Philosophy
Lovers!
Click Here

Why is Jesus of Nazareth by far the Most

Influential Person Who Ever Lived?

When a man is discussing what Jesus meant, let him state first of all what He said, not what the man thinks He would have said if he had expressed Himself more clearly.

G. K. Chesterton

[To simplify this fascinating question, the gospel passages below have been divided into the following four categories: distinctive moral teaching; dire warnings; unheard of promises; extraordinary personal claims. Because of a philosophical bias against the miraculous, which is deeply rooted in our intellectual culture, none of Jesus’s 42 miracles are mentioned. Nor are the most famous parables or dramatic incidents, such as the parable of the prodigal son, or Jesus’s rescue of the woman taken in adultery, for a supremely gifted literary talent might conceivably have interpolated these parables and incidents into what otherwise appear to be eye-witness accounts. Over-familiarity with any narrative can dull perception, and few people can read the gospels as if they had never heard of them before, especially when they contain such literary and dramatic gems. It is hoped that by ignoring the high drama of the story and the sensational nature of the miracles (which are nevertheless seamlessly embedded in the narrative) it may be possible to momentarily dispel that heavy bias of familiarity and fatigue which obscures the shattering, and probably unique, quality of Jesus’s utterances.]

HIGHLY  DISTINCTIVE  MORAL  TEACHING?

If you love those who love you, what title have you to a reward? Will not the publicans do as much? If you greet none but your brethren, what are you doing more than others? Will not the very heathen do as much? But you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Matt 5:46-48

And now I say to you who are listening to me, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you insultingly. If a man strikes thee on the cheek, offer him the other cheek too; if a man would take away thy cloak, do not grudge him thy coat along with it. Give to every man who asks, and if a man takes what is thine, do not ask him to restore it. As you would have men treat you, you are to treat them; no otherwise.

Luke 6:27-32

Do not judge others, or you yourselves will be judged. As you have judged, so you will be judged, by the same rule; award shall be made you as you have made award, in the same measure.

Matt 7:2

A man cannot be the slave of two masters at once; either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will devote himself to the one and despise the other. You must serve God or money; you cannot serve both.

Matt 6:24

Believe me, a rich man will not enter God’s kingdom easily. And once again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye, than for a man to enter the kingdom of heaven when he is rich.

Matt 19:23-26

Can any one of you, for all his anxiety, add a cubit’s growth to his height? And why should you be anxious over clothing? See how the wild lilies grow; they do not toil or spin; and yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God, then, so clothes the grasses of the field, which to-day live and will feed the oven to-morrow, will he not be much more ready to clothe you, men of little faith? Do not fret, then, asking, What are we to eat? or What are we to drink? or How shall we find clothing? It is for the heathen to busy themselves over such things; you have a Father in heaven who knows that you need them all. Make it your first care to find the kingdom of God, and his approval, and all these things shall be yours without the asking. Do not fret, then, over tomorrow; leave to-morrow to fret over its own needs; for to-day, to-day’s troubles are enough.

Matt 6:27-34

But the Samaritans refused to receive him, because his journey was in the direction of Jerusalem. When they found this, two of his disciples, James and John, asked him, Lord, wouldst thou have us bid fire come down from heaven, and consume them? But he turned and rebuked them, You do not understand, he said, what spirit it is you share. The Son of Man has come to save men’s lives, not to destroy them.

Luke 9:53-56

I tell you truthfully, the man who does not welcome the kingdom of God like a child, will never enter into it.

Mark 10:15

When any man invites thee to a wedding, do not sit down in the chief place; he may have invited some guest whose rank is greater than thine. If so, his host and thine will come and say to thee, Make room for this man; and so thou wilt find thyself taking, with a blush, the lowest place of all. Rather, when thou art summoned, go straight to the lowest place and sit down there; so, when he who invited thee comes in, he will say, My friend, go higher than this; and then honour shall be thine before all that sit down in thy company. Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted.

Luke 14:8-12

Then, when he had finished washing their feet and put on his garments, he sat down again, and said to them, Do you understand what it is I have done to you? You hail me as the Master, and the Lord; and you are right, it is what I am. Why then, if I have washed your feet, I who am the Master and the Lord, you in your turn ought to wash each other’s feet; I have been setting you an example, which will teach you in your turn to do what I have done for you.

John 13:12-15

Then Peter came to him and asked, Lord, how often must I see my brother do me wrong, and still forgive him; as much as seven times? Jesus said to him, I tell you to forgive, not seven wrongs, but seventy times seven.

Matt 18: 21-22

Whoever would be a great man among you, must be your servant, and whoever has a mind to be first among you, must be your slave. So it is that the Son of Man did not come to have service done him; he came to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for the lives of many.

Matt 20:26-28

Then the King will say to those who are on his right hand, Come, you that have received a blessing from my Father, take possession of the kingdom which has been prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger, and you brought me home, naked, and you clothed me, sick, and you cared for me, a prisoner, and you came to me. Whereupon the just will answer, Lord, when was it that we saw thee hungry, and fed thee, or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When was it that we saw thee a stranger, and bought thee home, or naked, and clothed thee? When was it that we saw thee sick or in prison and came to thee? And the King will answer them, Believe me, when you did it to one of the least of my brethren here, you did it to me.

Matt 25:34-41

DIRE  WARNINGS  AND  APOCALYPTIC  PROPHECIES?

If any man has a mind to come my way, let him renounce self, and take up his cross, and follow me. The man who tries to save his life will lose it; it is the man who loses his life for my sake and for the gospel’s sake, that will save it.

Mark 8:34-35

You will be hated by all men because you bear my name; that man will be saved, who endures to the last.

Matt 10:22-23

Do not imagine that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have come to bring a sword, not peace.

Matt 10:34

How is a man the better for gaining the whole world, if he loses himself, if he pays the forfeit of himself?

Luke 9:24-25

And if thy eye is an occasion of falling, pluck it out; better for thee to enter blind into the kingdom of God, than to have two eyes when thou art cast into the fire of hell; the worm which eats them there never dies, the fire is never quenched. Fire will be every man’s seasoning; every victim must be seasoned with salt.

Mark 9:46-49

Make your way in by the narrow gate. It is a broad gate and a wide road that leads on to perdition, and those who go in that way are many indeed; but how small is the gate, how narrow the road that leads on to life, and how few there are that find it!

Matt 7:13-14

The Son of Man will give charge to his angels, and they will gather up all that gives offence in his kingdom, all those who do wickedly in it, and will cast them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping, and gnashing of teeth.

Matt 13:41-42

And I say this to you who are my friends, Do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, and after that can do no more. I will tell you who it is you must fear; fear him who has power not only to kill but to cast a man into hell; him you must fear indeed.

Luke 12:4-5

And I say this, that in the day of judgement men will be brought to account for every thoughtless word they have spoken. Thy words will be matter to acquit, or matter to condemn thee.

Matt 12:36-37

It is impossible that hurt should never be done to men’s consciences; but woe betide the man who is the cause of it.

Luke 17:1

No plant but must be rooted up, if my heavenly father has not planted it.

Matt 15:13

I am the vine, you are its branches; if a man lives on in me, and I in him, then he will yield abundant fruit; separated from me, you have no power to do anything. If a man does not live on in me, he can only be like the branch that is cast off and withers away; such a branch is picked up and thrown into the fire, to burn there.

