Is Jesus A Liar, Lunatic or Lord of All?

Bible Book: Selected Passages 
Subject: Jesus, Nature of; Lord Jesus Christ

This morning we come to the concluding message in the sequence of sermons entitled "Great Questions That Deserve An Honest Answer." By the way, we have some people in our church who have earned the right to wear a lapel pin that has two question marks on it. Those who wear that pin are certified Evangelism Explosion trainers. And when you go through Evangelism Explosion, you are instructed to enter into a witnessing experience by asking these two questions.

The first question is: If you were to die today, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven to be with the Lord?

The second question is: Suppose you were to die and stand before God and He were to ask you, "Why should I ask you into my heaven?" What would you say? Now, those are some great questions that deserve honest answers. This morning we're going to look at another question that is really summed up in Matthew 22:42. Let's turn to that verse of scripture and read it for our scripture lesson this morning (read).

Well, "What think ye of Christ?" Would you dare say that He is a liar? Would you venture to conclude that He is a lunatic? Can you say with absolute assurance this morning that Jesus Christ is Lord of all? Judged by human standards of success, the life of Jesus Christ was a pathetic failure. He was born in a manger. He lived the life of a peasant. His family was poor, and for thirty years He lived in an obscure village of Palestine working as a carpenter. His own brothers thought He was mad and tried to discourage Him when He started out to preach. His teachings were hated and scoffed at by the theologians of that day. Some of His followers came from the lowest level of society. His intimate friends misunderstood Him, and in the end, like cowards, let Him die alone at the hand of His enemies. He died on a skull shaped hill between two thieves. He was buried in a borrowed grave. He never wrote a book. He never commanded an army. He never addressed a senate or spoke to an applauding parliament. He never occupied a throne. At age 33 He perished in torture and disgrace and died an ignominious death upon a cruel cross. Yet, Jesus spoke about himself in a way that is simply astonishing. He declared that he was a teacher whose doctrines should be accepted without question. He declared that he was the perfect example of human character and conduct. He emphasized his own sinlessness. He said that he would rise from the dead, that he would be the final judge of the world, that he was equal with God in power and authority. Indeed, he even asserted that he was God. Yes, he commanded his disciples to love him, obey him, follow him, sacrifice for him, believe in him, worship him, and if need be, die for him exactly as they would for God. Now, in the light of these assertions, what are we to think concerning Jesus Christ? Faced as you are with these amazing claims and all their implications, what is your opinion regarding him?

One thing at least you must admit: this strange carpenter of Galilee, who somehow steps across twenty centuries and breaks into our lives even today, cannot be pushed to one side as a profound teacher and nothing more, or a courageous martyr and nothing more, or a religious genius and nothing more. For if Jesus was, and is, really God as he claimed to be, you cannot with knowing condescension dismiss him as a mere teacher, or a mere martyr, or a mere genius. If he really was and is God incarnate, you must fall before him in adoring faith and love and surrender. If his claim is false, you must agree that this Galilean carpenter was either a liar or a lunatic. He must have been one or the other if he was not God incarnate. Now, which was he?

I. Was He A Liar?

Is that what he was? Look in John 10:33 (read). Here the Jews called Jesus a liar and a   blasphemer. Is that what he was? Do you remember in Luke, chapter 5, when Jesus encountered the disciples who'd been out on the Sea of Galilee fishing all night? They were distraught and they were discouraged. Jesus said to them, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught." And Jesus was assuring them, if they would do what he said, that they would catch fish.  Did he lie? No, he did not lie. The Bible says, "And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake" (Luke 5:6). Do you remember in Matthew, chapter 11, when Jesus declared that Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum would be destroyed because of their unbelief? And of Capernaum, Jesus said, "...for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day." Jesus predicted that these unbelieving cities would fall, never to rise again. Did he lie? Indeed, he did not. And those who visit the land of Israel today can view the rubble of Capernaum, a devastated site where no man lives. When Jesus foretold the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem, and the time when one stone would not be left upon another, did he lie? No, he did not lie. Jerusalem fell to the Roman armies in 70 AD after a desperate siege in which the inhabitants were actually reduced to cannibalism, and in which the city had to be taken literally stone by stone. Josephus, the Jewish historian, says that 1,100,000 people perished in the siege, and 97,000 people were carried away into captivity. The Jewish nation was obliterated and the temple was utterly destroyed, just as Jesus said. Did Jesus lie when he told Martha that her brother Lazarus would "rise again?" No, a thousand times no! For when Jesus stood before the grave of Lazarus and cried, "Lazarus, come forth," the Bible says, "And he that was dead came forth." Did Jesus lie when he said to Peter, "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." Certainly not! Read Luke 22 and you will see that Jesus told the absolute truth. Did Jesus lie when he said to his disciples, "Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again." No, he did not lie. In fact, it happened precisely as he predicted it would happen. And at the Last Supper, did Jesus lie when he said, "Behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me at the table." No, Jesus did not lie! He was aware of the duplicity that was in the heart of Judas. Of course, you know, after the betrayal of Judas, Jesus was apprehended, falsely accused and brought before the Jewish council. And in Mark 14:61 the high priest asked him, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And do you remember what Jesus said? He said, "I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." And the Bible says that the high priest rent his clothes, and said, "What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned   him to be guilty of death."

