Jesus once asked his followers “who do people—and who do you—say that I am?” (Mark 8:27-29.) C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, noted that our options are limited when considering the claims of Jesus Christ: either he was (or is) a Liar, a Lunatic, or Lord. (Many have added a fourth option, Legend, to Lewis’ proposed trilemma.)
When Jesus claimed to be the Son of God—indeed, when he claimed to be God Himself—and when he foretold his death and resurrection beforehand, how do we respond to these claims? Was he, perhaps, lying? The problem is that nothing in Jesus’ character would lead us to believe that he was a liar. Indeed, he consistently backed up his claims by demonstrating both the character and the power of a compassionate creator. For that matter, his closest followers clearly did not think his claims were fabrications—they were all willing to die defending them!
But possibly he was a lunatic? After all, anyone who goes around today claiming to be God in the flesh, and claiming that they would rise from the dead after being crucified and buried, would most likely be assigned a free room in the nearest mental institution. Once again, though, Jesus’ claims were corroborated by his character, his deeds, and his followers.
A legend? This is the easiest to dismiss. There is more historical evidence for the life (and death; and resurrection!) of Jesus than almost any other historical figure. One must simply close one’s eyes to the evidence in order to believe that Jesus didn’t exist.
That leaves us with—Lord! If Jesus were not a made-up character; if he was not self-deluded or a deceiver; than we must seriously consider his claims, the claims of his followers, and the claims of the Christian church for 2000 years: that he really is the creator Lord who died for the sins of humanity, was buried, and rose from the dead.