John 15:5-6

As he was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, Look, Master, what stones! What a fabric! Jesus answered him, Do you see all this huge fabric? There will not be a stone of it left on another; it will all be thrown down. So, when he was sitting down on mount Olivet, opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him, now that they were alone: Tell us, when will this be? And what sign will be given, when all this is soon to be accomplished? Take care, Jesus began in answer, that you do not allow anyone to deceive you. Many will come making use of my name; they will say, Here I am, and many will be deceived by it. When you hear tell of wars, and rumours of war, do not be disturbed in mind; such things must happen, but the end will not come yet. Nation will rise in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, there will be earthquakes in this region or that, there will be famines: all this is but the beginning of travail. But you will have to think of yourselves; men will be giving you up to courts of justice, and scourging you in the synagogues, yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings on my account, so that you can bear witness to them; the gospel must be preached to all nations before the end.

Mark 13: 1-11

Jerusalem will be trodden under the feet of the Gentiles, until the time granted to the Gentile nations has run out. The sun and the moon and the stars will give portents, and on earth the nations will be in distress, bewildered by the roaring of the sea and of its waves; men’s hearts will be dried up with fear, as they await the troubles that are overtaking the whole world; the very powers of heaven will rock. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with his full power and majesty.

Luke 21:24-27

UNHEARD  OF  PROMISES?

Ask, and the gift will come; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you. Everyone that asks, will receive; that seeks, will find; that knocks, will have the door opened to him.

Matt 7:7-8

Give, and gifts will be yours; good measure, pressed down and shaken up and running over, will be poured into your lap; the measure you award others is the measure that will be awarded to you.

Luke 6:36-38

And Jesus answered them, Have faith in God. I promise you, if anyone says to this mountain, Remove, and be cast into the sea, and has no hesitation in his heart, but is sure that what he says is to come about, his wish will be granted him. I tell you, then, when you ask for anything in prayer, you have only to believe that it is yours, and it will be granted you.

Mark 11:22-24

Come to me, all you that labour and are burdened; I will give you rest.

Matt 11:28-30

And moreover I tell you, that if two of you agree over any request that you make on earth, it will be granted them by my Father who is in heaven. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.

Matt 18:19-20

Let us suppose that one of you has a friend, to whom he goes at dead of night, and asks him, Lend me three loaves of bread, neighbour; a friend of mine has turned in to me after a journey, and I have nothing to offer him. And suppose the other answers, from within doors, Do not put me to such trouble; the door is locked, my children and I are in bed; I cannot bestir myself to grant they request. I tell you, even if he will not bestir himself to grant it out of friendship, shameless asking will make him rise and give his friend all that he needs. And I say the same to you; ask, and the gift will come, seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened to you.

Luke 11:5-10

And if a man gives so much as a draught of cold water to one of the least of these here, because he is a disciple of mine, I promise you, he shall not miss his reward.

Matt 10:42

Are not sparrows sold five for two pence? And yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. As for you, he takes every hair of your head into his reckoning; do not be afraid, then; you count for more than a host of sparrows.

Luke 12:6-7

If anyone does the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Matt 12:50

I do not speak of you any more as my servants; a servant is one who does not understand what his master is about, whereas I have made known to you all that my Father has told me; and so I have called you my friends.

John 15:12-15

Believe me when I tell you this; if a man is true to my word, to all eternity he will never see death. And the Jews said to him, Now we are certain that thou art possessed.

John 8:51-52

Hereupon Peter said, And what of us? we have forsaken all that was ours, and followed thee. Jesus said to them, I promise you, everyone who has forsaken home, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, will receive in this present world, many times their worth, and in the world to come, everlasting life.

Luke 18:28-30

EXTRAORDINARY  PERSONAL  CLAIMS?

And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the palsied man, Son, thy sins are forgiven.

Mark 2:5

The Son of Man, he said, is to be much ill-used, and rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be put to death, and rise again on the third day.

Luke 9:22-23

What sign canst thou show us as thy warrant for doing this? Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.

John 2:19

A man’s enemies will be the people of his own house. He is not worthy of me, that loves father or mother more; he is not worthy of me, that loves son or daughter more; he is not worthy of me, that does not take up his cross and follow me.

Matt 10:36-39

Just as the Father bids the dead to rise up and give them life, so the Son gives life to whomsoever he will.

John 5:21-22

So they presented themselves before him, and said, John the Baptist has sent us to ask. Is it your coming that was foretold, or are we yet waiting for some other? At the very time of their visit, Jesus rid many of their diseases and afflictions and of evil spirits, and gave many that were blind the gift of sight. Then he answered, Go and tell John what your own eyes and ears have witnessed; how the blind see, and the lame walk, and the lepers are made clean, and the deaf hear; how the dead are raised to life, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is he who does not lose confidence in me.

Luke 7: 19-23

My father has entrusted everything into my hands; none knows what the Son is, except the Father, and none knows what the Father is except the Son, and those to whom it is the Son’s good pleasure to reveal him.

Luke 10:22

You cannot trust me when I tell you of what passes on earth; how will you be able to trust me when I tell you of what passes in heaven? No man has ever gone up into heaven; but there is one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man, who dwells in heaven.

John 3:12-14

I myself am the living bread that has come down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live for ever.

John 6:51

Believe me when I tell you this; you can have no life in yourselves, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood. The man who eats my flesh and drinks my blood enjoys eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:54-55

And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus warned them, Do not tell anybody of what you have seen, until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.

Matt 17:9-10

Though heaven and earth should pass away, my words will stand.

Luke 21:34

And now once more Jesus spoke to them, I am the light of the world, he said. He who follows me can never walk in darkness; he will possess the light which is life.

John 8:12

You have the poor among you always, so that you can do good to them when you will; I am not always among you.

Mark 14:7

Can any of you convict me of sin? If not, why is it that you do not believe me when I tell you the truth?

John 8:46

As for your father Abraham, his heart was proud to see the day of my coming; he saw, and rejoiced to see it. Then the Jews asked him, Hast thou seen Abraham, thou, who art not yet fifty years old? And Jesus said to them, Believe me, before ever Abraham came to be, I am.

John 8:56-59

This my Father loves in me, that I am laying down my life, to take it up again afterwards. Nobody can rob me of it; I lay it down of my own accord. I am free to lay it down, free to take it up again; this is the charge which my Father has given me.

John 10:17-18

Jesus said to him, I am the way; I am truth and life; nobody can come to the Father, except through me. At this, Philip said to him, Lord, let us see the father; that is all we ask. What, Philip, Jesus said to him, here am I, who have been all this while in your company; hast thou not learned to recognize me yet? Whoever has seen me, has seen the Father; what dost thou mean by saying, Let us see the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?

John 14:6-10

This, Father, is my desire, that all those whom thou hast entrusted to me may be with me where I am, so as to see my glory, thy gift made to me, in that love which thou didst bestow upon me before the foundation of the world.

John 17:24

Whereupon Jesus said to him, Put thy sword back into its place; all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword. Dost thou doubt that if I call upon my Father, even now, he will send more than twelve legions of angels to my side?

Matt 26:52-54

Art thou the Christ, the Son of the blessed God? Jesus said to him, I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God’s power, and coming with the clouds of heaven. At this, the high priest tore his garments, and said, What further need have we of witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy for yourselves.

Mark 14:62-63

Thou art a king, then? Pilate asked. And Jesus answered, It is thy own lips that have called me a king. What I was born for, what I came into the world for, is to bear witness of the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth, listens to my voice. Pilate said to him, What is truth?

John 18:37

All authority in heaven and on earth, he said, has been given to me; you, therefore, must go out, making disciples of all nations, and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all the commandments which I have given you. And behold I am with you all through the days that are coming, until the consummation of the world.

