Some also believe, “Jesus was just a great religious teacher.” Well-known authors C.S. Lewis and Josh McDowell argue that if you examine Jesus’ statements and the observations of those around him, this is not a valid conclusion.
Josh McDowell states in in his classic book, More than a Carpenter, that once you examine the actual claims of Jesus and His eyewitness followers, there are really only three alternatives for who He really is – Jesus Christ was either a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord:
“The issue with these three alternatives is not which is possible, for it is obvious that all three are possible. But rather, the question is ‘which is more probable?’ Who you decide Jesus Christ is must not be an idle intellectual exercise. You cannot put Him on the shelf as a great moral teacher. That is not a valid option. He is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord and God. You must make a choice. ‘But,’ as the Apostle John wrote, ‘these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and’ – more important – ‘that believing you might have life in His name’ (John 20:31).”
C.S. Lewis, in his classic book Mere Christianity, continues, “I am trying here to prevent anyone 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 the 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 let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Considering those strong comments, it is important to read for yourself what Jesus claimed, and what his eyewitnesses said about him.
If this an area you would like to explore, I would suggest three steps:
1. Read one of the gospels in the Bible. The Book of Luke is an easy read that will familiarize you with Jesus’ claims.
2. Read The Case for Christ. It is an excellent book which delves deep into questions such as this
3. Read Mere Christianity. It is a classic book written for people seeking an intellectual explanation of the Christian faith.