After finishing a practical series last week on how to cultivate discipleship in our day-to-day life, I plan to change the emphasis for tomorrow’s message.
At the root of Christianity is the identity of Jesus. If we get that right, it changes everything. If we get it wrong, nothing else matters.
Though C.S. Lewis didn’t invent the following argument, he perhaps presented it in its most memorable form. Here’s the famous paragraph from Mere Christianity, part of which I plan to read tomorrow:
“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. . . . Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God” (pp. 55-56).
He’s right, I think. In our text for tomorrow, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day took Jesus for a demon. But does it fit what we know of Jesus?
And what did Jesus present himself to be?
More importantly, what do we believe him to be?
Lord willing, we’ll reflect on these questions tomorrow, and I hope Jesus’ words will convict our congregation to believe more deeply in who Jesus was, and–being convicted–live their lives as if it’s true.