Matt 28:18-20




Some Dramatic Scenes &

Memorable Images from the Gospels

As soon as this was done, he prevailed upon his disciples to take ship and cross to the other side before him, leaving him to send the multitudes home. When he had finished sending them home, he went up by himself on to the hill-side, to pray there; twilight had come, and he remained there alone. Meanwhile the ship was already half-way across the sea, hard put to it by the waves, for the wind was against them. And then, when the night had reached its fourth quarter, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. When they saw him walking on the sea, the disciples were terrified; they said, It is an apparition, and cried out for fear. But all at once Jesus spoke to them; Take courage, he said, it is myself; do not be afraid. And Peter answered him, Lord, if it is yourself, bid me come to you over the water. He said, Come; and Peter let himself down out of the ship and walked over the water to reach Jesus. Then, seeing how strong the wind was, he lost courage and began to sink; whereupon he cried aloud, Lord, save me. And Jesus at once stretched out his hand and caught hold of him, saying to him, Why did you hesitate, man of little faith? So they went on board the ship, and thereupon the wind dropped. And the ship’s crew came and said, falling at his feet, You are indeed the Son of God.

Matt 14: 22-33

And when it was evening and the sun went down, they brought to him all those who were afflicted, and those who were possessed by devils; so that the whole city stood crowding there at the door. And he healed many that were afflicted with diseases of every sort, and cast out many devils; to the devils he would give no leave to speak, because they recognized him.

Mark 1: 32-34

Then, after some days, he went into Capharnaum again. And as soon as word went round that he was in a house there, such a crowd gathered that there was no room left even in front of the door; and he preached the word to them. And now they came to bring a palsied man to him, four of them carrying him at once; and found they could not bring him close to, because of the multitude. So they stripped the tiles from the roof over the place where Jesus was, and made an opening; then they let down the bed on which the palsied man lay. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the palsied man, Son, your sins are forgiven. But there were some of the scribes sitting there, who reasoned in their mind, Why does he speak so? He is talking blasphemously. Who can forgive sins but God, and God only? Jesus knew at once, in his spirit, of these secret thoughts of theirs, and said to them, Why do you reason thus in your minds? Which command is more lightly given, to say to the palsied man, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise up, take your bed with you, and walk? And now, to convince you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins while he is on earth (here he spoke to the palsied man); I tell you, rise up, take your bed with you, and go home. And he rose up at once, and took his bed, and went out in full sight of them; so that all were astonished and gave praise to God; they said, We never saw the like.

Mark 2: 1-12

And once more he went into a synagogue; and there was a man there who had one of his hands withered; and they were watching him, to see whether he would do a work of healing on the sabbath, so that they might have a charge to bring against him. So he said to the man who had his hand withered, Rise up, and come forward. Then he said to them, Which is right, to do good on the sabbath day, or to do harm? To save life, or to make away with it? And they sat there in silence. And he looked round on them in anger, grieved at the hardness of their hearts, and said to the man, Stretch out your hand. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored to him. Then the Pharisees went out, and at once began plotting with those who were of Herod’s party to make away with him.

Mark 3: 1-6

Then he began to teach by the sea-side again; and a great multitude gathered before him, so that he went into a boat, and sat there on the sea, while all the multitude was on the land, at the sea’s edge. And he taught them for a long time, but in parables; Listen, his teaching began, here is the sower gone out to sow.

Mark 4: 1-3

That day, when evening came on, he said to them, Let us go across to the other side. So they let the multitude go, and took him with them, just as he was, on the boat; there were other boats too with him. And a great storm of wind arose, and drove the waves into the boat, so that the boat could hold no more. Meanwhile, he was in the stern, asleep on the pillow there; and they roused him, crying, Master, are you unconcerned? We are sinking. So he rose up, and checked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind dropped, and there was deep calm. Then he said to them, Why are you faint-hearted? Have you still no faith? And they were overcome with awe; Why, who is this, they said to one another, who is obeyed even by the winds and the sea?

Mark 4: 35-40

So Jesus went back by boat across the sea, and a great multitude gathered about him; and while he was still by the sea, one of the rulers of the synagogue came up, Jairus by name, and fell down at his feet when he saw him, pleading for his aid. My daughter, he said, is at the point of death; come and lay your hand on her, that so she may recover, and live. So he turned aside with him, and a great multitude followed him, and pressed close upon him. And now a woman who for twelve years had had an issue of blood, and had undergone much from many physicians, spending all she had on them, and no better for it, but rather grown worse, came up behind Jesus in the crowd (for she had been told of him), and touched his cloak; If I can even touch his cloak, she said to herself, I shall be healed. And immediately the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in her body that she had been cured of her affliction. Jesus thereupon, inwardly aware of the power that had proceeded from him, turned back towards the multitude and asked, Who touched my garments? His disciples said to him, Can you see the multitude pressing so close about you, and ask, Who touched me? But he looked round him to catch sight of the woman who had done this. And now the woman, trembling with fear, since she recognized what had befallen her, came and fell at his feet, and told him the whole truth. Whereupon Jesus said to her, My daughter, your faith has brought you recovery; go in peace, and be rid of your affliction.

Mark 5: 21-34

When they had crossed, they came to shore at Genesareth and moored there. As soon as they had disembarked, he was recognized, and they ran off into all the country round, and began bringing the sick after him, beds and all, wherever they heard he was. And wherever he entered villages, or farmsteads, or towns, they used to lay the sick down in the open streets, and beg him to let them touch even the hem of his cloak; and all those who touched him recovered.

Mark 6: 53-56

As he was leaving Jericho, with his disciples and with a great multitude, Bartimaeus, the blind man, Timaeus’ son, was sitting there by the way-side, begging. And, hearing that this was Jesus of Nazareth, he fell to crying out, Jesus, son of David, have pity on me. Many of them rebuked him and told him to be silent, but he cried out all the more, Son of David, have pity on me. Jesus stopped, and bade them summon him; so they summoned the blind man; Take heart, they said, and rise up; he is summoning you. Whereupon he threw away his cloak and leapt to his feet, and so came to Jesus. Then Jesus answered him, What would you have me do for you? And the blind man said to him, Lord, give me back my sight. Jesus said to him, Away home with you; your faith has brought you recovery. And all at once he recovered his sight, and followed Jesus on his way.

Mark 10: 46-52

Then he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went into the synagogue there, as his custom was, on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book given to him was the book of the prophet Isaias; so he opened it, and found the place where the words ran: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me, and sent me out to preach the gospel to the poor, to restore the brokenhearted; to bid the prisoners go free, and the blind have sight; to set the oppressed at liberty, to proclaim a year when men may find acceptance with the Lord, a day of retribution. Then he shut the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All those who were in the synagogue fixed their eyes on him, and thus he began speaking to them, This scripture which I have read in your hearing is to-day fulfilled. All bore testimony to him, and were astonished at the gracious words which came from his mouth; Why, they said, is not this the son of Joseph? Then he said to them, No doubt you will tell me, as the proverb says, Physician, heal yourself; do here in your own country all that we have heard of your doing at Capharnaum. And he said, Believe me, no prophet finds acceptance in his own country. Why, you may be sure of this, there were many widows among the people of Israel in the days of Elias, when a great famine came over all the land, after the heavens had remained shut for three years and six months, but Elias was not sent to any of these. He was sent to a widow woman in Sarepta, which belongs to Sidon. And there were many lepers among the people of Israel in the days of the prophet Eliseus; but it was none of them, it was Naaman the Syrian, who was made clean. All those who were in the synagogue were full of indignation at hearing this; they rose up and thrust him out of the city, and took him up to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, to throw him over it. But he passed through the midst of them, and so went on his way.

Luke 4: 16-30

It happened that he was standing by the lake of Genesareth, at a time when the multitude was pressing close about him to hear the word of God; and he saw two boats moored at the edge of the lake; the fishermen had gone ashore, and were washing their nets. And he went on board one of the boats, which belonged to Simon, and asked him to stand off a little from the land; and so, sitting down, he began to teach the multitudes from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, Stand out into the deep water, and let down your nets for a catch. Simon answered him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and caught nothing; but at your word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they took a great quantity of fish, so that the net was near breaking, and they must needs beckon to their partners who were in the other boat to come and help them. When these came, they filled both boats, so that they were ready to sink. At seeing this, Simon Peter fell down and caught Jesus by the knees; Leave me to myself, Lord, he said; I am a sinner. Such amazement had overcome both him and all his crew, at the catch of fish they had made; so it was, too, with James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. But Jesus said to Simon, Do not be afraid; henceforth you shall be a fisher of men. So, when they had brought their boats to land, they left all and followed him.

