I marvel at the words of Jesus. His teachings are singular. His teachings are incomparable. His teachings are authoritative Never has there been anyone like Jesus. .
But there is more to His teachings. During His earthly ministry, Jesus made a number of startling personal declarations. He boldly and unapologetically claimed to be the Son of God, One with God, and God Himself. As C.S. Lewis reminded his us, a good man does not go about claiming to be God unless, of course, He is God. And if He is not God, then Jesus is a liar or a lunatic. There is no middle ground. You cannot hail Him as a good man, a great moral teacher, or a prophet of God while denying His claim to deity. Jesus is God or He is a fake, a fraud, and a phony. Take your pick, but know there is no third option.
As for me, I believe Him. I believe that Jesus is God who clothed Himself in human flesh and pitched His tent among us (John 1). One reason, but not the only reason, that I believe in the deity of Jesus is that I cannot attribute His voice-of-God teachings to that of a pathological liar or a wild-eyed madman. His words are steeped in truth and righteousness. There more I study His teachings, the more I believe the real mad men are those who staunchly oppose Him. To be sure, if His teachings sprang from the lips of a liar or lunatic, I would fervently pray that God would occupy this planet with more such deceivers.
By the by, those closest to Jesus--those who lived with Him, ate with Him, traveled with Him--those who knew Him personally and intimately came to recognize His deity. Based upon the words of Thomas, often dubbed Doubting Thomas, there was not a trace of doubt in his mind as to the deity of Jesus. Upon seeing the resurrected Jesus, Thomas cried out, “You are the Lord of me and You are the God of me (John 20:28).” To deny the deity of Jesus is to deny the teachings of His Apostles. It is worth remembering that, with the exception of John, who was exiled on a lonely desert island, the Apostles of Jesus died martyrs’ deaths. The best of men will die for the truth. The best of men will not willingly or knowingly die for a lie.
All of this brings us to the one central and inescapable question that Jesus posed to Peter: ’”Who do men say that I am?” Logic and reason demand that I attribute the teachings and reputation of Jesus to no one less than the one and only God/man.