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Study Five – Was Jesus who He claimed to be?

The evidence is clear: Jesus did make claims to be divine; His followers did not create or misunderstand His claims. So now we have the natural question: Was Jesus who He claimed to be? [18]

To think about: Do you think that it is possible for God to take on human form? Why, or why not?

The Possibility

Is it possible that God take on a human form (incarnation)? Two points are worth noting here about this possibility.

  1. How do the critics who say that God could never take on a human form and nature, know what God can or cannot do? [1 p. 154] How can they prove that it is not possible!

  2. If a being exists worthy of the name “God”, that being must be omnipotent, that is, able to do anything that is intrinsically possible, anything that is meaningful, anything that does not involve a self-contradiction (like a rock that is not a rock, or a rock too heavy for infinite power to life). God becoming human, however miraculous, is not a self-contradiction. Therefore, the Incarnation is possible. [1 p. 154]

Additional Note

At this point, if you have not already done so, it may be worthwhile examining the arguments for the existence of God and Miracles. These sections are in the appendix.

Who was Jesus?

We now examine an argument for actuality of Christ’s divinity. It is based on this simple question, “If Jesus is not God, as Christians say he is, then who was he?” [1 p. 158]

To think about: As we have already shown the New Testament documents to be historically reliable, could we now conclude that Jesus was who he claimed to be? Do we need to look at additional arguments?

There are really only four possible answers to the question. The outline for the argument for Jesus Christ’s divinity is that: [1 p. 158]

  1. Jesus was either Lord, liar, lunatic or guru

  2. He could not possibly be a liar, lunatic or guru

  3. Therefore “Jesus is Lord

To think about: If Jesus was not who he claimed to be, then he was either a liar, lunatic or he did not mean for his claims to be taken literally (i.e. he was a guru). Are there any other options? What evidence exists for each of these options?

Note that the argument depends on previously established premises, namely

  1. Jesus existed,

  2. the New Testament contains reliable information about him (i.e. it does not contain lies, fabrications or myths), and that

  3. Jesus did claim to be God

To think about: Have these assumptions been adequately covered in previous sections? If not, what do you think still needs to be discussed and examined?

With regards to Jesus’ claims to divinity,


1. He meant it literally	
   1.1.	It is true.........................................Divine (God)
   1.2.	It is false		
       1.2.1.	He knew it was false......................Liar, Noble liar  
       1.2.2.	He didn’t know it was false...............Lunatic, Honestly mistaken
2. He meant it non-literally, mystically....................Guru

To think about: If a person states that Jesus never claimed to be God, then the issue of the reliability of the New Testament (e.g. that it does not contain lies or myths) would have to be dealt with before this argument can be used.

Let us examine these possibilities.

1. He meant it literally
     1.1. It is true (Jesus is God)

This option is examined at the end of this section.

1.2. It is false
     1.2.1. He knew it was false (Liar / Noble liar)

If Jesus meant his claims literally and he knew that his claims were false, then must have been a liar or perhaps a liar with good intentions i.e. a noble liar.

Discussion: If Jesus meant his claims literally and he knew that his claims were false, who could he have been apart from a liar or a noble liar?

Was Jesus a Liar?

The following are reasons why we can conclude that Jesus was not a liar.

  • He had the wrong psychological profile. [1 p. 160]

He was unselfish, loving, caring, compassionate and passionate about teaching truth and helping others to truth. Liars lie for selfish reasons, like money, fame, pleasure or power. Jesus, on the other hand, gave up all worldly goods, and life itself.

  • There is no conceivable motive for his lie. [1 p. 160]

It brought him hatred, rejection, misunderstanding, persecution, torture and death. [1 p. 160] Who in history has gone to their death for the sake of something like this that they knew was a lie? [18]

  • He could not have hoped that his “lie” would be successful. [1 p. 160]

The Jews were the least likely people in the world to have worshipped a man, and Jesus, as a Jew, would have known that. Why did he go to the Jewish nation? Why go as a Nazarene carpenter to a country so small in size and population and so thoroughly adhering the undivided unity of God? Why didn’t he go to Egypt or, even more, to Greece, where they believed in various gods and various manifestations of them?

  • How could he have invented and maintained the lie? [5 p. 106]

How could a deceitful man have invented, and maintained from the beginning to the end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality.

  • If Jesus was only a man and claimed to be God, was He an atheist himself? [18]

Did He think that the God of the Old Testament would not judge him?

