I've heard often the quote of CS Lewis that goes along the lines that eventually you have to take the words of Jesus seriously: that either he was a mad man or what he said was true; and if you take his words as true you should start following Him. (Gulp I've even used it myself in sermons....)
I've come to the conclusion that its a fairly duellist type of question. There is pressure for listeners to make some sort of response. It is a typical sort of question that you would expect from CS Lewis in the era close to the end of modernity. My response now is that it is a fair to ask the questions who is Jesus?
Who you think Jesus was will ultimately require a response. Some repsonses that I've read heard::
- Jesus never existed (not even Dawkins has this position)
- Jesus was a Jewish mystic (There is a lot more in this position than is often published)
- Jesus was the Son of God, God. (A 'Christian' response)
- Jesus was a political revolutionary (A fair response, which is often the 'social justice' Christians Jesus)
Thus my reading of the book by the author Albert Schweitzer. "The quest for the historical Jesus" Which was the first book to really question the 'Historical Jesus'.
This is the first book to my knowledge that I've ever read translated German. It is also an old book written over one hundred years ago. It is not an easy read.
From what I can understand Schweitzer wrote this book as a historical response to German theologians who examine Jesus life purely through a rationalist lenses.
Some inital thoughts so far::
The German theologicans would think of every conceivable rationalist answer in responce to Jesus and the miraculous they are quite amusing::
- Luke the 'physican' carried around a bag of medicine so for example when it came to the demonic he would give the sufferer a 'sedative'
- Around Jesus time 'early burial' often happened prior to actual death: As in Jesus case.
- Jesus didn't die he went to India