In Mark 3:21 (the second verse of our passage tomorrow morning), we see a segment of the crowd following Jesus who say, “He is out of his mind.” Before you bristle at their assessment, you have to give them a little credit. If we were there to observe all Jesus said and did, you and I would have to face the same choice: He was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. Those who said He was “out of his mind” simply chose behind door 2. I think they were dead wrong, but at least they were intellectually honest. Here are two quotes that I will be citing tomorrow. I have used (or paraphrased) the Lewis quote many times before, but it is just too perfect for this passage to leave out.
C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:
“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 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 with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to….” “We are faced, then, with a frightening alternative. This man we are talking about either was (and is) just what He said, or else a lunatic, or something worse. Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God. God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.”
Josh McDowell brings it home and makes it personal:
“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 the Lord. You must make a choice.”