"I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols," (Isaiah 42.8)

"I will not yield my glory to another," (Isaiah 48.11)

To have lied about being God, Jesus would have had to have had no fear of God whatsoever. He must have had some assurance that God wasn't going to incinerate Him for claiming to be divine and accepting the worship of others. To not fear God, Jesus would have had to have been an atheist! [18]

  • How did Jesus manage to pass on high standards of truth? [18]

If Jesus was a liar, how did he somehow manage to pass on such high standards of truth?

"... we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God." 2 Corinthians 4.2

"For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you." 1 Thessalonians 2.3

  • How do we explain the changed lives of Jesus' disciples.

The disciples were so convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead that they were prepared to be ostracized, criticized, rejected, persecuted, and in many cases martyred. They were hated, scorned, persecuted, excommunicated, imprisoned, tortured, exiled, crucified, boiled alive, roasted, beheaded, disemboweled and fed to lions. [1 p.186] How does a crucified liar manage to bring about such a change?

  • We would have to conclude that Jesus was therefore a hypocrite, evil and a fool! [5 p. 104]

If we say that Jesus was lying, we also have to accept some extreme logical conclusions!

If Jesus was a liar then he was also a hypocrite because He told others to be honest, whatever the cost, while He himself taught and lived a colossal lie.

“If you want to enter life, obey the commandments … Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony…” Jesus (Matthew 19:18)

If he was a liar then he was also evil, for He told others to trust Him for their eternal destiny. If He couldn’t back up His claims and knew it, then He was unspeakably evil.

John 8.24: "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

If he was a liar then he was also a fool because it was His claims to deity that led to His crucifixion.

Matthew 26.63: The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied … Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" "He is worthy of death," they answered.

Are you prepared to call Jesus a hypocrite, evil and a fool in the light of his life, teachings and death?

To think about: If Jesus was a liar, was he necessarily evil, a hypocrite, and a fool? Why, or why not?

Quite simply, someone who lived as Jesus lived, taught as Jesus taught and died as Jesus died could not have been a liar. [5 p. 106]

List five reasons that oppose the assumption that Jesus lied about being God.


 

 

 

 

 

 

List three questions that a person needs to answer if they are to claim that Jesus lied about being God.


 

 

 

 

 

Was Jesus a noble Liar?

Could Jesus have felt that his teachings were so important as to have falsely claimed special authority from God in order to persuade people to follow him? Could he have believed in all sincerity that following his teachings would lead people into the kingdom of God and/or eternal life, and that he said what he thought was necessary to get people to follow him? In the cases where his lying actually contradicted his own teachings, could he have been forfeiting his own eternal security, for the sake of others? [18]

The following are reasons why Jesus could not have been a noble liar.

  • If Jesus was so noble why did He choose the ignoble method of trickery to get people to follow Him? Were not more noble methods available? [18]

  • If Jesus was so noble, but had no divine power, why did He claim to be able to heal people when He could not? [18]

  • It would be much more difficult to get Jews to believe a human was God incarnate than it would be to get them to adopt morally superior principles. [18]

  • Since his teachings were based on a true understanding of the OT, what need was there to go as far as trickery and blasphemy? Many of the principles they would have agreed with anyway! [18]

  • Why would Jesus forfeit His salvation, for the sake of teachings that (other than His claims to divinity) were not that radical to first-century Jewish ears in the first place? [18]

  • If Jesus' main concern was to get as many people into the Kingdom of God as possible, then this would have been the worst way to do it. [18]

  • If Jesus the Noble Liar succeeds then everyone who follows Him will worship Him, rather than the true God of Israel. [18]

  • Who in history has gone to their death for the sake of something like this that they knew was a lie? [18]

    Where is the ‘historical precedent’ for such alleged actions? Many have died for principles they believed were true and righteous. For e.g. Socrates, and the noble souls who hid Jews in their cellars to protect them from the Nazis. But, where has there ever been someone so "noble" that they perpetrated the most outrageous possible lie, something they knew was a lie, and died for it, even a lie that was beneficial? [18]

To think about: Which of the previous arguments against Jesus being a liar are also valid when refuting the noble liar hypothesis?

In summary, the whole idea of Jesus as a noble liar is intuitively suspect, highly speculative and groundless. [18]

What do you think are the three best reasons opposing the assumption that Jesus was a noble liar?


