Was Jesus a Great Moral Teacher?
“I believe Jesus was just a good moral teacher, but he certainly wasn’t God.” I get this a lot. It seems that many people write Jesus off as just “any other prophet”. Rather than creating a compromise, though, this position ends up making more enemies than friends. Why? In John 8, the local Jewish leaders were asking Jesus questions about himself. He puzzled them by declaring that Abraham rejoiced to see him. “You’re not even 50 years old, and you’ve seen Abraham?” they questioned. Jesus had a ready answer. “Before Abraham was, I Am.” This might seem somewhat mundane to us today. A little bit of bad grammar perhaps, but relatively boring nonetheless. But to the Jews, this was blasphemy. Centuries before, the Lord had appeared to Moses and told him that His Name was Yahweh. Literally translated, this means “I am”. This indicates the transcendent attributes of God; that He is outside of time and space. So when Jesus declared that “before Abraham was, Yahweh,” he was openly stating that he was God. The Jews understood this. After he said this, they picked up rocks and tried to stone him to death. He slipped through the crowd without them seeing him and escaped. So Jesus said he was God. There are two options now: he was telling the truth, or he was not telling the truth. If he was not telling the truth, then either he was lying or he was genuinely convinced that he was God. If he was lying, then he is not a great moral teachers. Great moral teachers who are not God don’t tell people (especially not their enemies) that they are God. If he was that confused, then he was a lunatic; on the level with someone who thinks they are a poached egg. But if he really was telling the truth, then He was LORD. So we have three options for Jesus Christ: Liar, Lunatic, or LORD. You can choose to disbelieve Him, you can shut Him up for a fool, or you can worship Him as LORD of your life. But, in the words of C.S. Lewis, “let’s not have any of this patronizing nonsense about His being a ‘good moral teacher.’ ” Liar, Lunatic, or LORD. What’s your choice? In Him, David S. MacMillan III