“I didn’t expect to score two goals,” the Portugal legend said. “I expected one but not two. It was an unbelievable moment.” These words could only be spoken by one man, and if you have any interest in football you’ll know who it is. Cristiano Ronaldo, in his first match after returning to Manchester United, scored two goals when he only expected to score one. Does every footballer expect to score a goal? Of course not. They hope to score but they don’t expect to score. That’s not the way normal footballers think, but Ronaldo is not normal. He’s proved himself to be one of the greatest footballers we’ve ever seen with a truly enviable list of achievements and we will probably never see his like again.
Sometimes when Ronaldo speaks he sounds so arrogant, like when he says he expects to score or tells you he’s the world’s best player. Is he arrogant? Some would say yes but I’ll say no because he genuinely believes that what he says is the truth. Speaking the truth is not arrogance.
Jesus made some extraordinary claims about himself. He once declared, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” (1) In other words, if you want to have your sins forgiven so that you can be reconciled to God it’s only possible through Jesus. What he stated as truth then is still applicable today. You can choose to follow Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Atheism if you want but they will not bring you to God. That’s only possible through Jesus. He also said about himself, “The Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.” (2) Only the one who created life can give life and that’s a claim that Jesus made for himself. This man who walked amongst men was claiming to be the great Creator God. As just one final claim to present to you, Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (3) Apart from those who deluxe themselves we live with the knowledge that one day we may have to be judged for what we have done in this life. Jesus boldly tells us that if we hear and believe we will not be judged but will be assured of eternal life
I’m reminded of the Christian writer C.S. Lewis, author of the Narnia Chronicles, when he wrote about Jesus. He knew of these claims that he made, and more besides, and he argued logically that a man who makes such claims about himself could only be one of three things. Either he was a madman, a liar or he was telling the truth. Many people suffer from a ‘divinity complex’ believing they are God. It’s a diagnosed condition whose character traits are well known: egotism, narcissism, inflexibility, dullness, predictability, inability to understand and love others as they really are, and to creatively relate to others. In other words, this is the polar opposite of the personality of Jesus. It doesn’t make any sense to consider Jesus to be a madman. Is he a liar? If so, that would make him a bad man who spent his life deluding people and giving false hope. Peter Kreeft, a professor from Boston University said, “If he is a liar he would have to be the cleverest, cunning, blasphemously wicked, satanic deceiver, the world has ever known. And if therefore, Christianity is a lie, it is by far the biggest maddest lie ever told, and Jesus is the biggest and maddest liar.” That doesn’t fit with the Jesus we know, does it? Even people who deny his divinity accept that he was a great teacher, sincere in all he said and did. Besides, a liar does not give up his life for a lie.
That only leaves one conclusion. If Jesus is neither mad nor bad he must be God. Everything he says must be true. Everything he does must have a purpose and that is true above all else of his death. Jesus is indeed the Son of God. He indeed chose to die to take the punishment for our sins. It’s true that if we hear his word and believe in the one who sent him we will have eternal life. Indeed, we won’t be judged for our sins. Christian Ronaldo was not being arrogant when he said he expected to score a goal. He was being honest. Jesus was not being arrogant when he said we could live forever through him. He was telling the truth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.
- John 14:6
- John 5:21
- John 5:24