Just a good teacher?

When we do evangelistic surveys on campus, the number one response we get to the question "Who do you think Jesus was?" is: "he definitely existed, he was trying to make people get along better (or live a better way, or find fulfillment). He probably wasn't the Son of God." Usually this comes with very little knowledge of what it is that Jesus taught. In response to this, I'll yield the floor to CS Lewis:

I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus]: “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. 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 lets us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to use. He did not intend to.

Jesus claimed and the Bible writers claimed that he was God (eg. John 1:1-4), he called his body "this temple" (eg. Matthew 26:61) and the Jews knew exactly what he was saying (eg. John 8:58, where the religious leaders want to kill Jesus for taking God's personal name 'I am' [cf. Exodus 3:14] for himself). If you want to respect Jesus as a teacher then read one of the four accounts of his life in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke or John) and see what you think. You can take it or leave it, but if you pick and chose then that's not treating Jesus as a teacher, but using him as a helpful way to back up your personal views.

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