This question was raised by the opponents of Jesus’ deity and humanity: Can Jesus lie? Their reasoning is simple for posing such a question. If Jesus is fully human and can lie, then how can he be fully God? Since God can not lie. If Jesus is fully God and can not lie, then how could he be fully human for all humans are capable of lying? Hence Jesus can not be who he said he is, ...for he was either a liar for claiming to be the son of God, or a lunatic for believing that he was the Son of God.
The answer is really simple, Jesus being fully human as we are was capable of lying, but because he was also fully divine refused to do so. You see, the capability to lie does not make a person a liar. All humans have the capacity to lie, that does not make all humans practitioners of lying. If that was so, then how can anyone know what anyone says is the truth? It is the act of lying that makes a person a liar. So the real questions are: Did Jesus believe that he was lying? If he did believe that he was lying, what evidence or proof do we have that he was? If he was not lying about who he was, what evidence or proof do we have that he is who he said he was?
Let us go to the Bible for this for in it is the only place where Jesus speaks for himself about himself according to eye witness testimony. This is the source of all the evidence we need to either prove that Jesus lied or that he did not lie. Let us look at a few scriptures in the Gospel record of the Bible where Jesus speaks about his words:
“….because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” –John 8:45-47
The verse above show that Jesus believed that he was telling people the truth and that truth he spoke was of God. Therefore anyone that did not believe the words he spoke was not of God. Also countless times in the King James Version of the Gospel of the Bible, when Jesus was speaking to the people or his disciples he used the word “verily”. This word “verily” means “in truth”. So Jesus many times in the Gospels used to share verbally things “in truth”, that is in all honesty and sincerity to all who would hear him. This indicates that he had no intention to deceive anyone and that he believed what he told people was truthful.
When Jesus spoke about his own words, he said that they would never pass away (Matthew 24:35), that his words will be the judge against the unbelieving (John 12:48), that if anyone was ashamed of his words, he will be ashamed of them when he returns in his glory with his angels (Mark 8:38). He also said that the words he spoke was not his but of his father in heaven (John 14:24). So it is clear that Jesus not only believed he was being truthful when he spoke but that he was speaking the very words of God, who he repeatedly claimed that was his father. He also believed that the words he spoke was divinely inspired and life giving:
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”-John 6:63
The point is this, if Jesus was a man, which he certainly was based upon the testimony of his Apostles (1John 1:1-3, 2 Corinthians 5:16), he certainly had the capability to lie, but because he knew who he was, what he was and what his purpose was in this world he did not lie. Why? So that men who choose to believe in him as God, who are tempted to lie may find the strength not to do so. As He had the power to resist lying, he inspires all who have faith in him to also resist lying.
“..Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted…” -Hebrews 2:18
“..For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”-Hebrews 4:15
Why did Jesus refuse to be sinful and lie? Because he was proclaimed “the Lamb of God”, the chosen sacrifice to take away the sin of the world, the reconciler between sinful man and a loving God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” –John 3:16+17
Only someone who is fully human and fully divine could reconcile every human that believes in God and God himself together in fellowship. That someone was Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God. Someone always asks, “Then why did Jesus [allegedly] lied to his brothers about going to Jerusalem (John 7:8-10)? Did God the Father send a lying spirit, as he did in 1 Kings? Like Father, like Son?” There are three points inferred by the above question which I will take in a different order.
a) Did Jesus in the Bible lie?
Jesus did not lie, because Jesus did NOT say He was never going to Jerusalem ever again, but that He was not going to Jerusalem at that time, and so he was not going with them. Later He did not. "Yet" after not IS in the earliest Greek manuscripts, but we will deal with that later.
b) Did Jesus lie like God in the Bible lied?
God does not lie (Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29, Hebrews 6:18). In 1 Kings God did not lie, but He had a lying demon put lies in the mouths of false prophets. God allows evil, and He even uses evil people and evil demons for His purposes.
c) Are all translations of Holy books dishonest in their translation?
This question is using a lie to make a strong accusation against the translators of the original text of the Holy scriptures into other languages. Here is the response: "Not yet" (oupo in Greek, Strong’s 3768) is in the earliest extant Greek manuscripts. Rather than just taking the word of Aland et al for it. I looked it up and it is clearly in both. There are no gaps or holes in the manuscripts here.
"Not yet" is found in p66, p75, Vaticanus, Byzantine Lectionary, some Syriac, Sahidic Coptic, and later manuscripts.
"Not (ouk in Greek) is present in Sinaiticus, Bezae Cantabrigiensis, Bohairic Coptic, some Syriac, Armenian, Ethiopic, Georgian, Diatessaron, Chrysostom, and later manuscripts.
So there is much evidence for both views, and the NIV actually handles this the best by putting yet in the text and putting in a footnote.
Therefore, Jesus did not lie, because he refused to do so, even though he was humanly capable of lying. Can Jesus lie? He could have, but he did not.
Now consider the tri-dilemma of this belief that Jesus lied causes:
1) If Jesus was a liar, we must conclude that:
a. He was a good one because he fooled many people into believing that he was the son of God.
b. He was a lunatic because he believed what he said about himself was the truth.
c. All hope in a salvation through faith alone is lost, because Jesus lied about it.
Since we now know that Jesus refused to lie, even though he had the human capacity to lie we must also consider the revelation of Christ’s testimony:
1) Since Jesus did not lie, we must conclude that:
a. He told the truth about himself being the son of God.
b. He was totally sane because of what he said about himself was the truth.
c. All hope in a salvation through faith alone is obtainable because Jesus told the truth about it.
How can someone obtain salvation through faith in Christ? It is as simple as sincerely reciting the following prayer with all your heart.
The Sinner’s PrayerDear Heavenly Father, In Jesus’ name I come to you now as a repentant sinner,
I confess all my sinfulness to You and ask You to forgive me for Jesus’ sake.
Wash away all my sins with His blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
I believe that Jesus is Your only begotten Son and that He died on the cross of Calvary
for my sins. I believe that You raised Jesus from the dead according to Your promises in the Bible,
Your Holy Word. I therefore invite Your Holy Spirit into my Heart and make me your child.
I promise to read the Bible daily and strive to live Holy everyday with your Help and I
thank you Lord for saving me.