It’s the Jesus everyone is comfortable with – the good guy, the great teacher, the wise philosopher, the warm, fuzzy, nice guy Jesus who looks on my life (no matter what I’ve been up to) and smiles with the concern of a friend who thinks you’ve been drinking too much.
We can manage that Jesus.
But, there’s a problem with the Jesus everyone is comfortable with. Apart from our imaginations, he doesn’t exist.
The Jesus found in historical documents (don’t forget the books of the Bible are historical documents) was not a “good man”.
Good men don’t say the kinds of things Jesus said. Lunatics do.
So, was Jesus a lunatic? The evidence is pretty strong.
The last time I saw someone parading around the street telling people he was God, my mind didn’t waste any time identifying him as a crazy man . . . because that’s what crazy people do, they say ludicrous things.
Normal people – good men – don’t do that. But, Jesus did, all the time.
Here’s one of many examples. In John 8:58, while speaking to a crowd of Jews, Jesus said, “ . . . before Abraham was, I am.”
Our 21st Century ears might not get that right away but those listening did. They understood perfectly what Jesus was saying and did the only logical thing to do under the circumstances. They picked up stones to kill him, hoping for a good head shot. Jesus was claiming to be God – to the Jews, a blasphemous lie worthy of death.
So, which is it? Did the Jews have it right and Jesus is a liar or is he just nuts – a crazy man, making ridiculous claims?
The one option that isn’t left on the table is that Jesus is merely a good man, going about life saying the things good people say.
Other than the Jews in the Bible, I’ve never heard anyone claim that Jesus was a liar (good men aren’t liars) and I’ve never heard anyone say that Jesus was a crazed lunatic (good men aren’t crazy).
So why do people default to the most illogical conclusion of all: Jesus was a good man, a great teacher, a moral leader, a great philosopher?
Let’s not forget that Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the father except through me.”
That Jesus is a little harder to manage.
Sorry, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, Gandhi (etc., etc., etc.,) Jesus is not a team player.
So, why does this “Jesus was a good man” mantra persist?
There is a very simple reason.
It’s because of what good men have in common with lunatics and liars: You don’t have to listen to what they say.
Few, today, call Jesus a liar or a crazy man, so they default to the next best acceptable designation. Calling Jesus a ‘good man’ is simply nice away of saying, “I can appreciate him, but I don’t have to listen to him.”
Concluding Jesus was a good man is by far the most absurd, illogical assessment of the evidence possible. Doing so proves that either your ignorant of what is in the Bible or you know, but don’t care about the facts.
“Mr. Nice Guy” won’t fly if we care at all about the evidence and apply a little logic to it. So, where does that leave us?
There’s one more option: Jesus Christ was exactly Who he repeatedly claimed to be.
If that is true, we do have to listen to what He said.
The Bible says Jesus first came as the suffering servant of mankind, taking on himself the sin of the whole world. But, it also says, He is returning as the conquering King and, when He returns . . .
“ . . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth; And every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10
Did you catch that . . . every knee . . .? That means those who believe and love His appearing will bow willingly and everyone else will be forced to acknowledge Who He is.
Bow before Him now, or bow later but, make no mistake, you will bow before Him.
No, you can’t manage a Jesus like that because He is so much more than merely the good guy next door.
The Bible says the King is coming. He’s not crazy, he’s not a liar, and he’s certainly not a good man.
Jesus Christ is the Lord of Glory.
Maybe He will come today . . . or maybe you’ll get killed in a car accident . . . or maybe you’re old and will die in your bed tonight.
We do not know what today may bring us.
Are you ready to meet Him, face to face?
Matt Jacobson is a biblical marriage coach and founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).