Tony V. Hammack
As I was reading my Bible today I came across a passage in John 10:33 where Jesus, was about to be stoned for blasphemy. John 10:33 says, "We are not stoning you for any good work," they replied, "but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God."
My Bible tells me that the contemporary listeners of Jesus understood him to be making distinct claims to DEITY. If Jesus wanted to refute the accusation he easily could've said, "Hey wait a minute guys, I'm a man just like you, I never said or tried to imply I'm divine." However these words are not found in scripture. Amazingly enough Jesus is also worshiped by people who are on the receiving end of miracles but it's never recorded in scripture that he told the people to stop, like the apostles do and angels do in other places in scripture. Now this is critically important because Jesus makes claims to deity it dispels the idea that Jesus was just a good person or just a prophet or just a nice teacher or whatever other illogical conclusion a person would want to draw concerning his identity.
Let's explore the idea of someone making distinctive claims to deity in modern times. Suppose your neighbor walks over to you and says, "Hey come over here, I've got something to tell you." You walk over and he whispers in your ear, "God and I are one!", "When you've seen me you've seen the father". Now, you have a choice to make. Is your neighbor telling you the truth or is he not? If he is you should stop what you are doing and worship him on the spot but if he isn't you could not conclude any longer that your neighbor is a "good person". Let's explore what you must conclude if he's not telling the truth.
#1 He's a liar! So if your neighbor tells you he's equal with God and he knows in his own mind he's not, that makes him a liar. Now on the scale of lies this is one of the worst kind of lies a person could tell. So he knows he's not the way to salvation but knowingly leads others astray from the truth. This is the worst kind of lie because it's devilish in nature. Your neighbor could lead thousands or perhaps millions away from the truth by concocting this hoax on humanity. So your neighbor can't be considered a good person if he makes distinct claims to deity knowing he's not.
#2 He's a lunatic! So if you travel down to your local mental institution you may find people who are mentally ill who claim to be God. Now in their defense they are convinced in their own minds that they really are. Unfortunately one wouldn't consider a person with this level of mental illness a "good person". Perhaps they were a victim of some horrific crime that damaged their mental capacities to perceive reality or maybe they have a genetic predisposition for this kind of thinking. Perhaps they are suffering from a demonic presence. We don't really know but we know one thing. This person is not capable of leading in a good way nor is this person someone most of us would "follow", because there will be other components to their mental illness that make them hard to coexist with let alone die for.
So let's review our two choices for the person who decides to make claims to deity but isn't. #1 Liar: Not just a little white lie kind of liar but a hoax on humanity kind of liar, someone who should be put into the worst kind of liar category. #2 Lunatic: A person who really believes they are God (and isn't) is crazy. And not just a little crazy, very crazy.
#3 He's Lord and God! So looking at the manuscript authority of the New Testament, and the teaching, life, miracles, resurrection and ascension of Jesus; one, who's logical, must conclude that Jesus claims to deity are substantiated by his words, attitude and actions. The only logical conclusion for who Jesus is, is who he said he was. Jesus is who the Pharisees understood him to be claiming to be. If you can't draw this conclusion for yourself, for whatever reason (your eyes are closed or blinded by some other ideology) then please don't make the idiotic statement that "Jesus was JUST a good person". "Jesus was JUST a prophet". or "Jesus was JUST a good teacher".
Visit with us at Jubilee Family Church this Sunday at 10:15 AM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) and Wednesday evening at 6:30 PM (Central Standard Time U.S.A.) If you can't be with us in person please visit via internet video on Jubilee T.V. If you live in Batesville please tune into KBAP 88.1 FM to listen to contemporary worship music.
Jubilee Family Church
45 Thunderbird Dr.
Batesville, AR 72501