Luke 5: 1-11

One of the Pharisees invited him to a meal; so he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at table. And there was then a sinful woman in the city, who, hearing that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought a pot of ointment with her, and took her place behind him at his feet, weeping; then she began washing his feet with her tears, and drying them with her hair, kissing his feet, and anointing them with the ointment. His host, the Pharisee, saw it, and thought to himself, If this man were a prophet, he would know who this woman is that is touching him, and what kind of woman, a sinner. But Jesus answered him thus, Simon, I have a word for your hearing. Tell it me, Master, he said. There was a creditor who had two debtors; one owed him five hundred pieces of silver, the other fifty; they had no means of paying him, and he gave them both their discharge. And now tell me, which of them loves him the more? I suppose, Simon answered, that it is the one who had the greater debt discharged. And he said, You have judged rightly. Then he turned towards the woman, and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I came into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet; she has washed my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss of greeting; she has never ceased to kiss my feet since I entered; you did not pour oil on my head; she has anointed my feet, and with ointment. And so, I tell you, if great sins have been forgiven her, she has also greatly loved. He loves little, who has little forgiven him. Then he said to her. Your sins are forgiven. And his fellow guests thereupon thought to themselves. Who is this, that he even so forgives sins? But he told the woman. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

Luke 7: 36-50

So they apprehended him, and led him away to the house of the high priest; and Peter followed at a long distance. They had lit a fire in the midst of the court, and were sitting round it; and there Peter sat among them. One of the maid-servants, as she saw him sitting there in the firelight, looked closely at him and said, This is one of those who were with him. And he disowned him; Woman, he said, I have no knowledge of him. After a short while, another of the company said, when he caught sight of him, You too are one of them; and Peter said, Man, I am not. Then there was an interval of about an hour, before another man insisted, It is the truth that this fellow was in his company; why, he is a Galilean. Man, said Peter, I do not understand what you mean; and all at once, while the words were on his lips, the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked at Peter; and Peter remembered what the Lord had said to him, Before cock-crow, you will thrice disown me. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Luke 22: 54-62

So he left Judaea, and once more withdrew into Galilee. And he was obliged to go by way of Samaria. Thus he came to a Samaritan city called Sichar, close by the plot of ground which Jacob gave to his son Joseph; and there was a well there called Jacob’s well. There, then, Jesus sat down, tired after his journey, by the well; it was about noon. And when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, Give me some to drink. (His disciples were away in the city at this time, buying food.) Whereupon the Samaritan woman said to him, How is it that you, who are a Jew, do ask me, a Samaritan, to give you drink? (The Jews, you must know, have no dealings with the Samaritans.) Jesus answered her, If you knew what it is God gives, and who this is that is saying to you, Give me drink, it would have been for you to ask him instead, and he would have given you living water. Sir, the woman said to him, you have no bucket, and the well is deep; how then can you provide living water? Are you a greater man than our father Jacob? It was he who gave us this well; he himself and his sons and his cattle have drunk out of it. Jesus answered her, Anyone who drinks such water as this will be thirsty again afterwards, the man who drinks the water I give him will not know thirst any more. The water I give him will be a spring of water within him, that flows continually to bring him everlasting life. Then, Sir, said the woman, give me water such as that, so that I may never be thirsty and have to come here for water again.

John 4: 2-15

And at early morning he appeared again in the temple; all the common folk came to him, and he sat down there and began to teach them. And now the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman who had been found committing adultery, and made her stand there in full view; Master, they said, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Moses, in his law, prescribed that such persons should be stoned to death; what of you? What is your sentence? They said this to put him to the test, hoping to find a charge to bring against him. But Jesus bent down, and began writing on the ground with his finger. When he found that they continued to question him, he looked up and said to them, Whichever of you is free from sin shall cast the first stone at her. Then he bent down again, and went on writing on the ground. And they began to go out one by one, beginning with the eldest, till Jesus was left alone with the woman, still standing in full view. Then Jesus looked up, and asked her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you? No one, Lord, she said. And Jesus said to her, I will not condemn you either. Go, and do not sin again henceforward.

John 8: 2-11

And if you do not believe me, it is precisely because I am speaking the truth. Can any of you convict me of sin? If not, why is it that you do not believe me when I tell you the truth? The man who belongs to God listens to God’s words; it is because you do not belong to God that you will not listen to me.

Hereupon the Jews answered him, We are right, surely, in saying that you are a Samaritan, and are possessed? I am not possessed, Jesus answered; it is because I reverence my Father that you have no reverence for me. Not that I am looking to my own reputation; there is another who will look to it, and be the judge.

Believe me when I tell you this; if a man is true to my word, to all eternity he will never see death. And the Jews said to him, Now we are certain that you are possessed. What of Abraham and the prophets? They are dead; and you say that a man will never taste death to all eternity, if he is true to your word. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He is dead, and the prophets are dead. What do you claim to be? If I should speak in my own honour, Jesus answered, such honour goes for nothing. Honour must come to me from my Father, from him whom you claim as your God; although you cannot recognize him. But I have knowledge of him; if I should say I have not, I should be what you are, a liar. Yes, I have knowledge of him, and I am true to his word. As for your father Abraham, his heart was proud to see the day of my coming; he saw, and rejoiced to see it. Then the Jews asked him, Have you seen Abraham, you, who are not yet fifty years old? And Jesus said to them, Believe me, before ever Abraham came to be, I am. Whereupon they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.

John 8: 45-59

Lord, said Martha to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died; and I know well that even now God will grant whatever you will ask of him. Your brother, Jesus said to her, will rise again. Martha said to him, I know well enough that he will rise again at the resurrection, when the last day comes. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and life; he who believes in me, though he is dead, will live on, and whoever has life, and has faith in me, to all eternity cannot die. Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she told him, I have learned to believe that you are the Christ; you are the Son of the living God; it is for your coming the world has waited. And with that she went back and called her sister Mary aside; The Master is here, she said, and bids you come. She rose up at once on hearing it, and went to him. (Jesus had not yet reached the village; he was still at the place where Martha had gone out to meet him.) And so the Jews who were in the house with Mary, comforting her, when they saw how quickly she rose up and went out, followed her; She has gone to the grave, they said, to weep there.

So Mary reached the place where Jesus was; and when she saw him, she fell at his feet; Lord, she said, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. And Jesus, when he saw her in tears, and the tears of the Jews who accompanied her, sighed deeply, and distressed himself over it; Where have you buried him? he asked. Lord, they said to him, come and see. Then Jesus wept. See, said the Jews, how he loved him; and some of them asked, Could not he, who opened the blind man’s eyes, have prevented this man’s death? So Jesus, once more sighing to himself, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone had been put over the mouth of it. Take away the stone, Jesus told them. And Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, Lord, the air is foul by now; he has been four days dead. Why, Jesus said to her, have I not told you that if you have faith, you will see God glorified? So they took the stone away; and Jesus lifted his eyes to heaven. Father, he said, I thank you for hearing my prayer. For myself, I know that you hear me at all times, but I say this for the sake of the multitude which is standing round, that they may learn to believe it is you who have sent me. And with that he cried in a loud voice, Come out, Lazarus, to my side. Whereupon the dead man came out, his feet and hands tied with linen strips, and his face muffled in a veil. Loose him, said Jesus, and let him go free.

