What Did Jesus Teach?
THE GOOD NEWS
So many things are attributed to Jesus and so many people have stamped their own interpretations on various verses that it can be pretty daunting to figure out what he actually taught.
In truth, we’ll never know. Everything written in the Gospels was written scores or even hundreds of years after Jesus died by people who never met him or knew anyone who did. There are, in fact, scores more ‘gospels’ that didn’t make the cut when the Roman Catholic Church went through its final editing of what we now call ‘the Bible’.
But since this book is aimed at the literalist, we’re going to take these four Gospels at their word. So, what do they say were the teachings of Jesus?
He claimed that God is all there is and God is right here, right now, everywhere and in everything, and provides for all of our needs.3
He taught the Kingdom of Heaven is ours to be had and God wants nothing more than for us to have all the fruits of the Kingdom.4
Jesus knew the power of our minds. In fact he said thinking of a thing as if it were so was akin to actually doing it. He taught that if we truly believe and persist in our belief then the thing believed in must be so, whether it’s good or bad. He knew first hand that the power to heal comes from the belief of the one being healed, not the healer. He knew all we need to do is ask, and if we ask believing, then it will surely come to pass.5
Likewise, he knew words are cheap. He taught that people will show who they are by what they do, not by what they say. He had a great saying, “Know a tree by its fruit”. Actions speak much louder than words.6
He taught that we reap what we sow and every action has a consequence.7 If we are to be saved or condemned, it will be through our own thoughts and actions and no ritual or sacrifice will save us. We are what we create.8
Jesus knew as much as anyone that all men are fallible and no one is perfect. This life is not meant to be perfect. We learn and grow through our trials and those trials show up uniquely through each one of us. He taught us not to judge others because we have no idea of the circumstances of anyone’s life. We need only to focus on ourselves and leave others to their own path.9
He taught us to let go of all resentment, all judgment, and have no limit to our forgiveness. For as we forgive, so we are forgiven.10
Jesus was adamant that we first and foremost seek our alignment with God, for if that relationship is true all else will take care of itself. God will never forsake us and his light will steadfastly lead us down the path that, in turn, will allow us to let that light shine through us.11
He taught us to be humble and seek our relationship with God with a child’s mind, a mind open to infinite possibilities, willing and able to accept goodness in a way only a child can.12
Jesus knew the spiritual path is not an easy one. He knew trials and tribulations are part of the game while we live here on earth. But he also knew that those who persevere, those who can see past this physical experience and manage to live from their higher spiritual being, will awaken to the fact that life is eternal.13
He knew our relationship with God is intensely personal and should be approached as such. He implored us to have faith in the goodness and givingness of God. He knew we are always held in the Divine embrace, guided, protected and nourished in a way only faith can embody.14
He implored us to be just and merciful and to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. He instructed us to put his teaching into action not by judging but by doing good, for good’s sake alone, seeking nothing in return.15
Lastly, and most importantly, Jesus taught we should always be mindful of who we are. We are love incarnate and we should always let that love-light shine brilliantly through the example of our lives. Love is the reason we are here and there is nothing more important than to express that love in every word, thought and deed.16
3Matthew 4:17; Matthew 6: 9-10; Matthew 12:25-26
4Matthew 6:11; Matthew 6:13 Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 12:22-34
5Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 5:27-30; Matthew 8:5-13; Matthew 15:22-28; Matthew 17:20; Mark 11:22-25; Luke 11:5-8; Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 11:9-13
6Matthew 7:15-27 Matthew 12:33-37; Luke 6:43-45
7Matthew .5:31-32; Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 9:42-50
8Matthew 5:23-26; Matthew 15:11; Matthew 15:17-20; Mark 7:14-23; Matthew 9:13; John 5:19-27
9Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6: 20-22; Luke 6:24-26; Matthew 5:33-36; Matthew 7:1-6
10Luke 17:3-4; Matthew 18:21-22; Matthew 6:12; Matthew 6:14-15
11Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 10:39; Matthew 16: 26; Luke 6:39-42; Mark 10:2-12; Mark 12:35-37; Matthew 10:40-42
12Matthew 6:1-4; Matthew 6:16-18; Matthew 18:3-6; Matthew 23:1-12; Mark 10:13-15; Luke 18:16-17
13Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 10:34-38; Matthew 24:34; Mark 12:19-27; Luke 4:1-12
14Matthew 6:5-8; Luke 11:1-4
15Matthew 23:23-24; Matthew 7:12-14; Luke 6:27-31; Luke 6:32-36; Luke 6:37-38; Luke 6:46-49
16Matthew 6:22-24; Matthew 5:13; Matthew 5:14-16; Matthew 5:38-48; Matthew 22:34–40; Mark 12:28–34; Luke 10:27; Luke 11:28; Luke 11:33-36; John 15:12; John 13:34