 

 

 

 

 

1.2.2. He didn’t know it was false (Lunatic, Honestly Mistaken)

Perhaps Jesus did not know that his claims were false. Could he simply have made a mistake?

Was Jesus honestly mistaken?

Was Jesus simply honestly mistaken about him being God? The following are arguments against this possibility.

  • Considering Jesus’ claims, proof that he was mistaken would be clearly evident. [18]

If one takes oneself to be messiah, and/or divine, then eventually one must act like a messiah: righting wrongs, coming to the rescue, healing disease, raising the dead, trampling the military opposition, etc.

If one fails to act like the messiah, and if they are only honestly / sincerely mistaken, then they would have to face facts and realize their mistake!

  • Where in history was there a "honestly mistaken" messiah who made the claims that Jesus did, had the degree of success that Jesus did. [18]

If Jesus went about doing the things that He did, He would have been very lucky to be ‘successful’ and get as far as the Crucifixion. Then we still have the Resurrection appearances and the work and lives of the Apostles (writers of the New Testament) to explain! [18]

  • No Jew could sincerely think they were God [1 p. 161]

No group in history was less likely to confuse the Creator with a creature than the Jews. They were the only people who had an absolute, and absolutely clear, distinction between the divine and the human.

  • How does one come to believe, or make, a mistake of this nature? To actually believe that you are God! [18]

Data indicates that a normal, healthy human psyche cannot sincerely hold the sincere conviction of its own Godhood.

To think about: How could someone sane mistakenly think that they were God?

  • There is no evidence that Jesus did make such a mistake, or even doubted what he believed. The ‘honestly mistaken’ argument is an argument from silence, there is no evidence for it and it also goes against the data we do have. [18]

What do you think is the strongest reason or argument against the assumption that "Jesus was honestly mistaken about being God"? Why?


 

 

 

 

 

In conclusion: to make the claims of Christ you would have to be a lunatic, not someone ‘honestly mistaken’. To claim literally that you are God, especially in a fiercely monotheistic culture, and then to tell others that their eternal destiny depends on believing in you, is not the thinking of someone making an honest mistake. Especially when, considering the nature of the claims of Jesus, proof of being mistaken would be all too evident! To think that you are God, when you are not, is not an honest mistake it is the thinking of a lunatic. [5 p. 106]

Was Jesus a lunatic?

What if Jesus was mentally deranged and had a mistaken view of himself? Could Jesus have been a lunatic? The following are arguments against the possibility of Jesus being a lunatic.

  • Because the psychological profiles of lunatics and Jesus are opposite.[1 p. 159]

There are lunatics in asylums who sincerely believe that they are God. The “divinity complex” is a recognized mental disorder and its character traits are well known: egotism, narcissism, inflexibility, dullness, predictability, inability to understand and love others as they really are and, the inability to creatively relate to others. In other words, this is the polar opposite of the personality of Jesus! [1 p. 159]

Subjects of the complex generally demand attention and are very egotistical. While they may also exhibit generosity and kindness, subjects of a divinity delusion will try to make themselves the center of attention and display extreme selfishness and self-promotion. [18]

Jesus, however, behaved consistently under pressure, as one in complete possession of his faculties. [18] He showed none of the symptoms of the 'divinity complex'. His teachings were not the ravings of a lunatic. He never exhibited signs of paranoia or schizophrenia. He was never rash or impulsive. Under all circumstances, even when suffering the anguish of the crucifixion, Jesus appeared self-assured and in complete possession of His senses.

In Jesus we don’t observe any of the abnormalities and imbalance that usually go along with being deranged. Lunatics lack practical wisdom, tough love, and unpredictable creativity. Jesus possessed all these things. [1 p. 159]

To think about: Can you think of any situations where Jesus displayed practical wisdom, tough love and unpredictable creativity?

  • Someone with a ‘divinity complex’ would be incapable of sound rational thought on moral issues. [18]

The teachings of someone with a divinity complex may include sound morality, but that morality is obviously parroted from other sources, showing almost no creativity. It is also includes obscure, or even nonsensical ideas. [18]

Regardless on what subject He spoke, His advice was always profound, insightful, intelligible, and reliable. His instructions in all areas of human relationships (religious, moral, political, psychological, social) were so reliable that they have molded and shaped Western civilization for nearly twenty centuries!

List some of Jesus' teachings that have influenced Western civilization.


 

 

 

 

 

  • How could a lunatic maintain from the beginning to the end, the purest and noblest character known in history without any indication of insanity?