Many of these Jews who had visited Martha and Mary, and seen what Jesus did, learned to believe in him, but some went off to the Pharisees, and reported to them all Jesus had done.

John 11: 24-47

And now they led Jesus away from the house of Caiphas to the governor’s palace. It was morning, and they would not enter the palace themselves; there was the paschal meal to be eaten, and they must not incur defilement. And so Pilate went to meet them without; What charge, he asked, do you bring against this man? They answered, We would not have given him up to you, if he had not been a malefactor. Take him yourselves, Pilate said to them, and judge him according to your own law. Whereupon the Jews said to him, We have no power to put any man to death. (This was in fulfilment of the words Jesus had spoken when he prophesied what death he was to die.) So Pilate went back into the palace, and summoned Jesus; Are you the king of the Jews? he asked. Do you say this of your own accord, Jesus answered, or is it what others have told you of me? And Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? It is your own nation, and its chief priests, who have given you up to me. What offence have you committed? My kingdom, said Jesus, does not belong to this world. If my kingdom were one which belonged to this world, my servants would be fighting, to prevent my falling into the hands of the Jews; but no, my kingdom does not take its origin here. You are a king, then? Pilate asked. And Jesus answered, It is your own lips that have called me a king. What I was born for, what I came into the world for, is to bear witness of the truth. Whoever belongs to the truth, listens to my voice. Pilate said to him, What is truth? And with that he went back to the Jews again, and told them, I can find no fault in him.

John 18: 28-39




Examples of Jesus’s Wisdom

Practicality & Good Judgment

Do not fret, then, over to-morrow; leave to-morrow to fret over its own needs; for today, today’s troubles are enough.

Matt 6: 34

These twelve Jesus sent out; but first gave them their instructions. . . . Do not provide gold or silver or copper to fill your purses, nor a wallet for the journey, no second coat, no spare shoes or staff; the labourer has a right to his maintenance. Whenever you enter a city or a village, find out who is worthy to be your host, and make your lodging there until you go away.

Matt 10: 5-11

How is a man the better for it, if he gains the whole world at the cost of losing his own soul? For a man’s soul, what price can be high enough?

Matt 16: 26

Thereupon the mother of the sons of Zebedee brought them to him, falling on her knees to make a request of him. And when he asked her, What is your will? she said to him, Here are my two sons; grant that in your kingdom one may take his place on your right and the other on your left. But Jesus answered, You do not know what it is you ask. Have you strength to drink of the cup I am to drink of ? They said, We have. And he told them, You shall indeed drink of my cup; but a place on my right hand or my left is not mine to give; it is for those for whom my Father has destined it.

Matt 20: 20-24

Then they came forward and laid their hands on Jesus, and held him fast. And at that, one of those who were with Jesus lifted a hand to draw his sword, and smote one of the high priest’s servants with it, cutting off his ear. Whereupon Jesus said to him, Put your sword back into its place; all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.

Matt 26: 51-53

And when the chief priests and elders brought their accusation against him, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, Do you not hear all the testimony they bring against you? But Jesus would not answer any of their charges, so that the governor was full of astonishment.

Matt 27: 12-15

But Jesus withdrew, with his disciples, towards the sea; and great crowds followed him from Galilee, and from Judaea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and from beyond Jordan; and those who lived about Tyre and Sidon, hearing of all that he did, came in great numbers to him. So he told his disciples to keep a boat ready at need because of the multitude, for fear they should press on him too close; for he did many works of healing, so that all those who were visited with suffering thrust themselves upon him, to touch him.

Mark 3: 7-11

And now he would not let anyone follow him, except Peter and James and James’ brother John; and so they came to the ruler’s house, where he found a great stir, and much weeping and lamentation. And he went in and said to them, What is this stir, this weeping? The child is not dead, she is asleep. They laughed aloud at him; but he sent them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and his own companions with him, went in to where the child lay. Then he took hold of the child’s hand, and said to her, Talitha, cumi, which means, Maiden, I say to you, rise up. And the girl stood up immediately, and began to walk; she was twelve years old. And they were beside themselves with wonder. Then he laid a strict charge on them to let nobody hear of this, and ordered that she should be given something to eat.

Mark 5: 37-43

And John answered him, Master, we saw a man who does not follow in our company casting out devils in your name, and we forbade him to do it. But Jesus said, Forbid him no more; no one who does a miracle in my name will lightly speak evil of me. The man who is not against you is on your side. Why, if anyone gives you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ’s, I promise you, he shall not miss his reward.

Mark 9: 37-40

And now the apostles came together again in the presence of Jesus, and told him of all they had done, and all the teaching they had given. And he said to them, Come away into a quiet place by yourselves, and rest a little. For there were many coming and going, and they scarcely had leisure even to eat. So they took ship, and went to a lonely place by themselves. But many saw them going, or came to know of it; gathering from all the cities, they hurried to the place by land, and were there before them. So, when he disembarked, Jesus saw a great multitude there, and took pity on them, since they were like sheep that have no shepherd, and began to give them long instruction. And when it was already late, his disciples came to him and said, This is a lonely place, and it is late already; give them leave to go to the farms and villages round about, and buy themselves food there; they have nothing to eat. But he answered them, It is for you to give them food to eat. Why then, they said to him, we must go and spend two hundred silver pieces buying bread to feed them. He asked, How many loaves have you? Go and see. When they had found out, they told him, Five, and two fishes. Then he told them all to sit down in companies on the green grass; and they took their places in rows, by hundreds and fifties. And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave these to his disciples to set before them, dividing the fishes, too, among them all. All ate and had enough: and when they took up the broken pieces, and what was left of the fishes, they filled twelve baskets with them. The loaves had fed five thousand men.

Mark 6: 30-44

After this, the Lord appointed seventy-two others, and sent them before him, two and two, into all the cities and villages he himself was to visit. The harvest, he told them, is plentiful enough, but the labourers are few; you must ask the Lord to whom the harvest belongs to send labourers out for the harvesting. Go then, and remember, I am sending you out to be like lambs among wolves. You are not to carry purse, or wallet, or shoes; you are to give no one greeting on your way. When you enter a house, say first of all, Peace be to this house; and if those who dwell there are men of good will, your good wishes shall come down upon it; if not, they will come back to you the way they went. Remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they have to give you; the labourer has a right to his maintenance; do not move from one house to another. When you enter a city, and they make you welcome, be content to eat the fare they offer you: and heal those who are sick there; and tell them, The kingdom of God is close upon you.

Luke 10: 1-10

One of the multitude said to him, Master, bid my brother give me a share of our inheritance. And he answered, Why, man, who has appointed me a judge to make awards between you? Then he said to them, Look well and keep yourselves clear of all covetousness. A man’s life does not consist in having more possessions than he needs.

Luke 12: 13-15

At this very time there were some present that told him the story of those Galileans, whose blood Pilate had shed in the midst of their sacrifices. And Jesus said in answer, Do you suppose, because this befell them, that these men were worse sinners than all else in Galilee? I tell you it is not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent. What of those eighteen men on whom the tower fell in Siloe, and killed them; do you suppose that there was a heavier account against them, than against any others who then dwelt at Jerusalem? I tell you it was not so; you will all perish as they did, if you do not repent.

Luke 13: 1-5

And so, watching for their opportunity, they sent agents of their own, who pretended to be men of honest purpose, to fasten on his words; then they would hand him over to the supreme authority of the governor. These put a question to him; Master, they said, we know that you are direct in your talk and your teaching; you make no distinction between man and man, but teach the way of God in all sincerity. Is it right1 that we should pay tribute to Caesar, or not? And he, aware of their malice, said to them, Why do you thus put me to the test? Show me a silver piece. Whose likeness, whose name does it bear inscribed on it? When they answered, Caesar’s, he told them, Why then, give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.

