Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dude, who do you say that I am?

Lewis' argument from Mere Christianity keeps coming back to me lately. Jesus can not be relegated to being categorized as a moral teacher, nor a sandal-wearing hippie, nor a counter-cultural philosopher who was just ahead of his time.

If the Jesus whom is depicted in the gospels is at all accurate, then we are faced with three main conclusions about Him, which lead to two choices about ourselves. Either Jesus is a liar, or a lunatic, or He is who He says He is, the Son of God.

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 a 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.

Then Lewis adds:

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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

A man who claims to one with the Eternal creator of Heaven and Earth, performs miracles in His name, and offers forgiveness of sins on His behalf must be correct. Otherwise He is a lunatic, and we have no business following him, or worse, a pathological liar and egomaniac, and we must oppose him. We cannot follow Him half-heartedly. If Jesus is who He says He is, we are then faced with the choice of whether to accept all that He is, or none of Him, for in relation to Him, we have no basis to make any limitations.

I've heard people make the road-up-the-mountain argument: there are many roads that lead up the mountain to enlightenment, holiness, whatever you'd like to call it, God. But this is specious at best, for the only way to know if a road leads to the top of the mountain is to trace the road from the top downward. We, being at the bottom of the mount, cannot do this on our own. But One has come down from the top of the mountain to us, and so connected was He with the road He traveled that He called Himself the Way. Only through this door can we enter into eternal life.

This week we finalize our preparations for celebrating not only the day He came down to us in flesh, but also to look forward to the day when He comes again in glory. From Evening Prayer, Fourth Sunday of Advent: "He comes, the desire of all human hearts; his dwelling place shall be resplendent with glory, alleluia."

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