Jesus simply does not exhibit the type of behaviour that is associated with the divinity complex. He behaved consistently under pressure, as one in complete possession of his faculties. [18]

  • The reaction of others was not that of a reaction to a lunatic. [1 p. 160]

When we meet a lunatic, we are uncomfortable because we feel superior to him; when his enemies met Jesus they were uncomfortable for the opposite reason. A lunatic does not make you feel personally challenged, only embarrassed and eventually, bored. However, Jesus made everyone feel challenged and uncomfortable, never bored. [1 p. 160]

  • Someone with the 'divinity complex' would be obviously raving mad, and thus incapable of influencing people. [18]

While many delusions do not keep their sufferers from leading an otherwise normal life, the delusion that one is divine represents another level of mental illness entirely. [18]

The complex is consistent, it does not lend itself to periods where one is sane and rational, and it does not develop slowly over time. It is accompanied by serious behavioral problems; none of which Jesus ever exhibited. [18]

A person suffering from the divinity complex is not likely to fool many people, and not for very long. [18] Jesus was not only able to convince people that He was God - He convinced them to such a degree that they were prepared to die for Him!

It is also important to note that Christianity grew up among people who had seen and heard Jesus in person. It began in Jerusalem and flourished in Judea, places where Jesus spent a great deal of time and was known by many people. [18] A person suffering from the divinity complex, literally claiming to be God, would be never have had the success and have received the reaction that Jesus received. People attentively listened to, respected, loyally followed, and treated Jesus with awe and wonder. Sceptics wondered who he could be, and how he could possibly have the right to make the claims that he did! How would a person, who would have been an obviously lunatic, receive such a response?

To think about: Why is it significant that Jesus' early followers were eyewitnesses to his life?

  • We would have to conclude that the expert of human nature who knew how to live the proper life did not understand himself properly. [18]

Even sceptics agree that Jesus was a good moral teacher. However, being a good moral teacher implies you know something about personal psychology as well. The irony, pointed out by many authors including C. S. Lewis, is that with this "lunatic" option, Jesus knew enough about reality (human nature) and psychology to prescribe morality to others so they could live the best possible life but somehow was mistaken about his own psychology/nature. [18]

In other words, the expert of human nature who knew how to live the proper life did not understand himself properly! [18]

The portrait of Jesus in the Gospels does not fit with the lunacy theory, except by argument from silence i.e. there is simply no evidence for this lunacy option! [18]

Describe the characteristics of a lunatic who thinks that they are God. Describe how these characteristics differ to those of Jesus.


 

 

 

 

 

2. He meant it non-literally, mystically (Guru)

Did Jesus claim to be God in a non-literal, mystical sense?

Perhaps Jesus never meant for us to understand him literally, but rather in a mystical way. Yes, Jesus was God, and knew it, and claimed it - but we are all God. Jesus was an enlightened mystic, a guru, who realized his own inner divinity. There are thousands of people today, as in the past, who claim to be God but are neither liars nor lunatics. Why couldn’t Jesus fit into this well-established and well-populated class? [1 p. 165]

Firstly, the arguments against Jesus being misunderstood (in the study on "Did Jesus claim to be God") are also relevant here. Jesus made a point of explaining what he meant to His disciples, and his claims are simply to numerous and clear-cut to be misunderstood. His claims and teachings do not lend themselves to the mystical, guru interpretation.

To think about: Which of Jesus' claims are too clear-cut to fit with a mystical interpretation.

Another important argument against Jesus meaning that he was God in a non-literal, mystical (Guru) way is because Jesus was a Jew. [1 p. 165]

The contradictions between the religious Judaism of Jesus and the teaching of gurus (and their eastern equivalents) are simply too many and too great. There can hardly be a more impossible synthesis than one between Judaism and Hinduism (guru). Jesus clearly taught the way of Judaism and cannot be seen as a guru. [1 p. 170]

To see Jesus as a guru is to uproot his Jewishness. It would be a complete uprooting of his identity. If Jesus was some type of guru then he utterly failed to get any one of the guru’s teachings across to anybody, ever for almost two thousand years. He misled his followers on every one of the following essential points where Judaism and Eastern mysticism conflict. [1 p. 166]

Here are several contradictions between Jesus' Judaism and the universal teaching of all gurus [1 p. 166]

  1. Judaism is a public religion of collective observance of a public law (Torah) and a belief in a public book (Scriptures). Gurus teach a private, individual, inner experience that can't be communicated by words. [1 p. 166]

