Conclusion: So what?
What are we to do with Jesus’s claims about himself? Do we even need to decide?
Jesus declared, “Whoever is not with me is against me” (matthew 12:30). In other words, neutrality is impossible. This simple fact confronted a man named Sheldon Vanauken after he had carried on a lengthy correspondence about Christianity with the great Oxford professor C. S. Lewis.
In a book entitled A Severe Mercy, Vanauken wrote that he came to the chilling realization that he “could not go back”:
I had regarded Christianity as a sort of fairy tale; and I had neither accepted nor rejected Jesus, since I had never, in fact, encountered Him. Now I had. The position was not, as I had been comfortably thinking all these months, merely a question of whether I was to accept the Messiah or not. It was a question of whether I was to accept Him—or reject. My God! There was a gap behind me, too. Perhaps the leap to acceptance was a horrifying gamble—but what of the leap to rejection? There might be no certainty that Christ was God—but, by God, there was no certainty that He was not. . . . If I were to reject, I would certainly face the haunting, terrible thought: ‘Perhaps it’s true—and I have rejected my God!’ This was not to be borne. I could not reject Jesus.
Vanauken decided that there was only one thing he could do: “I turned away and flung myself over the gap towards Jesus.” He wrote in his journal, “I choose to believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—in Christ, my lord and my God. Christianity has the ring, the feel, of unique truth. Of essential truth. By it, life is made full instead of empty, meaningful instead of meaningless.”6
The same decision faces each of us. Jesus challenges us with his claim that he is God in human form, the Savior of the world, and the source of life—both now and forever. How will we respond to him?
6 Sheldon Vanauken, A Severe Mercy (HarperOne: Reprint Edition, 2011), pp. 98-99.