When he was asked who was the most influential person in his life, George Bush, who followed in his father’s footsteps as President of the United States, quickly responded, “Jesus Christ!” No, the answer wasn’t designed to win friends and votes, because that answer also alienated him from some people who are avowed enemies of Jesus Christ. Bush, who at one time drank too much and had too few goals for his life, was introduced to the claims of Jesus Christ through personal contact with Billy Graham.
Question: Would you also say that Jesus Christ is the most influential person in your life? Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Comparison is impossible between Him and any other human being who ever lived because He was the Son of God.” He may have been a better general than a theologian, but in this appraisal, Napoleon was on target, recognizing Him as “the Son of God.”
If Jesus Christ was one of a kind, the unique fusion of both man and God, as the Bible clearly tells us, He is in a category of just one. When I wrote my book Heroes, People Who Have Made a Difference In Our World, an interviewer asked me why I didn’t include a selection on Jesus Christ. “Very simple,” I replied. “Jesus Christ isn’t on the same level with the courage shown by the men and women I wrote about. He is in a class all by Himself!”
And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39
Faced with the criticism of a skeptical intellectual community, C. S. Lewis decided to find out for himself who Jesus was. His search was also intensified by the evils he saw in war as innocent people died, and the confusion of it all evoked the question, “If there is a God, why doesn’t He intercede in this madness and chaos which has engulfed our world?”
Lewis didn’t have a “Damascus Road” kind of conversion as did Saul long ago when a light shone from heaven and he heard the voice of Jesus; but as he studied the New Testament documents themselves, he gradually began to realize it makes more sense to accept and believe the story of God’s sending His Son as a harmless infant than to offer an explanation of what happened.
In his book Mere Christianity Lewis rebutted the position, “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher but not as the Son of God,” saying the following: “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 a 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 up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”
No one could put it any better.
Someone had a sign painter portray an image of Jesus Christ as though He were looking directly into the eyes of those who traveled the busy highway. Underneath the painting was a challenge: “Now, it’s your move!” And as we come to the end of today’s commentary, that is a fitting challenge to leave with you. Having confronted the claims of Christ’s unique position as God’s Son who loved you and gave Himself for you when He died on that old cross, you have to decide. “Now, it’s your move!” Indeed.
Resource reading: Mark 15:1-47
Featured Image: James Tissot – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2007