  2. Gurus believe that we and everything else in the world is God. Judaism says that God is distinct from the world. To confuse or identify a creature with the Creator is a idolatry (a terrible sin). [1 p. 166]

  3. For Jews God is a person. The supreme revelation of God was to Moses when he told Moses his own true eternal name “I AM”. “I” is the name of Ultimate Reality - God. For gurus “I” is the name of ultimate illusion. Individuality, personality, selfhood is the supreme illusion which must be seen through (dispelled) to attain the supreme truth of enlightenment. [1 p. 166]

  4. Judaism teaches you are to fill your mind with God and his laws. Gurus teach that you are to empty your mind and become one with everything. [1]

  5. For Jews God has made himself known publicly in deeds and words divinely inspired writings. For gurus God is unknowable, except wordlessly in mystical experience. [1 p. 167]

  6. For Jews time and matter are real because God created them. God has revealed himself in historical events. God is known and loved within time. God brings about salvation in time, in history, in the messianic age. They look at time and forward. For gurus time and history are ultimately unreal, illusory, projections of unenlightened consciousness. Salvation is found in timelessness. They look away from time or backwards. [1 p. 167]

  7. For Jews God is the active initiator. Religion is not our search for God but God’s search for us. For gurus God is passive. We find him, not he us. [1 p. 167]

  8. For Jews God is moral, is righteous, is holy and his command to us is “Be holy, for I am holy”, gives commandments, has a will, discriminates, hates evil and loves good. For gurus God, is amoral, has no will, has no law, has no preferences. [1 p. 168]

  9. Gurus teach God does not judge, there is no sin, there is no separation from God, there is no hell, everyone automatically gets to heaven eventually. Jews teach an eternal ultimate justice and judgement from God, the possibility of eternal separation from God and that not everyone is automatically guaranteed salvation. [1 p. 169]

On all of the previously mentioned points he was understood to teach the distinctively Jewish, not mystical (guru) doctrine. An "enlightened master" who can't teach is a contradiction. If he was an enlightened master, then Jesus was the worst teacher in history! [1 p. 169]

He never told anyone to convert from Judaism. He claimed to have come to fulfill the law the prophets, not destroy them. He did not found a new religion, he fulfilled the old one. Despite the arguments between Jews and Christians, there is not the slightest suggestion that these are two alternative religions or that the Old Testament teachings are false. [1 p. 169]

Jesus also had no way of learning eastern religions! He never travelled from his native land. The stories that he did are myths that were started centuries later. No documents of any kind suggest this for the first few centuries A.D. He would not have learned Oriental mysticism in Israel; the Jews were not open, tolerant or pluralistic. Even in the cases of Jewish mysticism (e.g. the Essenes), they were far more Western than Eastern on all of the previously mentioned points. [1 p. 170]

To think about: How reliable is supposed 'information' about Jesus, when it is 'revealed' centuries after his life?

There is hardly a more impossible synthesis as the one between Judaism and eastern mysticism– the very synthesis proposed by suggesting that “Jesus claimed to be God in a non-literal, mystical sense".

Conclusion

We determined that there are really only four possible answers to the question “Who is Jesus?” We then saw that he could not possibly be a liar, lunatic or a guru, thus leaving us with one last option – He was who He claimed to be. Jesus was God!

However intuitively difficult this may seem, it is the only explanation for the data

  • It is possible as it has no internal or external inconsistencies. [1 p. 171]

  • It is probable as God could well have done this; A good, wise, clever, loving God might well do just what the Gospels say he did in Christ: become human and die to save us. [1 p. 171]

  • It works. It has enlightened and transformed lives. It has created saints who have lived and died for this ‘lie’, ‘lunacy’, ‘myth’ or ‘misunderstanding’. [1 p. 171]

  • It gives the greatest hope, and meaning and purpose proposed to human life. [1 p. 171]

  • It is the only rational, honest alternative. Data and argument compel us to it. [1 p. 171]

To think about: What implications does the conclusion that "Jesus was God" have?

We have examined an incredible amount of evidence supporting the fact that Jesus was who he claimed to be.

Discussion Note

Additional evidence for the truth of Jesus’ claims is the evidence for His resurrection, and the evidence from Old Testament prophecies. These sections are in the appendix.

Why then are many (apart from those who still have intellectual reservations) not convinced?

Why are many not convinced?

