Is Jesus more than fiction? Feeding multitudes with a couple of loaves and fish, walking on water, exorcising demons, and raising the dead can be incomprehensible. So understandably, what we know of his life can appear to be a work of fiction. That’s why Jesus can be an embarrassment to us.
But if what Jesus said and did and claimed to be is actually true – we are in big trouble if we don’t acknowledge his right to run our lives. So the easiest way out of this is to say he never existed, that the Bible stories belong in the ‘fiction’ section of the library along with Gulliver’s Travels. The trouble is, there is too much firm evidence against such a view. We’d not only have to shift the Bible there, but heaps of other reliable historic writings as well! Even sceptical historians concede this.
So, what can we do with this ‘Jesus’ of history, the son of a Jewish girl who grew up in the home of a Jewish carpenter in Nazareth in the north of Israel? There is overwhelming evidence that he spoke captivating words, was humble, identified with the outcasts of his society, and was able to do amazing things. There is even stronger evidence that he was killed unjustly by being nailed to a cruel, Roman cross, and that the main case his opponents brought against him was his claim to be God, the Son of God come to earth in human form. Such a fate, in his early 30s, of a man committed to a peaceful and compassionate lifestyle, is incomprehensible if he didn’t in fact make such a claim.
So, what can we do with him? It is clear that we only have three choices: he was either a con man, or deluded by self-aggrandisement, or actually what he claimed to be. He was either liar, lunatic or Lord; he was either crooked, cracked or Christ.