In his book Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis writes the following concerning Jesus Christ: “I am trying here to prevent anyone from 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 a 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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to” (40-41).
We live in a pluralistic culture. Last week we studied Paul’s encounter with the Athenians who worshipped a plethora of gods (Acts 17). America is our Athens today. We live in a culture that claims that there are multiple ways to heaven. No name is more renowned than Jesus Christ, but no name is diversely debated. Some claim that Jesus is a prophet, a wise man, or spiritual guide. Instead of seeing Jesus as our only Savior of the world, many believe that Jesus is just one of many ways to come to God.
The Bible rubs against the grain of our culture The Bible teaches that Jesus’ identity and ministry is central to all of Christianity. There are several key doctrines that are vital to the believer:
• Jesus is fully God (John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20).
• Jesus is fully man (Matthew 1:18; John 1:14; Hebrews 2:17-18). He possessed human experiences (hunger and thirst Matthew 4:2; John 19:28; fatigue John 4:6; emotion Matthew 9:36; John 11:35).
• Jesus was born of the virgin Mary (Isaiah 7:14; Luke 2:26-33).
• Jesus was without sin (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5).
• Death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Isaiah 53:1-5; John 20:24-29; Acts 2:22-36; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 10:10-12; 1 Peter 2:21-24).