There’s no denying that Jesus Christ ranks high among the most controversial figures in human history. Orthodox Christians believe that Jesus Christ is both true God (the second Person of the Trinity) and true man (the Incarnate Son of God). But that claim has not sat well with others. During His own earthly ministry people debated His identity (Mark 8:27–30). The apostles and early church fathers countered many heresies that questioned Jesus’ divinity or humanity.
Today, we frequently see books and documentaries claiming to uncover Christ’s true identity. Some claim Jesus was no different than other religious teachers. As I’ve been at work on my own book comparing Jesus to other religious figures, it is abundantly obvious that Christ stands as unique. C. S. Lewis critiques such claims in his book Mere Christianity.
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 the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon 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. He did not intend to.
What did Jesus Himself claim to be? To help answer this question, I offer links to RTB resources on Jesus’ identity claims, plus book recommendations.
“Jesus: Man, Myth, Madman?” (podcast)
“Did Jesus Really Consider Himself to Be God?” (article)
“Who Was the Real Jesus?” (article)
“‘Jesus, Our Emmanuel’” (article)
“Jesus and the Gospels” (article by guest writer Dennis Ingolfsland)
“The Great Claims of Jesus” (list compiled by Hugh Ross)
Jesus: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Bauckham (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011)
Fabricating Jesus: How Modern Scholars Distort the Gospels by Craig A. Evans (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006)
Who Is This Jesus? by Michael Green (Vancouver: Regent College Publishing, 1992)
Jesus, Divine Messiah by Robert. L. Reymond (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1990)