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Jesus' Teaching

Jesus had a lot to say about many things and Christians know them all to be important. However, there are certain things that are very important.

In Mark’s Gospel chapter 12 verse 30 we read:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength...”

Jesus was answering the question which is the greatest commandment. He replies “The Lord your God is the only God….”  Then points out to his hearers that with every part of our being we should love God. That is, in the way we think, feel and in all that we do we should do it because we love God.

However, to love God alone is not enough. Jesus was keen to point this out:

“The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself’

Image by Kelly Sikkema

Jesus knew the importance of loving God, but this should not mean that we neglect people. We are called to love others, even when it is difficult to like them!

The Jewish people had often seen God as the God of thunder and earthquakes, and judgement.  Jesus wanted to show us that God could be much more than that. He wanted us to know God as a child knows its/their parents:

“I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me.”

John 14 v 6

Jesus said the way to know God as the Father was to know Jesus, and the way to know Jesus is to read the Bible and pray. Jesus urged everyone to pray:

Twilight Sunset

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name.

Your kingdom come, your will be done,

On earth as in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors

And do not bring us to the time of trail

But rescue us from the evil one.

For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours forever. 

Amen”

Matthew 6 v9-13

Jesus assured us that God would hear our prayers:

“Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you”

Luke 11 v9

Jesus knew he would not live for ever, he asked God to send the Holy Spirit to be with us forever.

Praying Together

“If you love me you will obey my commandments. I will ask the Father to send another comforter, who will stay with you forever”

John 14 v15

We give thanks to God that Jesus did this and His Holy Spirit is with us guiding and supporting us throughout our lives, making true his last words in Matthew’s Gospel:

“I am with you always, to the end of time”

Matthew 28 v 20

Jesus knew that all things were possible, with God.  Of course Jesus said much more.  Luke’s Gospel is a good place to hear more of what Jesus had to say. You can find the Bible online below.

Things Jesus Never Said

"God helps them who help themselves”

Although this might be a commonly held opinion in today’s society it was never part of Jesus’ teaching.  In fact Jesus went out of his way to show that we all should go out of our way to help those less fortunate than ourselves. 

 

Jesus focused his ministry on the poor and the outcasts of society.  The whole idea of the early Christians gathering together was to worship and to support one another.

 

The book of Acts Chapter 2 from verse 43 in the New Testament of the Bible tells us about this.

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

 

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds\ to all, as any had need.

 

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.

 

And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

Jesus showed that it was always possible for people to change.  Indeed he told a Jewish leader, Nicodemus, that no one could enter the kingdom of God unless they were born again.  He explained this means a total change of life, being baptized by water and in the Spirit of God.

Some people learn new tricks and change quickly.  Others take longer and find it much more painful.  God rarely asks us to stay as we are but to travel on a journey with him. 

 

To do this we need constantly to change and grow.  Trusting God to change us in his time.

 

All of us are called to learn and change all the time. 

 

As Steve Chalk in his book He Never Said writes: “The truth is, if you are beyond learning new tricks, you’re not an old dog, you’re a dead dog!”

“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth”

This statement can be found in the Old Testament of the Bible (Exodus Chapter 20 verse 24 & Deuteronomy Chapter 21 verse 20) and it gets worse “….a hand for a hand and a foot for a foot”.  Jesus was keen to point out that this was not the way to behave.

In Luke’s gospel Jesus’ words are recorded as saying:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth’.  But now I tell you; do not take revenge if anyone wrongs you.  If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap you on the left cheek too.”

 

Jesus wasn’t trying to make his followers the doormats to all nations but was pointing out that revenge is never good.  Jesus goes even further. 

 

Not only should we not take revenge but we should also love our enemies. (Luke 6 verse 27->)  This is a long way from the old laws of the Torah “an eye for an eye….”

“There’s no room for doubt”

In the mid-nineteen eighties David Jenkins, the then Bishop of Durham voiced doubts about some aspects of the Christian faith.  To some, this was blasphemous; to others there was a collective sigh of relief that even a Bishop could have doubts.

 

Jesus never, forced, people to believe a set of facts and doctrines..   He just told people how much God loved them!  Faith doesn’t depend on our grasp of God, but on God’s grasp of us.  In this there is always the possibility that we will doubt, but never the chance that God will stop loving us.

 

Jesus always invited (and continues to invite) us to believe ~ we are never compelled

 

Paul Tillich sums it up:  “Doubt isn’t the opposite of faith.  It is an element of faith.” Where there is absolute certainty, there can be no room for faith!

Find Out What Jesus Did Say

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