This is an impossible dichotomy that many of you try to integrate into your lives. But the man you respect has not left that open as a possibility. The claims he made regarding the Father. The claims he made of himself as Son. These things do not leave open the possibility to respect him without forsaking all other paths to follow him.
Jesus Christ made the following claims, do you respect these fundamental claims of his teachings?
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 10:32, 33
He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the FAther, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.
Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one who has left houses or brothers or sister or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.
Matthew 19:28, 29
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’and not do what I tell you? Every one who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep, and laid the foundation upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But he who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation; against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be taught by God.’
John 6:44, 45
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood, has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live becasue of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”
Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe m. Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”
The Jews then said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.”So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.”
“Do you believe in the Son of man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who speaks to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe”; and he worshiped him.
I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
John 11:25, 26
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no one comes to the Father, but by me.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “You have believed because you have seen me. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.”
John 20:28, 29
Jesus is not a philosopher. He is not a moral teacher. He speaks directly of knowledge of God. His purpose was not to write a self-help Oprah book. His purpose was not to bring a feel good spirituality to be sit alongside other religions or spiritualities. He came to do the Father’s will. He came to save souls from the lies of the world and conform them to truth, and truth is not relative. He claimed to be of God. He claimed to be God. He claimed to be the only way to God and to eternal life.
We either accept that what Jesus is true, or we must declare that he is a liar (or a lunatic). But we are not given the option to believe that he was some great moral teacher and nothing more.
Many atheists hate this trichotomy of Lord, liar, or lunatic, and will come up with many reasons why we have a plethora of ways to see Jesus, but they are all variations of these three choices, and only one of these makes Jesus worthy of honor.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg–or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool 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.