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Opinions About Jesus

Rodney Dangerfield said, "My psychiatrist told me I was crazy and I said I wanted a second opinion. He said okay, you're ugly, too." Second opinions are not hard to come by in America. And third ones, and fourth, etc. We often hear in America that "everybody is entitled to their own opinion." But the truth was probably more accurately expressed by Madonna who said, "Everybody's entitled to my opinion."

Or Laurence J. Peter who said, "If I want your opinion, I'll give it to you" (both quotes from p 383 of The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners). You are well aware there are multiple opinions about Jesus Christ, even open controversy, sometimes heated. From those who say He was a hoax or myth or fraud to those who insist He was God come in the flesh and the only Savior of the world, there is no shortage of opinions about Jesus. The apostle John makes clear in John 7:43 that divergent opinions about Jesus are not new — "So there was a division among the people because of Him." Some believe Jesus is a great religious and moral teacher, to be respected and placed alongside other great religious and moral teachers like, say Buddha or Moses or Mohammed or the Dalai Lama, etc. Jesus' teaching that we ought to love our neighbor, be forgiving, and do to others as we want others to do to us gives Him a very high ranking in the hearts of millions. But many who are so affirming of Jesus on these kinds of teachings are alarmed at other things He had to say. His ranking in opinion polls goes way down, for instance, when He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6), spoken the night before He died on the cross in the middle of a discussion about how to get to the place He was going (the Father's house [John 14:1-6]). Take an opinion poll and you'll find it is popularly held that Jesus is indeed a way, a truth, and a life and that people can get to the Father through Him if they so choose. But to suggest Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that He is the one and only and exclusive way to the Father and, well, you know, that's just your opinion and a very narrow-minded one at that!

C. S. Lewis reminds us there are only two stark choices concerning Jesus. In Mere Christianity, he wrote: "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 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 a level with a man who says he is a poached egg — or else He would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. 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." An inspired writer says Jesus is the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:9). You may lightly brush these words aside, and millions do. But when we step from time into eternity, the question will not be what is your opinion of Jesus, but what is His opinion of you.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