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Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: Accusations Against Jesus Answered

Don Stewart :: Is It Possible That Jesus Lied About Who He Was?

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Is It Possible That Jesus Lied About Who He Was?

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – Question 19

It is possible that Jesus actually made the claims attributed to Him in the New Testament yet His claims were not true. If this is the case then there are two, and only two, possibilities.

The first is that He knew He was not the Son of God yet He lied about His identity. The second option is that Jesus thought He was the Son of God, but was deluded or insane.

Was Jesus Christ A Liar?

Some people believe that Jesus Christ was indeed a liar. Jesus did make some fantastic claims about whom He was. He made Himself out to be the eternal God, the Creator of the universe and humankind’s only Savior. He consistently made these claims during His time here on earth. The question arises, “Is there any evidence that He lied about who He was?” We can make the following observations about this possibility.

There Is No Evidence For This Position

While it is theoretically possible that Jesus lied about Whom He was, there is certainly no evidence to suggest it. Everything we know about the character of Jesus testifies that He always told the truth. He underscored the fact that His words were truthful. John wrote,

The Pharisees said to him, “You testify on your own behalf, so your testimony isn’t true.” Jesus replied to them, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is true because I know where I came from and where I’m going. However, you don’t know where I came from or where I’m going. You judge the way humans do. I don’t judge anyone. Even if I do judge, my judgment is valid because I don’t make it on my own. I make my judgment with the Father who sent me. Your own teachings say that the testimony of two people is true. I testify on my own behalf, and so does the Father who sent me.” (John 8:13-18 God’s Word)

Jesus Himself clearly stated Whom He was. There is no doubt whatsoever about what He believed concerning Himself.

In another instance, John recorded Jesus making the following claims about Himself:

I am the way, the truth, and the life... (John 14:6b KJV)

He claimed to be “the truth.”

There were those who were not followers of Jesus which testified to His righteous character. The centurion who presided over His crucifixion testified to Jesus’ character. Mark wrote,

Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39 NRSV)

This Roman soldier who was not a follower of Jesus realized that this man who was being crucified was indeed someone special.

Therefore the totality of the evidence indicates that Jesus always told the truth. There is no indication that He lied about anything.

Jesus’ Testimony Was Consistent

If He were a liar, then He was a consistent liar up until the very end. He confessed to being the Messiah before His accusers. When Jesus made His confession, He did it while He was under oath. We read the following in Matthew:

But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” Jesus replied, “Yes, it is as you say. And in the future you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:63, 64 NLT)

Under oath, we find that Jesus Christ acknowledged that He was the promised Messiah.

This claim of Jesus caused the Jews to bring Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman leader, to be crucified. We read,

The Jewish leaders replied, “By our laws he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.” (John 19:7 NLT)

Even when Jesus went to His death, He never changed His testimony as to His identity. He was consistent to the very end.

There Was No Motivation to Lie

Furthermore, if one contends that Jesus lied about who He was, a motive needs to be found for His lying. People lie to gain some advantage. Yet one becomes hard-pressed to see any advantage in Jesus’ lying.

What advantage was there to being pressured night and day by the multitudes to perform acts of healing and forgive sin? What advantage was there to being a traveling preacher who had no place to call home?

We may rightly ask this question: what advantage was there to being put to death for claiming to be the Son of God, if He knew His claims were not true? He could have been released if He had only denied being the Christ. Why not simply admit that He was not?

The conclusion is that Jesus did not lie. He truly believed that He was whom the one whom He claimed to be.

There is more. Jesus not only believed His claims were true He provided clear and convincing evidence that they were true.

In the beginning verses of the Acts of the Apostles, we read about this evidence:

After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3 NRSV)

Jesus not only made the claims, He backed them up with undeniable evidence for all to see.

In sum, we find that there is no evidence whatsoever that Jesus Christ misrepresented who He was. None!

Summary – Question 19
Is It Possible That Jesus Lied about Who He Was?

If Jesus made the claims about Himself that are recorded in the New Testament, and if His claims were not true, then we only have two choices. He either knew they were true or He did not know. If He knew they were not true then Jesus would have been a liar.

Yet the evidence indicates that Jesus Christ did not deliberately lie about who He was or why He came to earth. There are a number of points which need to be made about this important question.

First, there is no evidence that Jesus lied about anything. Everything we know about Him indicates that He always told the truth. Even His enemies had to concede that He was a righteous man.

Second, the portrait the New Testament paints of Jesus Christ is consistent. If He lied about who He was, He lied all the way to His death. Indeed, Jesus was always certain of His identity as God the Son, the Promised Messiah. He never wavered from that belief.

Finally, there is no motivation for Jesus to lie about anything. There was no personal advantage to be gained for lying. Indeed, He had nothing to gain and everything to lose.

Consequently, we conclude that Jesus Christ did not lie about anything that He said. The evidence is that He truly believed that He was the One whom He claimed to be.

There is something else which needs to be considered. Jesus also backed up His astounding claims with sufficient evidence. In other words, His deeds supported His words.

Is It Possible That the Claims of Jesus Christ Were Legendary? ← Prior Section
Is It Possible That Jesus Was Insane? Next Section →
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