Since there is little likelihood that Jesus' claim to deity is legend or myth, we should expect to find something in his words and actions that suggest he thought of himself as divine. Jesus' self-perception as God is clearly seen in the various Gospel accounts.
Jesus claimed to be God:
- He believed he had the power to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matt. 11:2-5. Luke 11:20).
- Jesus claimed to determine people's eternal destiny (Luke 12:8-9).
- Jesus placed his personal authority over the Law of God (Matt. 5).
- In Mark 2:5-7, Jesus shows he believed he had the power to forgive sins. The scribes reacted by saying, "Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
- The most explicit claims to deity are found in John's gospel where Jesus claims, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30), and "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). There is no reason to hold that these passages are merely the result of the over-developed imagination of John, since Jesus' self-conception as God is already evident in the earlier three gospels.
Was this True or False?
Liar or Lunatic?
Since Jesus claimed to be God, his claims are either true or false.
If false, he either knew it was false or he didn’t.
If false, he must have been a liar, deliberately misleading the multitudes.
Or, he was a lunatic, sincerely believing himself to be God, when in reality He was just a man. This is kind of like me thinking I’m Bill Gates or someone!
Jesus' brilliant moral character and his willingness to die for his claim to be God have convinced most people that he was not lying. Jesus' humility, warmth and unselfish love, his quick and skillful thinking in dealing with his opponents, his intelligent communication with the multitudes, and his amazing self-control and composure in the midst of the tremendous physical and emotional stress of his betrayal and crucifixion, all point to his contact with reality. Jesus was no lunatic.
If Jesus was not a legend and he claimed to be God, then, as we've said, his claim is either true or false. If it is false, he must have been a liar or a lunatic. Since the evidence shows he is neither a liar nor a lunatic, then the only other alternative left is that his claim is true. Jesus is Lord and God. That affects everything!
[Summarised from Chapter 14 of Art Lindsley's book C.S. Lewis' Case for Christ]