  1. Generally not for rational reasons. The vast majority of those who disbelieve in Christ’s divinity disbelieve for other reasons, not because they have confronted the arguments. [1 p. 171]

  2. Sometimes, the thing hated and rejected is not Christ, but Christians. It has been said that “the only good argument against Christianity is Christians” - Chesterton [1 p. 172]

  3. Sometimes, it is fear of the church and its teachings and authority that scares people away. The church is a concrete, visible, present institution that makes demands on our intellect to believe and our will to practice a whole way of life that conflicts with out natural inclinations. Exactly like Jesus, who did the very same thing. [1 p. 172]

  4. The reluctance is usually moral. To admit that Jesus is divine is to admit his absolute authority over your life, including all aspects of your private life. We are all addicts to something, selfishness at least. That is the meaning of sin, the very disease Jesus came to cure. Of course, the cancer is going to fear the surgeon. That is exactly what you would expect. That is not a reason to disbelieve the surgeon’s claim to be the specialist. Just the opposite. [1 p. 172]

  5. Some people are afraid of the supernatural because it is mysterious and uncontrollable. It goes against our understanding of reality. If there is a supernatural God, and if this God did such a strange thing as becoming a man, then this greatly challenges our view of reality. [1 p. 172]

  6. Sometimes, it may be simple pride, a refusal to hand over control of our lives. [1 p. 172]

  7. It is not intellectually fashionable to believe in Christ as anything more than a human teacher. [1 p. 172]

  8. It goes against our desire for equality. The notion that Christ alone is God - superior, authoritative, supernatural - and that Christ’s teaching and person is far greater than other religious leaders, no matter how much great and good wisdom may be contained in their teachings, is hard for us to accept. The notion that all religions are not equal, offends our ‘religion’ of equality, which makes no demands on us to discriminate and choose one and to justify that choice. [1 p. 172]

NONE of these eight causes of unbelief is a reason, only a MOTIVE; that is they are subjective and psychological, not objective and logical. [1 p. 172]

If you do not / did not believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be, what is / was your reason? Is it an intellectual difficulty with this conclusion, or is it more like one of the above mentioned motives?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If everything that has been said so far is true, then a surprising consequence necessarily follows. It is that there are only two things that are needed for anyone to worship Jesus Christ as God, that is intellectual honesty and the moral honesty that goes with it. This is exactly the attitude most unbelievers praise and claim to have: tough-minded, sceptical, scientific, logical honesty. However, if one really has that attitude, then it will lead them to belief in Jesus Christ. [1 p. 173]

To think about: Many Christians are accused of wishful thinking. However, in the light of all the evidence presented, which position looks more like myth, fairy tale, wishful thinking, subjective projection, and human invention? And which looks like the cold, hard, objective truth? [1 p. 173]

Discussion questions and exercises

  • Give a high level outline of the argument used to determine whether or not Jesus is God.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What three reasons could you give to persuade someone that Jesus was not a liar? Give a brief explanation of each reason.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What three reasons could you give to persuade someone that Jesus was not a noble liar? Give a brief explanation of each reason.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What three reasons could you give to persuade someone that Jesus wasn't honestly mistaken. Give a brief explanation of each reason.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • What three reasons could you give to persuade someone that Jesus wasn't a lunatic. Give a brief explanation of each reason.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Describe two reasons why we can conclude that Jesus didn't claim to be God in a non-literal, mystical sense.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion Group - Additional Note

Before completing the final study, the group may wish to devote a week to examining additional evidences supporting Jesus' claim to be God. The sections on "The Resurrection: Hoax or History?" and "A Brief Note On Prophetic Evidence" can be found in the appendix.

 

Discussion Groups

Preparation required for the following week

Please read the following:

- Study Six – Conclusions and Implications

Possible discussion questions for when the group meets next week

- Which of the four steps to becoming a Christian is easiest to take? Which is the hardest? Why?
- How would you describe sin and repentance?
- How could someone’s commitment to Jesus vary if they a) accept him once they have realised the consequences of sin and that He is the only solution, b) accept him for what they can get, internal peace, eternal life, etc?
- Do you think some step is missing from the four presented here? If so, what?
- How easier is it for someone to honestly desire truth? What makes it easy, and/or hard?
- Do you think this study presents enough evidence for accepting Christianity as true? If not, what do you think is lacking? How could this be addressed?
- Do you agree that if Jesus was who he claimed to be, then a person’s acceptance or denial of him is the most important decision they could make?

 


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