesus knew the consequences of being convicted of blasphemy but He wouldn’t deny the truth He had proclaimed – many times – that He was God, the promised Messiah and Savior. And so He was crucified for telling them, or not denying, who He was: God in human flesh.
“Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking false testimony against Jesus that they might put him to death, but they found none, though many false witnesses came forward. At last two came forward and said, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to rebuild it in three days.'” And the high priest stood up and said, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. And the high priest said to him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has uttered blasphemy. What further witnesses do we need? You have now heard his blasphemy. What is your judgment?” They answered, “He deserves death.”” Matthew 26:59-66
His disciples saw what happened to Him, firsthand witnesses to all that led up to His torturous treatment and crucifixion. They also witnessed and were a part of the events after His death, too, though; they saw the empty tomb, walked and ate with Him after His resurrection, witnessed His assention, and received power from Him to witness to all the world. We also have to remember that hundreds were in His presence after His resurrection, not just the eleven disciples that remained. All of the New Testament had human writers who had seen and been a part of this miraculous set of events. All of them were well aware of what could, and did, happen to them if they continued to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and yet they did continue. All of the disciples, thirteen in total including Paul, were killed, with the exception of with the exception of John, who was exiled for years to prison in Patmos. Countless others were also imprisoned, tourtured and martyred subsequently proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There were thousands that would’ve refuted this message who were living at the same time as Jesus and His disciples and their disciples that followed but they couldn’t; the Gospel account was true, not a story, then just as it is today. If it weren’t true what possible motivation could all of these people, the ones we know by name and the ones who’s names are lost to history, have to continue proclaiming the Gospel? It surely wasn’t fame or fortune; they knew their likely end would come in a painfully merciless way. And yet they persevered, telling of the mercy, grace, love and salvation available only through Jesus, the Son of God, the Promised One.
As Lewis said, Jesus left us with only the conclusion that He was a nut, a demon or the Son of God, as He proclaimed. The testament of the ones that followed him, selflessly spreading the Gospel across the world in the face of great perils, eliminates the first two possibilities leaving only one option: Jesus is the Son of God, diety in human form, sent to walk among us and experience all, and much more, that we ever can or will endure. And He did it perfectly, without sin, something person before or after Him could do. And then after fulling Scripture, He laid down His life in place of ours; the innocent taking the punishment of the guilty. There is no room for speculation on who or what Jesus was and is, just as He intended it.
“The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29