Now, Josh McDowell, in his book Evidence That Demands A Verdict, says, "If when Jesus made his claims he knew that he was not God, then he was lying. But if he was a liar, then he was also a hypocrite, because he told others to be honest whatever the cost, while himself teaching and living a colossal lie. And more than that, he was a demon, because he told others to trust him for their eternal destiny. If he could not back up his claims and knew it, then he was unspeakably evil. And finally,    he would be a fool, because it was his claims to being God that led to his crucifixion." But was    Jesus a liar? No! Did he ever pervert the truth? No! Was he, or is he, a deceiver? No! The devil is a liar and the father of lies. But Jesus is the truth - "the truth that sets men free." Indeed, Jesus Christ  is "the way, the truth and the life."

II. Was He A Lunatic?

Look in John 10:20 (read). Well, was he a lunatic? Was he a deluded fanatic? George Bernard Shaw, to whom nothing and nobody was sacred, ventured to assert that Jesus was "a man who was sane until Peter hailed him as the Christ, and who then became a monomaniac." Is that a fair analysis of Christ? That is basically what the Jews said after Jesus had presented himself as "the good shepherd" in John 10. They said, "He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?" But in that same conversation, I want you to know what Jesus said in response to their charge that he was a madman (read John 10:36-38). So Jesus demonstrated by his works that he was not an insane man, a lunatic. Did not the hungry multitude see a few small loaves and fishes multiply before their eyes so that thousands were fed, and twelve baskets full of broken fragments remained? Did not the disciples, fearful of perishing in a storm that whipped the sea into a rage, hear him rebuke the winds and the waves until the howling of the stormy winds became as lovers' whispers, and until the heaving waves became as quiet as sleeping dogs at their master's feet? Had they not seen the barren fig tree wither under his words? Were there not three of them present on the mountain when they saw him in the white light of glory with Moses, 1500 years dead, and with Elijah who had never died; standing beside him and talking with him while his divine face shown like the sun, and his garments were whiter than the luminous sun-kissed snow? Did not Jesus bring noonday to eyes where only midnight had been? Did he not melt the frozen fountains of speech for the dumb? Did he not make deaf ears to become sensitive to voices as soft as whispers? Did he not make the lame to walk? Did he not break up funeral processions and make death yield at its prey? Are these the works of a lunatic? Are these the deeds of a madman? No, a trillion times no! Well then, since Jesus Christ cannot be pushed aside as a liar or waved away as a lunatic,

What conclusions must we draw?

III. Is He Lord Of All?

Jesus Christ is what he claimed to be! He is the Lord of glory, deity incarnate; God humbling himself to become man in order to redeem his lost creation. And we do Jesus a great injustice to talk about him as a teacher or a martyr or a religious genius. Instead, we must recognize him as the Lord of all. Let us consider what some have said about Jesus Christ.

Pilate, what is your opinion of Christ? "I find no fault in this man." And you, Judas, who have sold your master for thirty pieces of silver -- have you some fearful charge to hurl against him? "I have sinned in that I have betrayed innocent blood." And you, centurion and soldiers, who led him to the cross, what have you to say against him? "Truly, this was the Son of God." And what about you demons, you cohorts of the devil, what do you have to say? "He is the Son of God." John the Baptist, what think you of Christ? "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world." And what about you, John the apostle, what do you say? "He is the bright and morning star." Peter, what do you say of your master? "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And what about you, Thomas, now that you have seen him raised from the dead? "My Lord and my God." And, Paul, you were responsible for persecuting the church. What do you have to say? "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Angels of heaven, what think you of Jesus Christ? "For unto you is born a Savior which is Christ the Lord." And, dear Father in heaven, you are omniscient. You know all things. What do you think of Christ? "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."

You see, we believe that Edison was an electrician because he demonstrated it by his great inventions. His works proved him an electrical genius. We believe Sir Walter Scott was a man of unquestionable literary ability because of the many books he wrote. We believe Handel to be a great composer because of his musical productions. We believe Faraday was a great scientist because of his inventive work in induction. We believe that Ty Cobb stands at the forefront as a baseball player because of his batting average of .367 for 24 years. We believe that Jim Brown was a great football player because he gained over 12,000 yards in his nine-year professional career, and averaged 5.2 yards a carry. We believe that George Washington was a great leader because he mobilized his little rag-tag army to secure independence for our nation. We believe that Jenner was a pioneer in scientific medicine because he developed the vaccine that was effective against the dreaded disease of smallpox. We believe that Galileo was a great astronomer because he developed the telescope, magnifying the power of the human eye 250 times, and was the forerunner of telescopes that now enable us to view landscapes millions of miles away. We believe that Gladstone was a great statesman and Christian because of his personality, and because of the truth that in Christ his mighty intellect found anchorage, in Christ his impetuous temper found restraint, and in Christ his versatile personality found fulfillment. But we believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all because he is the one who is God eternally, inherently, without cause, without beginning, without mutation, without measure, without end -- the preexistent One who was embodied in human flesh, demonstrated in human life, exemplified in human action, and crystallized in human form.

