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Trilemma of Christ (II)
Could Jesus have been a liar?

What would you call a person who claimed to be God but knew it was not true? I would call him a liar.

Could Jesus have been a liar?

What personal advantage did Jesus gain by lying? (Remember the Jews who stoned Jesus?) If Jesus were a liar, He would also be a fool because it was his claim to be God that led to His crucifixion. Only a fool would die for a lie. Man lies for personal gain but when it becomes unprofitable or when he is threatened by death, he would confess. But Jesus did not! He affirmed that He is God. Is Jesus, who is intelligent enough to start a worldwide movement, a fool?

Moreover, the ego of a liar would cause him to use and abuse others, not help them. But Jesus came to serve. He taught and fed the people; He even washed the feet of His disciples.

Could Jesus have been a great moral teacher?

In his book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said,

To say that Jesus was a great moral teacher would be a contradiction because you have to also say that He was ...

  • a liar - as He made it a practice of lying about being God.

  • a hypocrite - as He teaches others to speak the truth (Matt 19:18)

  • a "Jim Jones" - as He falsely told others to trust Him for their eternal destiny and many have died for their faith in Him.
Is Jesus a liar?

Could Jesus be a liar, a hypocrite, a Jim Jones and a fool, all rolled into one? If Jesus were not a fool then the reason why He voluntary died is found in Romans 5:8

Many people think of sin in the context of wrong actions such as lying, stealing, immorality and other overt misdeeds. But God judges thoughts and attitudes as well as actions.

God demonstrated His love by having Christ died in our place as a substitute to pay the penalty for our sins. He saved us even when we did not deserve it.

Could Jesus' followers been fools too?

If Jesus were a fool then His disciples also were fools because they testified that they saw the risen Christ and ten of them were martyred for their testimony. There was no possible motive for fabricating a lie (that Jesus rose from the dead) because propagating this faith drew opposition, persecution and even death.

Picture on the left shows the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:54-60).

It was impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the resurrection if they had not actually seen the risen Christ!

What if I say, "I can prove scientifically that Jesus rose from the dead"? Only as well as you can prove scientifically that you were in your office this morning. We cannot prove a past event scientifically because we cannot repeat the event.

However, there is another kind of proof ... the legal-historical method used in the courts of law. Legal proof is based on showing that something is a fact beyond reasonable doubt on the basis of the weight of the evidence such as oral testimony, written testimony and physical testimony (called exhibits).

You could provide evidence (not proof) to show your presence at the office. You could show exhibits such as minutes of meeting confirming your presence on that day. You could also arrange for eye-witnesses' testimony.

The writer, Paul, appealed to about 500 eye-witnesses' accounts of the resurrection so that the readers can check it up for themselves.

Are you willing to accept eye-witnesses' testimony as the basis of knowledge of the past? The resurrection of Jesus proved that He is who He claimed to be.

If Jesus rose from the dead, then He is alive today! And because He lives, He can enter a person's life and change him from the inside out.

Trilemma of Christ :: Lunatic, Liar or Lord Dec 1998; Revised February 2006 Alan S.L. Wong