Could Jesus Have Been Lying?

Even Jesus’ harshest critics rarely have called him a liar. That label certainly doesn’t fit with Jesus’ high moral and ethical teaching. But if Jesus isn’t who he claimed to be, we must consider the option that he was intentionally misleading everyone.

One of the best-known and most influential political works of all time was written by Niccolò Machiavelli in 1532. In his classic, The Prince, Machiavelli exalts power, success, image, and efficiency above loyalty, faith, and honesty. According to Machiavelli, lying is okay if it accomplishes a political end.

Could Jesus Christ have built his entire ministry upon a lie just to gain power, fame, or success? In fact, the Jewish opponents of Jesus were constantly trying to expose him as a fraud and liar. They would barrage him with questions in attempts to trip him up and make him contradict himself. Yet Jesus responded with remarkable consistency.

The question we must deal with is: What could possibly motivate Jesus to live his entire life as a lie? He taught that God was opposed to lying and hypocrisy, so he wouldn’t have been doing it to please his Father. He certainly didn’t lie for his followers’ benefit, since all but one were martyred rather than renouncing his Lordship (see “Did the Apostles believe Jesus is God?” . And so we are left with only two other reasonable explanations, each of which is problematic.
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