Merely a Wise Teacher or a Good Man?

Some men from my church have begun a study of the gospel of John and right now we are reading through and then meditating on the so-called Prologue of the gospel, John 1:1-18. This passage presents many of the themes that the evangelist will develop throughout the gospel account, themes that clearly display the Lord Jesus Christ as the unique Son of the living God and as the promised Messiah. The sad reality of our modern age, however, is that most people consider Jesus to be a “good man” or a wise teacher, but they certainly do not seriously entertain the notion that He is God in human flesh. So how would I respond to someone who told me that Jesus was merely a good man or a wise teacher?

“To accept your assessment of Jesus Christ as merely a good man or as a wise teacher, I would need to reject and disbelieve almost everything written in this prologue, and I would reject it all for no reason. To review some of the verses in the passage, verses 1-2 present Jesus as “the Word” and clearly claim that He is God. Verse 3 says He made the world and verse 4 declares Jesus to be the source of light and the source of life. Verse 14 says that He became flesh and lived on this earth and fully displayed God’s glory. Verse 18 declares that Jesus made the invisible God visible. All of these statements are written by an eyewitness to Jesus’ life. This eyewitness lived with Jesus day in and day out for three years and watched Him closely. John the eyewitness is relating fact, he is not inventing fiction. But if this is fiction, why would John write this fiction? Why would John now, 50 or 60 years after Jesus is dead and buried, invent a larger-than-life legend about a man who claimed to be God in human flesh? And if Jesus was just a mere man, where is the evidence that He was merely a good man or a wise teacher? That is, where is the eyewitness account that relates to us the life of a Jesus of Nazareth who performed no miracles, who was not virgin-born, who did not die on a Roman cross and who did not rise from the dead? Where is the account of Jesus’ life that tells us of His goodness, but stops short of declaring His sinlessness; that tells of His wisdom and power, but makes no claims of deity? In word and in fulfilled prophecy and in deed, Jesus is displayed as God in human flesh. Why would anyone believe otherwise?”

SDG          rmb          1/6/2019

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