What should we do with this man called Jesus?

Monday Musings for April 22, 2019

Good morning, Musers,

Talk about good timing! Yesterday was Easter… and this adds some real pith to today’s question. Was Jesus delusional? I don’t think so — and I’ll share a few of my reasons — but also, I hope that’s not so.

You see, our salvation simply hangs on Jesus… and yes… that sad pun was intended. The thing is, Jesus is our kinsman-redeemer, and it’s important to know that he was of sound mind when he went to the cross. He went there in our stead… and he went there with full knowledge of what he was about to go through (Luke 22:42).

By way of contrast, if he were a deluded man who got swept up by history and found himself at the cross, then he was one unfortunate guy. He would have been a man who died the most famous death in history — but with no purpose!

Pontius Pilate was one among many people who didn’t quite know what to do with Jesus. So, he commissioned a poll. “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked the assembled crowd (Matthew 27:22). This is simultaneously the most important question in history… and the biggest cop-out ever. To see why let me put Pilate’s poll to you: what will you do with this man Jesus?

If you’ve never received Jesus as Savior, please do immediately… because nothing is more important than securing your eternal destiny. But if you are already saved, then there are still things for you to do. We believers should be in a constant process of evaluating our lives — trying to find new ways to serve his kingdom. That’s how it goes with this man Jesus. There is always something to “do” with him… for him… and about him.

But why was Pilate’s poll also a cop-out? Look at the people’s response. “They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’” … and the many who dismiss him today are doing that same thing. But Pilate — who thought that his administering Jesus’ fate got him off the hook about personally deciding what to do about him — did not skate — and here’s the lesson: you can wash your hands of Jesus all you want… but he just won’t go away. Jesus’ impact on the world must be addressed.

This is where CS Lewis’s trilemma comes in handy; it shows us that there are only three logical ways to respond to Jesus. If Jesus lied about who he was, then we could dismiss him as a fraud. If he was insane, then we could dismiss him as a mad man. But if he was the Lord… then… there’s quite a bit we have to “do” about this man Jesus.

But what about the first two ideas? Is it possible that Jesus was putting us on or that he was mad? We explore those today.

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