Listen to what men have said about the Lord of all: St. Augustine was of the intelligencia of his day. But as a youth he broke his mother's heart when he fled from God. He tried everything. He first gave his life to the search of unbridled passion and pleasure, and wine, women and song as the fulfillment of his life. But he found that that kind of life led to bitterness and disappointment. He then turned radically from that to the life of an aesthetic. But this did not satisfy the deepest needs of his life. And so he turned to the deeper things of philosophy. But still there was no satisfaction. At last, in his relentless pursuit, he turned to religion. He read the scriptures, but the Bible was as dry as dust to his taste. Finally, there came the day when in a garden in Milan he heard the voice of a child singing over the wall, "Take up and read, take up and read." He was mystified by the sound of the voice.     But he went over to a table, and there lying open was a Bible. He picked it up and read it. And his eyes turned to the words: "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof." Instantly Augustine was transformed by the almighty power of God. He became a new man. All of his gigantic intellectual powers were focused on the glory of Jesus Christ. He had come to the place where he could say, "Jesus Christ is Lord." Look to the great intellects of other nations.

Think of Germany and see there the great genius of Martin Luther, which finally discovered the grace of God. Every single fiber in his being from that day forward was given over to one thing, and that was to glorify Jesus Christ as the Lord of life.

Or go to Russia. Perhaps the greatest genius in Russia has been Fedor Dostoevski. His achievements in the realm of literature moved Russia as no one had before. As a young man he called himself an atheist and a Marxist and was arrested by the Czar and condemned to die. He managed to escape death and was condemned to nearly ten years in Siberia. At the bleak and dismal prison camp were two old women who passed by him in the courtyard and shoved something roughly into his hand. He grasped it and held on for his life. It was a New Testament. He began to read it. He devoured it. He read it over and over again. He discovered there the answer to all of his seeking. He received and embraced Jesus Christ as his Lord, his God, his All in All. He memorized most of the New Testament, and all of his subsequent writings are drenched in its concepts. He declared, "My creed is this: there is nothing lovelier, nothing deeper, nothing more sympathetic, nothing more rational, nothing more manly, nothing more perfect than Christ. He is everything to me. For me, Jesus is Lord of all."


There are not enough hours in the day to describe the many millions who could be added to the list, but let me close with a man whose commitment certainly could be seen as absolute surrender and total allegiance -- a man by the name of Richard Wurmbrand, a Lutheran pastor who was kidnapped by the Communist and spent fourteen years in a Communist prison. For the first three of those years he was placed in a small cell several dozen feet below the surface of the ground, with only a tube bringing air into his cell. He saw not the light of day, nor the stars of night. He knew not whether it was summer or winter, day or night, or even what year it was. For three years he sat in that prison in absolute solitary confinement with nothing but the continuous 24-hour-a-day taped Communist propaganda pumped into his cell. "God is dead. Christianity is dead. Christians have forsaken you. Your wife has married another person. Your children are Communists. They hate you, would spit in your face if they could see you." In those three years, he said, "I knew not one moment of boredom." He'd preached sermons to himself, wrote in his mind letters to his wife, and said, "If Christianity is dead, I will weep at her tomb until she rises again." He received one bowl of broth a day, which reduced him to a walking skeleton. And with 50 pounds of chains on his hand and his ankles, he decided that he would dance for joy. Remembering David who danced before the Lord, he danced in his cell in absolute darkness, singing praises to God. At last, however, the drugs, the beatings, the torture took its toll. And after many years he could no longer remember any scripture. He had not seen a Bible for 14 years. The drugs had so blurred his mind that he could no longer remember the Lord's Prayer, except "Our Father, Our Father." And he said all he could do was repeat the name of Jesus. And then at last he could no longer even articulate that. And he said his last conscious articulate thoughts were, "Blessed Jesus, from this point on you will have to listen merely to the beating of a loving heart."

Listen, I am more and more convinced that there is nothing in this world lovelier, nothing better, nothing really worth living for other than Jesus Christ. He becomes the measure of all things. Nothing has significance but in its light and relationship to Him. There is nothing worth expending our energies for but Him. There is really nothing worthwhile but Christ. Blessed Redeemer, Creator of the galaxies, Savior of those who trust in Him, Lord of heaven and earth! Amen!