Jesus wants people to think. He especially wants them to think more deeply about Who He is.
Consider Luke 18:18-19:
Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”
An anti-Trinitarian person quoted this verse to me to prove that Jesus is not God. By contrast, I said I thought this was a strong proof-text for Jesus’ deity.
I think Jesus is being a good Socratic teacher here.
Have you ever experienced the Socratic method of teaching? Instead of lecturing at students, the Socratic teacher asks them questions to help them reason out the answer on their own.
That’s what Jesus is doing here with the rich young ruler. “Why do you call me that?” He wanted the young man to think.
The ruler just called Jesus “good.” And then Jesus supplied a second premise: “No one is good but God.”
With those two premises, the young ruler could complete a simple deductive syllogism:
Premise 1: Only God is good.
Premise 2: Jesus is good.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus is God.
Jesus was…God? He was God!
Did the young man eventually get to that conclusion?
Did it ever “click” for him?
We don’t know. But we do know that many believers through the centuries have meditated on Jesus’ question and come to the realization that the apostle Thomas came to in a moment of insight, exclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
How about you? Have you come to that conclusion, too?
I asked my anti-Trinitarian conversation partners to tell me which of the premises they denied—Did they deny that only God is good? Or did they deny that Jesus is good? Either denial leads to big trouble.
If Jesus is wrong about God, how can we trust His other teachings?
And if the young ruler is wrong about Jesus’ goodness, how can He be our Savior, our Substitute, our Sinless Sacrifice?
But on the other hand, if both premises are true…
I wonder if the truth of Jesus’ claim will “click” for them. I wonder if they’ll think about it more deeply.
Don’t just pay attention to what Jesus’ taught, but how He taught. Jesus was more than a good teacher, but He was also a good teacher!