Luke 20: 20-26

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has claimed power over you all, so that he can sift you like wheat: but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; when, after a while, you have come back to me, it is for you to be the support of your brethren. Lord, said he, I am ready to bear you company, though it were to prison or to death. But he answered, I tell you, Peter, by cock-crow this morning you will thrice have denied knowledge of me.

Luke 22: 31-34

And they told the story of their encounter in the road, and how they recognized him when he broke bread. While they were speaking of this, he himself stood in the midst of them, and said, Peace be upon you; it is myself, do not be afraid. They cowered down, full of terror, thinking that they were seeing an apparition. What, he said to them, are you dismayed? Whence come these surmises in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, to be assured that it is myself; touch me, and look; a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see that I have. And as he spoke thus, he showed them his hands and his feet. Then, while they were still doubtful, and bewildered with joy, he asked them, Have you anything here to eat? So they put before him a piece of roast fish, and a honeycomb; and he took these and ate in their presence and shared his meal with them.

Luke 24: 36-44

And Jesus saw, as he passed on his way, a man who had been blind from his birth. Whereupon his disciples asked him, Master, was this man guilty of sin, or was it his parents, that he should have been born blind? Neither he nor his parents were guilty, Jesus answered; it was so that God’s action might declare itself in him.

John 9: 1-4

When he said to them, I am Jesus of Nazareth, they all shrank back, and fell to the ground. So, once more, Jesus asked them, Who is it you are looking for? and when they said, Jesus of Nazareth, he answered, I have told you already that I am Jesus. If I am the man you are looking for, let these others go free. Thus he would make good the words he had spoken to them, I have not lost any of those whom you have entrusted to me.

John 18: 6-9

So it was, then, that the soldiers occupied themselves; and meanwhile his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen, had taken their stand beside the cross of Jesus. And Jesus, seeing his mother there, and the disciple, too, whom he loved, standing by, said to his mother, Woman, this is your son. Then he said to the disciple, This is your mother. And from that hour the disciple took her into his own keeping.

John 19: 25-27

Simon Peter told them, I am going out fishing; and they went out and embarked on the boat, and all that night they caught nothing. But when morning came, there was Jesus standing on the shore; only the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Have you caught anything, friends, Jesus asked them, to season your bread with? And when they answered No, he said to them, Cast to the right of the boat, and you will have a catch. So they cast the net, and found before long they had no strength to haul it in, such a shoal of fish was in it. Whereupon the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, It is the Lord. And Simon Peter, hearing him say that it was the Lord, girded up the fisherman’s coat, which was all he wore, and sprang into the sea. The other disciples followed in the boat (they were not far from land, only some hundred yards away), dragging their catch in the net behind them. So they went ashore, and found a charcoal fire made there, with fish and bread cooking on it. Bring some of the fish you have just caught, Jesus said to them: and Simon Peter, going on board, hauled in the net to land.

John 21: 3-11




Attitudes & Reactions Recorded in the

Gospels to Jesus’s Miracles

[A miracle is an interference with Nature by supernatural power, and Western intellectual culture, even when it is not explicitly atheistic, is deeply biased against miracles. The Gospels purport to be eye-witness accounts of the sensationally eventful and unique career of Jesus of Nazareth. Indeed, they have the feel of eye-witness accounts, and very little in common with that literary genre that tells of gods and heroes. But because the Gospels overflow with miracles in the sense above, their credibility in Western societies has been under continuous attack since the Enlightenment, and the flowering of science has, in many minds, lent silent support to that attack. Despite the almost universal admiration for Jesus’s moral teaching, there is a very understandable resistance to belief when the Gospels matter-of-factly recount that an angel appeared to a virgin, that a virgin conceived a child, that a dove from heaven descended on Jesus, that a voice from a cloud was heard confirming Jesus’s authority, that the devil appeared to Jesus and made various tempting offers while He was praying and fasting in the desert, that Jesus cast out a rabble of demons from a previously uncontrollable madman and granted their request to enter into a herd of swine, that Jesus walked on water, that He calmed a storm, that He performed “unambiguous” miracles such as restoring a man’s shriveled hand, giving sight to Bartimaeus who was blind from birth, cleansing lepers far gone in the disease, and calling Lazarus out of the tomb he had lain in for four days bound with linen strips, that Jesus was bodily transfigured while He spoke with Moses and Elijah on a lonely mountain, that on the third day after His execution by the authorities Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to his disciples on at least four separate occasions, and that He took his final leave of a large group of followers by rising upwards till He was lost to their view. Scepticism would be a natural reaction to such extraordinary events in any historical period—as the Gospels themselves often record—and it continues to be a natural first response two thousand years after these events allegedly took place. Whether scepticism is the only rational response after the puzzle of the Gospels has been exhaustively examined from every side is for each individual to decide. To date, belief has outweighed scepticism to the extent that it still seems reasonable to split history in two, the part before Jesus of Nazareth and the part after.]

As he entered Capharnaum, a centurion came to him, asking for his aid; Lord, he said, I have a servant lying sick at my house, cruelly tormented with the palsy. Jesus said to him, I will come and heal him. But the centurion answered, Lord, I am not worthy to receive you under my roof; my servant will be healed if you will only speak a word of command. I too know what it is to obey authority; I have soldiers under me, and I say, Go, to one man, and he goes, or, Come, to another, and he comes, or, Do this, to my servant and he does it. When he heard that, Jesus said to his followers in amazement, Believe me, I have not found faith like this, even in Israel.

Matt 8: 5-11

Now John had heard in his prison of Christ’s doings, and he sent two of his disciples to him; Is it your coming that was foretold, he asked, or are we yet waiting for some other? Jesus answered them, Go and tell John what your own ears and eyes have witnessed; how the blind see, and the lame walk, how the lepers are made clean, and the deaf hear, how the dead are raised to life, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Blessed is the man who does not lose confidence in me.

Matt 11: 2-6

Afterwards, when he had finished these parables, Jesus journeyed on, and came to his own countryside, where he taught them in their synagogue; so that they said in astonishment, How did he come by this wisdom, and these strange powers? Is not this the carpenter’s son, whose mother is called Mary, and his brethren James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And do not his sisters, all of them, live near us? How is it that all this has come to him? And they had no confidence in him. But Jesus told them, It is only in his own country, in his own home, that a prophet goes unhonoured. Nor did he do many miracles there, because of their unbelief.

Matt 13: 53-58

Then Jesus left that country, and passed along the sea of Galilee, and went up into the mountain and sat down there. Great multitudes came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the deaf, the crippled, and many besides, whom they laid at his feet; and he healed them: so that the multitudes were amazed to find the dumb speaking, the lame walking, and the blind recovering their sight; and they praised the God of Israel for it.

Matt 15: 29-31

The chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him in the same way, He saved others, they said, he cannot save himself. If he is the king of Israel, he has but to come down from the cross, here and now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let God, if he favours him, succour him now; he told us, I am the Son of God.

Matt 27: 41-43

Then a leper came up to him, asking for his aid; he knelt at his feet and said, If it be your will, you have power to make me clean. Jesus was moved with pity; he held out his hand and touched him, and said, It is my will; be made clean. And at the word, the leprosy all at once left him, and he was cleansed. And he spoke to him threateningly, and sent him away there and then: Be sure you do not speak of this at all, he said, to anyone; away with you, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift for your cleansing which Moses ordained, to make the truth known to them. But he, as soon as he had gone away, began to talk publicly and spread the story round; so that Jesus could no longer go into any of the cities openly, but dwelt in lonely places apart; and still from every side they came to him.

