What Jesus Didn’t Say

There are some points that need to be made from time to time, just so they remain in the world. To my mind, this is one of them.

Without a doubt Jesus of Nazareth is one of the most influential beings ever to walk this planet… perpetually influential. But I see him as greatly misunderstood. Most of the things people associate with Jesus are things he never said. Rather, they are things that other people said about him, and the two aren’t remotely equivalent.

But while I think this deserves to be pointed out, please understand that whatever comes of this will not be my choice; I have no religion to sell. I’m just a guy making what he thinks is an important point.

It’s my opinion that people should differentiate between what Jesus said, and what people said about him. I think that’s a crucial line to draw.

So, here’s my list. For convenience I’ve divided it into sections.

On the nature of God:

Jesus did not say:

    • God is a trinity.
    • God is three persons.
    • God is present everywhere.

On his own nature:

Jesus did not say:

    • I was born of a virgin.
    • I share the full nature of God.
    • I am God.

On the nature of humanity:

Jesus did not say:

    • Man was born into original sin.
    • Man is born corrupt.
    • Mankind is a fallen race.

On churches:

Jesus did not say:

    • You should form churches.
    • I will place you into congregations.
    • You must obey your elders.
    • Obey your leaders.
    • Follow the scriptures.
    • Study the prophecies.
    • You must defend the gospel.
    • You must prevent heresy.
    • You should tithe.

On salvation:

Jesus did not say:

    • You must believe I was raised from the dead.
    • You must call me “Lord.”
    • You must surrender to me.
    • You must accept the Bible as truth.
    • You must believe and confess.
    • You must keep the sacraments.
    • You must die in a state of grace.
    • You must confess your sins.

On prayer:

Jesus did not say:

    • Pray to me.
    • Revere the cross.
    • Pray to saints.
    • Venerate icons.
    • Pray for your nation.

On Politics:

Jesus did not say:

    • Pray for your rulers.
    • Pray for your ruler to do the right thing.
    • Obey those above you.
    • Obey rulers.
    • Sacrifice yourself for your countrymen.
    • You should kill and die to preserve freedom.
    • You should form Christian nations.

But if those things aren’t necessarily true, what is?”

What is or isn’t true is for you to decide. All I’m saying is that Jesus did not teach these things. And I strongly suggest that you mull that over for a while before jumping into any set of conclusions.

We should never believe things because of what organizations or leaders say. Nor should we hold things to be true because our parents believed them. Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa may have been beautiful souls, but they were subject to misunderstanding and error just like the rest of us. We must examine things independently.

My point is this: Christianity has become a religion about Jesus, not the religion of Jesus.

What to do about that, if anything, is up to you.


Paul Rosenberg


8 thoughts on “What Jesus Didn’t Say”

  1. It would’ve been great if Jesus had a secretary to record the minutes of all his meetings and word for word transcripts of all his sermons. Unfortunately the only official capacity we have is that Judas was treasurer.

    That being said, every word attributed to him was recorded by eyewitnesses, and some who extrapolated from accounts related to them, many years after his death.

    I think if we’re gonna put faith in the words attributed to him, then credance should also be given to the descriptions and extrapolations from those same writers. All are equally valid.

    1. Not looking for fights, Phillip. A few comments:

      – The twelve were constantly misunderstanding Jesus.
      – None of them wrote anything for a generation or two after.
      – Paul, who wrote most of the book, and was the first to write anything, had never met Jesus or heard a word he said.
      – Jesus taught incessantly in parables – only in parables according to Mark. None of the others used parables.
      – The others fought amongst themselves. (Paul v. Peter, etc.)
      – The others wrote and believed very differently. (Paul v. James, etc.)
      – Jesus thoughts on ‘salvation’ are radically different from everyone else’s.

      So, regardless of any “chain of authenticity” formula there are very clear and very significant differences. The concrete has precedence over the abstract.


      1. Phillip makes a good point to consider, too. And actually, Paul did meet and talk with Jesus. He is the man who was also known as Saul.

        I have printed off this article to use as a template for studying this out myself to see if I come to the same conclusions or not. I’m excited! Thanks for challenging me to consider different perspectives. I love having new thoughts that I haven’t had before!

  2. For someone who clearly values logic, it seems you have made some gigantic leaps in some of your thought processes to come to these conclusions. If I had the time, I’d find the rebuttals in Scripture. I might come around to it eventually because some of these are low hanging fruit.
    What I will commit to right now is to pray for your soul and all the souls you lead astray. Jesus is the The Way, The Truth, and The Life. Those who reject Him, reject the One who sent Him. As such, He will reject those who reject Him when their life ends.

    1. Again, not looking for a fight, but who’s rejecting Jesus? I’m placing him in the top position and suggesting that it might be a good idea to take that seriously.

    2. I dont believe he is looking to lead anyone astray… I didn’t see anything in his article that would lead me to believe that Paul is rejecting Jesus. He is encouraging believers to go deeper and question what we think we know. Perhaps we are correct in some of our understandings, but perhaps there are some things we “know” that are not so. It’s a good opportunity to evaluate what we believe. We can either accept or reject what we learn from such a study. I, for one, am printing off this article to do my own research. There are some items, maybe what you refer to has “low hanging fruit” that I dont think are correct, but I will see for myself! Perhaps I am remembering thing incorrectly. Or perhaps he is. But the bottom line is he is not rejecting Jesus in this article as far, IMHO.

  3. Posted by Roger, via the contact form:

    I truly enjoy your insights on many topics. But I think you’re fundamentally misperceiving what and why Jesus did and did not say (at least what’s recorded in the Bible). He didn’t come here to program people like robots and he didn’t publish a written manifesto saying “do this and don’t do that.” He wasn’t trying to sell something.

    For virtually every one of your points, I’ll contend that even if there’s not a Jesus quote (like there’s no quote saying, “I was born of a virgin”) doesn’t prove he didn’t believe it or that it’s not true.

    If you read His text in the Bible, you’ll notice that most of the time he spoke of spiritual realities in a very matter of fact, declarative way. His job wasn’t to contend and convince people of the truth, he just spoke the truth. It’s up to every person to comprehend and believe it or not. He did say: “I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken” (John 12:49).

    The other thing that’s noteworthy is His testimony was not only what he said but what he did. He knew sometimes actions speak louder than words. He said: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise” (John 5:19)

    I’ll say also (and you can have any opinion you want) it’s incredible to me how many non-Christians are effectively trying to define the testimony of Jesus to Christians who have studied it for years and years. Do you really think you understand Jesus better than the Apostles or Paul or hundreds of theologians since them?

    Lastly, I believe it’s way more significant to focus on what Jesus did say than what He didn’t say. Cheers!

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