IS JESUS THE SON OF THE CREATOR?
By Rev. Ernest O'Neill
So the real issue is, looking at this man's life, is he the Son of our Creator? Was he divine? The issue is not, is he "A son of God?" There are plenty of people like Jehovah's Witnesses who will say, "We're all sons of God and Jesus is a son of God." But was this Jesus the unique Son of God, who knew the Creator before the world was created? Is Jesus the Son of our Maker?
He talked with the authority of the Son of our Creator, that's what they said. They said, "He teaches with authority, not like the scribes. He teaches as if he knows these things." He made this the crucial question in his whole career. He did. He made this the central issue. He said, "Whom do men say that I am?" He didn't go around about it. He said, "Whom do men say that I am"? And Peter said, "You're the Son of the Blessed." Then he said, "Blessed are you that flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but My Father, who is in heaven."
In fact, his contemporaries opposed him because he said he was the Son of God. That's why they tried to kill him. They said, "He treats God as his own father and he makes himself equal with God." That is so, loved ones. Jesus never avoided the whole claim that he was the unique Son of our Creator and he talked that way.
That's why they executed him. Did you realize that? They didn't execute him because of his teachings. They were prepared to accept his teachings, but they executed him because he was God's Son. And the amazing thing is that at the very point when he could have saved himself by denying that, he didn't. Maybe you'd look at it in Mark 14:61. It's during the trial before the high priest.
"But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?' And Jesus said, 'I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." And the high priest tore his mantle, and said, 'Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?' And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, 'Prophesy!' And the guards received him with blows."
That's why I'd ask you to examine this man's life and claims in the light of the other possibilities, besides the fact that he may be the Son of God. Just examine them. You know them because we've talked about them before.
First of all, he was a liar. That's the first possibility. He knew he was not God's Son but in order to lend authority to his teaching, he pretended he was God's Son. But could I point out to you what one skeptic in Britain said? This man called John Stuart Mill was a well-known economist and philosopher and he rejected Christianity utterly. Could I read you what he said?
"Above all, the most valuable part of the effect on the character which Christianity has produced by holding up in a divine person a standard of excellence and a model for imitation, is available even to the absolute unbeliever and can never more be lost to humanity. For it is Christ, rather than God, whom Christianity has held up to believers as the pattern of perfection for humanity."
Men like John Stuart Mill believed there is one supreme moral teacher in the universe and that is Jesus of Nazareth. In other words, wherever you go among philosophers, they'll all agree with this, "He is the supreme ethical teacher that our world has ever seen. His teachings are more sublime than any others and his life is more in conformity with his teaching."
Now, how could that be? How can we say that? If this man, on the most crucial point of his teaching, is a liar? How can you? How can you say that this man, whom the whole world regards as the foremost ethical teacher in our era, how can we say that this man who taught better than anybody else, who lived closer to what he taught than anybody else, on the central issue of his own identity, lied to us?
Do you see it makes foolishness of our whole system of logic? It makes foolishness of us, ourselves. If this man was a liar, he can't have been the great ethical teacher that everybody talks about. He either lied or he was a great ethical teacher.