Mark 1:40-45

Which command is more lightly given, to say to the palsied man, Your sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise up, take your bed with you, and walk? And now, to convince you that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins while he is on earth (here he spoke to the palsied man); I tell you, rise up, take your bed with you, and go home. And he rose up at once, and took his bed, and went out in full sight of them; so that all were astonished and gave praise to God; they said, We never saw the like.

Mark 2: 9-12

And a great storm of wind arose, and drove the waves into the boat, so that the boat could hold no more. Meanwhile, he was in the stern, asleep on the pillow there; and they roused him, crying, Master, are you unconcerned? We are sinking. So he rose up, and checked the wind, and said to the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind dropped, and there was deep calm. Then he said to them, Why are you faint-hearted? Have you still no faith? And they were overcome with awe; Why, who is this, they said to one another, who is obeyed even by the winds and the sea?

Mark 4: 37-40

So Jesus went back by boat across the sea, and a great multitude gathered about him; and while he was still by the sea, one of the rulers of the synagogue came up, Jairus by name, and fell down at his feet when he saw him, pleading for his aid. My daughter, he said, is at the point of death; come and lay your hand on her, that so she may recover, and live. So he turned aside with him, and a great multitude followed him, and pressed close upon him. And now a woman who for twelve years had had an issue of blood, and had undergone much from many physicians, spending all she had on them, and no better for it, but rather grown worse, came up behind Jesus in the crowd (for she had been told of him), and touched his cloak; If I can even touch his cloak, she said to herself, I shall be healed. And immediately the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in her body that she had been cured of her affliction. Jesus thereupon, inwardly aware of the power that had proceeded from him, turned back towards the multitude and asked, Who touched my garments? His disciples said to him, Can you see the multitude pressing so close about you, and ask, Who touched me? But he looked round him to catch sight of the woman who had done this. And now the woman, trembling with fear, since she recognized what had befallen her, came and fell at his feet, and told him the whole truth. Whereupon Jesus said to her, My daughter, your faith has brought you recovery; go in peace, and be rid of your affliction.

While he was yet speaking, messengers came from the ruler’s house to say, Your daughter is dead, why do you trouble the Master any longer? Jesus heard the word said, and told the ruler of the synagogue, No need to fear; you have only to believe. And now he would not let anyone follow him, except Peter and James and James’ brother John; and so they came to the ruler’s house, where he found a great stir, and much weeping and lamentation. And he went in and said to them, What is this stir, this weeping? The child is not dead, she is asleep. They laughed aloud at him; but he sent them all out, and, taking the child’s father and mother and his own companions with him, went in to where the child lay. Then he took hold of the child’s hand, and said to her, Talitha, cumi, which means, Maiden, I say to you, rise up. And the girl stood up immediately, and began to walk; she was twelve years old. And they were beside themselves with wonder.

Mark 6: 21-43

Thereupon he embarked, with his disciples, and went into the part round Dalmanutha. Here the Pharisees came out and entered upon a dispute with him; to put him to the test, they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, Why does this generation ask for a sign? Believe me, this generation shall have no sign given it. And so he left them, and took ship again, and crossed to the further side.

They had forgotten to take bread with them, and had no more than one loaf in the boat; and when he warned them, Look well, and avoid the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod, they said anxiously to one another, We have brought no bread. Jesus knew it, and said, What is this anxiety, that you have brought no bread with you? Have you no sense, no wits, even now? Is your heart still dull? Have you eyes that cannot see, and ears that cannot hear; do you remember nothing? When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up? They told him, Twelve. And when I broke the seven loaves among the four thousand, how many hampers full of broken pieces did you take up then? And they told him, Seven. Then he said to them, How is it that you still do not understand?

Mark 8: 10-21

When he reached his disciples, he found a great multitude gathered around them, and some of the scribes disputing with them. The multitude, as soon as they saw him, were overcome with awe, and ran up to welcome him. He asked them, What is the dispute you are holding among you? And one of the multitude answered, Master, I have brought my son to you; he is possessed by a dumb spirit, and wherever it seizes on him, it tears him, and he foams at the mouth, and gnashes his teeth, and his strength is drained from him. And I bade your disciples cast it out, but they were powerless. And he answered them, Ah, faithless generation, how long must I be with you, how long must I bear with you? Bring him to me. So they brought the boy to him; and the evil spirit, as soon as it saw him, threw the boy into a convulsion, so that he fell on the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth. And now Jesus asked the father, How long has this been happening to him? From childhood, he said; and often it has thrown him into the fire, and into water, to make an end of him. Come, have pity on us, and help us if you can. But Jesus said to him, If you can believe, to him who believes, everything is possible. Whereupon the father of the boy cried aloud, in tears, Lord, I do believe; succour my unbelief. And Jesus, seeing how the multitude was gathering round them, rebuked the unclean spirit; You dumb and deaf spirit, he said, it is I that command you; come out of him, and never enter into him again. With that, crying aloud and throwing him into a violent convulsion, it came out of him, and he lay there like a corpse, so that many declared, He is dead. But Jesus took hold of his hand, and raised him, and he stood up. When he had gone into a house, and they were alone, the disciples asked him, Why was it that we could not cast it out? And he told them, There is no way of casting out such spirits as this except by prayer and fasting.

Mark 9: 13-28

And when the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalen, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought spices, to come and anoint Jesus. So they came to the tomb very early on the day after the sabbath, at sunrise. And they began to question among themselves, Who is to roll the stone away for us from the door of the tomb? Then they looked up, and saw that the stone, great as it was, had been rolled away already. And they went into the tomb, and saw there, on the right, a young man seated, wearing a white robe; and they were dismayed. But he said to them, No need to be dismayed; you have come to look for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified; he has risen again, he is not here. Here is the place where they laid him. Go and tell Peter and the rest of his disciples that he is going before you into Galilee. There you shall have sight of him, as he promised you. So they came out and ran away from the tomb, trembling and awe-struck, and said nothing to anyone, out of fear. But he had risen again, at dawn on the first day of the week, and showed himself first of all to Mary Magdalen, the woman out of whom he had cast seven devils. She went and gave the news to those who had been of his company, where they mourned and wept; and they, when they were told that he was alive and that she had seen him, could not believe it. After that, he appeared in the form of a stranger to two of them as they were walking together, going out into the country; these went back and gave the news to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

Then at last he appeared to all eleven of them as they sat at table, and reproached them with their unbelief and their obstinacy of heart, in giving no credit to those who had seen him after he had risen.

Mark 16: 1-14

Jesus knew of these secret thoughts of theirs, and said to them openly, Why do you reason thus in your hearts? Which command is more lightly given, to say, Your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Rise up and walk? And now, to convince you that the Son of Man has power to forgive sins while he is on earth (here he spoke to the palsied man), I tell you, rise up, take your bed with you and go home. And he rose up at once in full sight of them, took up his bedding, and went home, giving praise to God. Astonishment came over them all, and they praised God, full of awe; We have seen strange things, they said, to-day.

Luke 5: 22-26

And Herod, who was prince in that quarter, heard of all his doings, and did not know what to think, some telling him that John had risen from the dead, and some that Elias had appeared, and some that one of the old prophets had returned to life. John, said Herod, I beheaded; who can this be, of whom I hear such reports? And he was eager to see him.

Luke 9: 7-9

Pilate, on the mention of Galilee, asked whether the man was a Galilean; and learning that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, remitted his cause to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at this time. Herod was overjoyed at seeing Jesus; for a long time he had been eager to have sight of him, because he had heard so much of him, and now he hoped to witness some miracle of his.

Luke 23: 6-9

There was a man called Nicodemus, a Pharisee, and one of the rulers of the Jews, who came to see Jesus by night; Master, he said to him, we know that you have come from God to teach us; no one, unless God were with him, could do the miracles which you do. Jesus answered him, Believe me when I tell you this; a man cannot see the kingdom of God without being born anew.

