Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” has become an international phenomenon, having sold over 30 million copies in 44 languages.  In the novel, Brown’s characters discover that the Holy Grail is actually Mary Magdalene, the secret wife of Jesus and the mother of Jesus’ child.  They discover that Jesus was only a “great moral teacher”; not God.

What amazes me is that a fictional novel, not intended to be historically accurate, can be considered such a credible source.  The Barna Institute reports that 2 million people have changed their beliefs about Jesus from the novel/film.  It seems people are quick to accept anything supporting their own predispositions toward God and call it “Truth”.  We want a less powerful, more manageable Jesus that can fit neatly in a box – A Jesus who stays out of my way, but helps me when I pray.

Paul of Tarsus says, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”  (II Timothy 4:3-4)

What we know from ancient manuscripts, most of them dating back to the late 1st Century A.D. by even liberal scholars, is what Jesus claimed of himself:

Jesus claimed to be God.

Anyone who makes such claims can no longer be called a “great moral teacher.”  He would be either a liar (knew he wasn’t God), a lunatic (did not know he wasn’t God), or was who he claimed to be.

C.S. Lewis: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic… 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.”

To believe that Jesus is anything other than a “great moral teacher” is scary because it forces me to choose: Either I pass him off for a crazy liar or submit to him as God. It’s much more comfortable to say he was a good man, a really nice guy, a “Mr. Rogers with a beard”.  Unfortunately Jesus does not leave that option open to us.

God exists apart from our own belief systems and predispositions.  Jesus is not confined to the blonde haired, blue eyed, Aryan Jesus from the Sunday School flannel graphs.  He stands alone, welcoming Dan Brown and the rest of the world to examine the evidence. (Matthew 7:7)  I pray that as we discover the “real” Jesus, we will discover more fully who we truly are as well.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – Jesus of Nazareth

(John 8:32)