So if Jesus was above lying for personal benefit, perhaps his radical claims were falsified in order to leave a legacy. But the prospect of being beaten to a pulp and nailed to a cross would quickly dampen the enthusiasm of most would-be superstars.
Here is another haunting fact. If Jesus were to have simply dropped the claim of being God’s Son, he never would have been condemned. It was his claim to be God and his unwillingness to recant of it that got him crucified.
If enhancing his credibility and historical reputation was what motivated Jesus to lie, one must explain how a carpenter’s son from a poor Judean village could ever anticipate the events that would catapult his name to worldwide prominence. How would he know his message would survive? Jesus’ disciples had fled and Peter had denied him. Not exactly the formula for launching a religious legacy.
Do historians believe Jesus lied? Scholars have scrutinized Jesus’ words and life to see if there is any evidence of a defect in his moral character. In fact, even the most ardent skeptics are stunned by Jesus’ moral and ethical purity.
According to historian Philip Schaff, there is no evidence, either in church history or in secular history that Jesus lied about anything. Schaff argued, “How, in the name of logic, common sense, and experience, could a deceitful, selfish, depraved man have invented, and consistently maintained from the beginning to end, the purest and noblest character known in history with the most perfect air of truth and reality?”
To go with the option of liar seems to swim upstream against everything Jesus taught, lived, and died for. To most scholars, it just doesn’t make sense. Yet, to deny Jesus’ claims, one must come up with some explanation. And if Jesus’ claims are not true, and he wasn’t lying, the only option remaining is that he must have been self-deceived.
Click here to read page 10 of 10 of “Is Jesus God?”