Can You Respect Jesus and Not Follow Him?
Was Jesus a liar, a lunatic or Lord?
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
Many people today respect a lot of what Jesus taught (i.e., love your neighbor as yourself, turn the other cheek, etc.) and view him as a good moral teacher, but won’t go beyond that.
How can you take Jesus’ good teachings and respect them without putting them in context with all that He said?
Jesus says He is God
In the gospels, Jesus says or insinuates many times that He is God. For example, in John 10:30, He says, “I and the Father are one.” A few verses later, people try to stone Him, saying, “You, a mere man, claim to be God.”
So, if Jesus says He is God, can we take Him seriously? Can we ignore this part of His time on Earth while still respecting what He had to say? C.S. Lewis, a British author and theologian, argues that if we take Jesus’ words at face value, then we can only view Him one of three ways – as a liar, as a lunatic or as Lord.
Why would Jesus teach all these great things while simultaneously being a liar or a lunatic? It seems as if the only logical answer is that He is, in fact, God. Let’s examine a little further.
Not a liar, not a lunatic
If Jesus claimed to be God while knowing He wasn’t, he was purposefully lying to His followers, which would go against everything He taught. It would have to mean he was intentionally leading people astray for His own selfish purposes.
Was He a lunatic that truly believed He was God? That would be impossible. His teachings are still followed today, and they are based around self-sacrifice and love. He was also remarkably self-controlled. How could He be deranged and yet still teach people these great things and be who He is?
The basis of all of Jesus’ work on Earth was to defeat death and give us an opportunity to have a restored relationship with God. All the good, moral teachings He taught were born out of His plan to bring restoration to the world through salvation from sin.
We are praying that you would accept and share Jesus’ teachings that He is Lord, and we are praying that you would consider what it would look like to follow Him completely.
Pray this week:
Jesus, forgive me for not taking you seriously. I want to follow you as my Savior and Lord always.
Is there anything that Jesus claimed that is holding you back from following Him? Would you like to talk with someone about that?