John 3: 1-3

Next morning, the multitude was still waiting on the opposite shore. They had seen that there was only one boat there, and that Jesus did not embark with his disciples on this boat, but left his disciples to go back alone. But now, since other boats from Tiberias had put in near the place where they ate the loaves when the Lord gave thanks over them, the multitude, finding neither Jesus nor his disciples there, embarked on these boats in their turn, and went back to Capharnaum to look for Jesus. And when they found that he had crossed the lake, they asked him, Master, when did you make your way here? Jesus answered them, Believe me, if you are looking for me now, it is not because of the miracles you have seen; it is because you were fed with the loaves, and had your fill. You should not work to earn food which perishes in the using. Work to earn food which affords, continually, eternal life, such food as the Son of Man will give you; God, the Father, has authorized him. What shall we do, then, they asked him, so as to work in God’s service? Jesus answered them, This is the service God asks of you, to believe in the Man whom he has sent. So they said to him, Why then, what miracle can you do? We must see it before we trust you; what can you effect?

John 6: 22-31

At this, some of those who belonged to Jerusalem began to ask, Is not this the man they design to put to death? Yet here he is, speaking publicly, and they have nothing to say to him. Can the rulers have made up their minds in earnest, that this is the Christ? But then, we know this man’s origins; when Christ appears, no one is to know whence he comes. Whereupon Jesus cried aloud as he taught in the temple, You know me, and you know whence I come; but I have not come on my own errand, I was sent by one who has a right to send; and him you do not know. I know him, because I come from him; it was he who sent me. And now they were ready to seize him; but none of them laid hands on him; his time had not yet come. And indeed, among the multitude there were many who learned to believe in him; they said, Can the Christ be expected to do more miracles at his coming than this man has done?

John 7: 25-31

And they brought him before the Pharisees, this man who had once been blind. It was a sabbath day, you must know, when Jesus made clay and opened his eyes. And so the Pharisees in their turn asked him how he had recovered his sight. Why, he said, he put clay on my eyes; and then I washed, and now I can see. Whereupon some of the Pharisees said, This man can be no messenger from God; he does not observe the sabbath. Others asked, How can a man do miracles like this, and be a sinner? Thus there was a division of opinion among them. And now they questioned the blind man again, What account do you give of him, that he should thus have opened your eyes? Why, he said, he must be a prophet. The Jews must send for the parents of the man who had recovered his sight, before they would believe his story that he had been blind, and that he had had his sight restored to him. And they questioned them, Is this your son, who, you say, was born blind? How comes it, then, that he is now able to see? His parents answered them, We can tell you that this is our son, and that he was blind when he was born; we cannot tell how he is able to see now; we have no means of knowing who opened his eyes for him. Ask the man himself; he is of age; let him tell you his own story. It was fear of the Jews that made his parents talk in this way; the Jews had by now come to an agreement that anyone who acknowledged Jesus as the Christ should be forbidden the synagogue; that was why his parents said, He is of age, ask him himself.

So once more they summoned the man who had been blind. Give God the praise, they said; this man, to our knowledge, is a sinner. Sinner or not, said the other, I cannot tell; all I know is that once I was blind, and now I can see. Then they asked him over again, What was it he did to you? By what means did he open your eyes? And he answered them, I have told you already, and you would not listen to me. Why must you hear it over again? Would you too become his disciples? Upon this, they covered him with abuse; Keep his discipleship for yourself, we are disciples of Moses. We know for certain that God spoke to Moses; we know nothing of this man, or whence he comes. Why, the man answered, here is matter for astonishment; here is a man that comes you cannot tell whence, and he has opened my eyes. And yet we know for certain that God does not answer the prayers of sinners, it is only when a man is devout and does his will, that his prayer is answered. That a man should open the eyes of one born blind is something unheard of since the world began. No, if this man did not come from God, he would have no powers at all. What, they answered, are we to have lessons from you, all steeped in sin from your birth? And they cast him out from their presence.

John 9: 13-34

Martha, when she heard that Jesus had come, went out to meet him, while Mary sat on in the house. Lord, said Martha to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died; and I know well that even now God will grant whatever you will ask of him.

John 11: 20-22

Many of these Jews who had visited Martha and Mary, and seen what Jesus did, learned to believe in him, but some went off to the Pharisees, and reported to them all Jesus had done. So the chief priests and Pharisees summoned a council; What are we about? they said. This man is performing many miracles, and if we leave him to his own devices, he will find credit everywhere. Then the Romans will come, and make an end of our city and our race.

John 11: 45-48

Such great miracles he did in their presence, and still they did not believe in him; this was in fulfilment of the words spoken by the prophet Isaias, Lord, is there anyone who has believed our message, to whom the power of God has been made known? So it was that they could not believe; and indeed, Isaias has said elsewhere: He has blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart, so that they could not see with those eyes, and understand with that heart, and turn back to me, and win healing from me. Isaias said this, as one who had seen his glory; it was of him that he spoke. There were, for all that, many of the rulers who had learned to believe in him; but they would not profess it because of the Pharisees, afraid of being forbidden the synagogue. They valued their credit with men higher than their credit with God.

John 12: 37-43

If I had not done what no one else ever did in their midst they would not have been in fault; as it is, they have hated, with open eyes, both me and my Father. And all this, in fulfilment of the saying which is written in their law, They hated me without cause.

John 15: 24-25

There was one of the twelve, Thomas, who is also called Didymus, who was not with them when Jesus came. And when the other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord, he said to them, Until I have seen the mark of the nails on his hands, until I have put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, you will never make me believe.

John 20: 24-26




Some Opinions about Jesus

A common argument, attributed among others to C. S. Lewis (who should have known better), states that, since Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, he must have been either right or else insane or a liar: ‘Mad, Bad or God’. Or, with artless alliteration, ‘Lunatic, Liar or Lord’. The historical evidence that Jesus claimed any sort of divine status is minimal. But even if that evidence were good, the trilemma on offer would be ludicrously inadequate. A fourth possibility, almost too obvious to need mentioning, is that Jesus was honestly mistaken.

Richard Dawkins

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—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.

C. S. Lewis

As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.... No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.

Albert Einstein

Buddha never claimed to be God. Moses never claimed to be Jehovah. Mohammed never claimed to be Allah. Yet Jesus Christ claimed to be the true and living God. Buddha simply said, “I am a teacher in search of the truth.” Jesus said, “I am the Truth.” Confucius said, “I never claimed to be holy.” Jesus said, “Who can convict me of sin?” Mohammed said, “Unless God throws his cloak of mercy over me, I have no hope.” Jesus said, “Unless you believe in me, you will die in your sins.”

Anonymous

I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H. G. Wells

I do not think that Christ was the best and wisest of men, although I grant Him a very high degree of moral goodness.

Bertrand Russell

I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden.”

St. Augustine

I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.

Napoleon

I revere our Lord on the authority of the Church but as a Man he does not appeal to me.

Hilaire Belloc (reported)

Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind.

Mikhail Gorbachev

The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.

Havelock Ellis

Those who reject the claims of Christ are unconsciously influenced by those claims. Instead of condemning Christ as an imposter, they are spellbound by the supernatural atmosphere in which he moves. They hear the ring of truth in every word he uttered and dare not brand him a liar.

Arnold Lunn

[In 1790, just about a month before he died, Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to Ezra Stiles, president of Yale University, who had asked him his views on religion:]

As to Jesus of Nazareth, my Opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think the System of Morals and his Religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is likely to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupt changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some Doubts as to his divinity; tho’ it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and I think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an Opportunity of knowing the Truth with less Trouble . . .

Right click HERE to download the WordPerfect (6.1) version of the above file. If this file is opened in Microsoft Word, the booklet formatting will be lost, but most of the text formatting will be preserved.