Lunatic, Liar or Lord?

Jesus Christ is arguably the greatest person who has ever lived. He divides history itself into BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini, Latin for the year of Our Lord). Most people concede Jesus was a great teacher. All the world religions revere him as a great prophet. Even Humanists admire his teachings of equality, love, forgiveness and humility.
One of the most obvious things we learn from the gospels is Jesus’ authority. The gospels say that Jesus’ authority as a teacher was unique. Unlike the other spiritual leaders of his day, he never quoted others to draw on someone else’s credibility. He just simply said on the strength of his own authority “I tell you…”
It wasn’t just His teaching. He had authority to heal physical diseases, to cast out demons, to command even the physical elements themselves, to even raise the dead! Jesus actually claimed for himself the very highest authority. He claimed to be God.
There is a very significant story almost at the beginning of Mark where He is confronted with a man paralysed. Everyone expected him to heal the man, but instead he forgives the man’s sins. The religious leaders had problems with this, though apparently they wouldn’t have had a problem if he had healed the man, but they thought that he was blaspheming because only God can forgive people their sins. Jesus knew this caused them a problem. That’s why he said it. He waited for their reaction, then explained to them it was because he wanted them to know who he really was he held back before healing the man. Then he dramatically heals the man completely of his paralysis… “But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He said to the paralytic, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. ‘
We don’t have to accept this story to know that Jesus claimed to be God. There were many such claims, for which the Jewish leaders sought to kill Him. It was for this very reason they eventually did. The record is clear. He claimed to be God!  What do we do with such a claim?
Maybe He actually believed He was God, but was delusional. In that case he was a lunatic.
Maybe he wasn’t mad, and knew that he was really just a man. Then he was deceiving people — passing himself off to the vulnerable and impressionable as something he knew he wasn’t. In that case he was a liar.
But it is hard to reconcile someone who has had the most profound influence on morality as being such a liar, and luring millions of followers into persecution and martyrdom for what he knew to be a lie. It is equally impossible for Jesus (whose wisdom credits him as being the greatest teacher in history), to be written off as a lunatic.
So if he wasn’t a liar or a lunatic, there is only one possibility left — He is Lord — just as he claimed.