Lenten Gospel Reflections, Day 31: The Trilemma

During this season of Lent, I will be working through Bishop Robert Barron’s Lenten Gospel Reflections (available through Word on Fire). Each day, I will share the readings and the reflection question, followed by my own thoughts.

April 1, 2022

Jesus went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him. 2  Now the Jews’ feast of Tabernacles was at hand. 10 But after his brethren had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private. 25 Some of the people of Jerusalem therefore said, “Is not this the man whom they seek to kill? 26 And here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him! Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Christ? 27 Yet we know where this man comes from; and when the Christ appears, no one will know where he comes from.” 28 So Jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “You know me, and you know where I come from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. 29 I know him, for I come from him, and he sent me.” 30 So they sought to arrest him; but no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.

The Holy Bible (Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition, Jn 7:1-2, 10, 25–30). (2006). Ignatius Press.

What sets Jesus apart from other inspiring religious teachers? Does any other religion claim to have a founder and leader with this same characteristic? What does belief in this characteristic compel us to do?

The difference between Jesus and other inspiring religious teachers is that Jesus is God incarnate. It’s interesting that though many have conceded that Jesus was a real man who walked the earth, not a mere myth, they then resort to reducing him to be simply an inspiring teacher (further reading). But Jesus doesn’t give us the luxury of reducing his identity to that of a mere holy man. Let me quote C.S. Lewis:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say.
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.
You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

C.S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity

Christ is either a liar, a lunatic, or our Lord. The only way to try to get around this is to reject the Gospel accounts as having been “corrupted,” as so many do. The irony is that the only evidence that they provide of the Gospels having been corrupted is that their own religious leaders say that it was corrupted despite all of the evidence to the contrary.

So Christ is our Lord, God incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity. This realization compels us to follow Him – to obey His commands, to be a part of His Church, to run the good race and persevere to the end, to preach the Gospel to all.

Lord, grant us the grace of perseverance, boldness to preach Your name through our words and our lives, and a love for the lost.


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