Was Jesus a great human teacher? Was He a lunatic? Or was He God? Here is a list of quotes to help you decide –
1. C S Lewis, Mere Christianity
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.
Christ says, “No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: ‘I’m the Messiah.’ I’m saying: ‘I am God incarnate.‘ And people say, “No, no, please, just be a prophet. A prophet, we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the ‘M’ word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. And he goes, “No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah.”
At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says, “Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this.“
I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched.”
3. Nicky Gumbel
It seems to be clear that Jesus really did claim to be a man whose identity was God. And when we look at the evidence of His teaching, His life, His character, His fulfillment of prophecy, His resurrection, to say He was insane or a fraud seems to be absurd – illogical, actually unbelievable. On the other hand, it provides the strongest possible supporting evidence that what Jesus said about Himself was true…I didn’t want to become a Christian, because I thought if I became a Christian, life would be totally miserable from that moment onwards. I thought I’d put off becoming a Christian till my deathbed. And then I realized that would not be intellectually honest.
4. Louie Giglio
“The place where it breaks down is the fact that Jesus Christ was shredded on a Cross to save us from the wrath of God. And if there is a way to get to Heaven apart from that, is Jesus not the most foolish person who’s ever walked the face of earth? Is He not to be pitied? To put down heaven and put on skin, and go to the cross and be crushed by our shame. Jesus did not believe in a back door way when He said, “it is finished”.
5. Historian Philip Schaff
How, in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could an imposter — that is a deceitful, selfish, depraved man — have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality? How could He have conceived and successfully carried out a plan of unparalleled beneficence, moral magnitude, and sublimity, and sacrificed His own life for it, in the face of the strongest prejudices of His people and age?
6. Bishop Robert Barron
Jesus said, “Unless you love me more than your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even his own life, you cannot be My disciple.” Can you imagine any other religious leader saying such a thing? We can imagine crazy people saying such a thing. But not any other religious leader. Jesus compels a choice. The bland middle position that he is a great religious teacher simply won’t do in the presence of someone who makes such an extraordinary claim.
7. Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel
We certainly see this alternating affection and aversion in the four Gospels, as Jesus and His disciples persevere in their itinerant ministry, declaring forgiveness of sins and the inbreaking of the kingdom of God. Some are drawn; others are repulsed. But nobody hears Jesus and just says, “Eh”.
8. Tim Conway
The way He talked, the way He walked, led men to kill Him. If you look like Christ and talk like Christ and act like Christ, they’ll crucify you too.
9. St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:19
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.