Madman or God-Man?

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by Precarious Yates

In his book Mere Christianity, the great apologist C.S. Lewis put forth these three possibilities: Jesus Christ was either a liar of the highest order, a delusional madman, or a exactly what He claimed to be: God made Man. This is something every person encountering Jesus must wrestle with. Is He who He claims to be?

And it’s not to be answered lightly.

When the Israelite given instructions of how to celebrate the Passover, they were told they had to eat the WHOLE lamb. Since Jesus is our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7), we cannot pick and choose parts of Him while ignoring the rest. For instance, we cannot say He was a good teacher and nothing else. We cannot, on the other hand, accept that He is the Son of God and ignore His teachings.

There are some teachings that are harder than others. I have been reading the passage about the Unjust Steward (Luke 16:1) for years and still don’t understand it! But there are other teachings that do make sense and are even more difficult to come to terms with. These are the ones we need to look at closely and pray about. What about where He says the dead need to bury their own dead? Or the part where He said that family members will turn on each other.

One of the most difficult of all is from Luke 14:26: 

“If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple.”

These sayings may immediately hit up against a few walls. First, there’s everything else Jesus said. Then there may be wall of what we know to be true about God. Also, there’s a lot of noise out there in the world. A great deal of that noise would say that Jesus is a madman if He says this sort of thing. We have to decide. We have to choose.

The Passion Translation may help us understand what’s going on a bit better in Luke 14:26: 

When you follow me as my disciple, you must put aside your father, your mother, your wife, your sisters, your brothers—yes, you will even seem as though you hate your own life. This is the price you’ll pay to be considered one of my followers.”

Dr. Simmons, the translator for The Passion Translation, gives this insight about the phrase ‘put aside’: 

“Or “hate.” This is an Aramaic and Hebraic metaphor for putting Jesus above every other relationship. The Aramaic word sna has several meanings and can mean “hate” or “put aside.” In this case, Jesus, the King of love is not saying to hate but to put aside every other relationship into second place. The meaning becomes quite clear in the Aramaic language.”

I’m not ready to give answers yet, but I encourage you to pray and seek the answers out with me. We have two choices before us: come to terms with everything Jesus says, or take offense at Him. He has shown Himself to me as glorious and wonderful. I don’t want to give up on that relationship and give in to bitterness. The best part is that we can wrestle through these questions with Him! But know that we might, like Jacob, walk away from that encounter forever changed (see Gen. 32).

Things are going to get more confusing as the world progresses on its current path. The words of Jesus will become hateful when filtered through most of today’s current philosophies. It’s important that we not only have light on these matters, but that we shine the light we receive and love of Christ to others. If we love Jesus and seek to understand even His most difficult sayings, we will be a beacon pointing to the hope that so many need and desire.

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.

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