C. S. Lewis is credited with first raising the question, "Do you believe Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or The Lord?" He raised the issue as a way of sharpening the question: "Who is Jesus?"
Even a casual reading of the teachings and proclamations of Jesus demands that we consider whether Jesus was telling the truth. In the various "I am" sayings of Jesus, along with a myriad of other statements, Jesus claims to be the chosen one of God, even claims to be "at one" with the Father. Jesus teaches with authority unlike other leaders and teachers of his day. He heals as a sign that God's kingdom is at hand. And he proclaims that the promises of God in the prophets of what we call the Old Testament are fulfilled in him.
So, what do we believe about Jesus? Was he a liar when he said and did all of those things? Or was he a deranged lunatic who was mistaken in his teachings and proclamations?
Or, was Jesus telling the truth, which means he is the Christ, the Messiah, The Lord?
Those seem to be our only choices. Is Jesus a Liar, a Lunatic, or The Lord?
Which is it for you? What do you believe about Jesus?
As we approach the Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we all must answer that question. Don't answer too quickly, even if you consider yourself a Christian. There is a big difference between believing in Jesus as Savior and also following Jesus as Lord. My "Bishop's Operational Team" (a group to advise me and help me lead) has just read the book "The Great Omission" by Dallas Willard in which he makes the point (these are my words): too much of what we call "evangelism" has simply invited people to be "saved" by accepting Jesus as Savior, but has neglected teaching people to be disciples who follow Jesus as Lord.
Following Jesus as Lord involves spiritual formation, discipline, growth in grace (that is our emphasis as United Methodists in the Wesleyan tradition), and moving on toward Christian Perfection (another Wesley term). The book makes the point that many Christians have committed the great "omission" even in the midst of following the "great commission" of Matthew 28; namely, we have invited people to accept Jesus as Savior but we have not invited them to live as disciples of Jesus as Lord. In fact, we have not ourselves modeled for the world what it means to follow Jesus as both Savior and Lord. Thus the "great omission."
So, don't answer too quickly the question about "liar, lunatic, or lord".
Consider what it means to allow Jesus to be Lord of your life before you answer.
I know my answer. It is summed up in the earliest of all Christian affirmations: Jesus is Lord. And I am striving to improve my own discipleship by allowing Jesus to lead me as Lord.
I hope he is Lord for you, too.