Papyrus p46 from 200 A.D. Codex Vaticanus from 350 A.D. Papyrus p52 of John 18:31-33 from before 150 A.D. Codex Sinaiticus from 350 A.D.
The Message of Jesus

            Compiled by G. Nehls

 The Message

  • What Jesus Taught Us

  • What Jesus Said About Himself

  • The Challenge



His message comes from God and its truthfulness can be tested:

"My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

—John 7:16

His message is eternal and will not be changed:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

—Matthew 24:35

He came into the world (i.e. from outside):

"I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."

—John 18:38

He came from heaven, i.e. from God:

"No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man."

—John 3:13

God was always with Jesus:

"The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him."

—John 8:29

Jesus had this one thing in mind, to please and honour his heavenly Father and to complete His task.

"‘My food’, said Jesus,‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’."

—John 4:34

And why we should believe him:

"Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me?"

—John 8:46

Muslims are sometimes taught that all prophets of God were sinless. That again is a deviation from the facts. Only Jesus is called sinless or holy (Surat 19:19), while we read of the sins of Adam (Surat 7:22-23), Moses (28:15-16), Abraham (26:82), Jonah (37:141-144), David (38:24-25), and also of Muhammad (40:55, 47:19, 48:1-2).

For us to do the work of God includes believing in Jesus:

"The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent."

—John 6:29

To reject Jesus is to reject God.

"He who rejects me rejects him who sent me."

—Luke 10:16

He not only came to bring a message, but to fulfil a task.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

—Luke 19:10

He came to call sinners to repentance and to rescue them from hell. Those assuming themselves to be good enough to enter God's presence deem themselves not to need Jesus anyway.

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

—Mark 2:17

To the weary he becomes like a brother. He wants to bring peace to troubled hearts.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

—Matthew 11:28-30

Water is needed for life. Spiritually speaking Jesus offers "living water" not only to meet our needs, but also to be a fountain to let others taste of it as well.

"If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

—John 7:37

"Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

—John 4:14

To accept Jesus for what he is proves our love for God:

"I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. I have come in my Father's name and you do not accept me, but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him."

—John 5:42-43

(Following the custom of the time, Jesus often spoke of himself in the third person). Here Jesus makes a tremendous claim about himself:

"Whoever believes in him (Jesus) is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light."

—John 3:18-21

"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

—John 8:12

"When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no-one who believes in me should stay in darkness."

—John 12:44-46

Jesus often spoke in parables and used allegories. Here he speaks of himself as a gate and a shepherd, and his followers as sheep.

"I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

—John 10:10

"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

—John 10:11

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep."

—John 10:4

This ‘laying down’ of his life was a voluntary act based on his own authority.

"The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No-one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again."

—John 10:17

The ‘life in full’ that Jesus came to provide includes the assurance here and now of the life to come:

"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no-one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no-one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

—John 10:27

To a person whose brother had been in the tomb for three days, and then been raised by Jesus from the dead, he said:

"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

—John 11:25,26

Jesus makes it clear that he himself is the only means to eternal salvation:

"I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well."

—John 14:6

Jesus sometimes used metaphors to illustrate spiritual matters. One is particularly striking. By it he describes where he came from and his reason for coming to this earth:

"The bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

—John 6:33

"I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

—John 6:35

"Whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall loose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day."

—John 6:37-39

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."

—John 6:63

Here Jesus is quite specific and to the point:

"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me."

—John 8:42

"You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

—John 8:23,24

Before his death, Jesus spoke to his closest followers, saying:

"I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father."

—John 16:28

He urged his followers to believe in his divinity and again substantiated his claim:

"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."

"Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves."

—John 14:9-11

In a recorded prayer Jesus communed with his Father and, referring to his eternal existence:

"Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

—John 17:5

Because Jesus had a human mother, he appeared to be and was a real human person. He, like we, was hungry and tired, felt a need to pray and experienced grief and pain. But because God had inspired and by that affected his birth without a human father, he was divine, could heal, raise the dead, walk on water, forgive sins, still the storm and perform many more reported miracles. He therefore could claim a relationship that may shock us at first:

"They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ He replied,‘You are right in saying I am’."

—Luke 22:70

Liberation from fear, including the fear of death, satanic influences and freedom from sin comes from him alone:

"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

—John 8:36

Once Jesus made an astounding remark about himself. Can we understand what he meant? His listeners knew!

"I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!"

—John 8:58

It is important to note that "I am" in Hebrew is the same as "Jahveh", the very name of God! This provoked the Jews to kill him. Here we find an additional explanation. Since God is eternal there is to him no ‘was’ or ‘will be’. He always ‘is’. What he really says here is: ‘Before Abraham was, I was eternally alive!’

Even so he is not aloof up there in highest heaven. He loves you and me! And He wants us to respond to his love!

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you."

—John 15:9

His love is more than just a kind of fondness. He proved his love!

"Greater love has no-one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

—John 15:13

Several times Jesus spoke of his approaching death and the purpose of his dying:

"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

—Matthew 20:28

The word ‘ransom’ is seldom used these days. We read occasionally that, for example, kidnappers demand a ransom. This is the price to set a captive free. Jesus paid the price to set us free from the condemnation of sin.

Four times Jesus predicted his death to his close followers. But even to them it made little sense in the beginning:

"‘We are going up to Jerusalem’, he said, ‘and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise’."

—Mark 10:33,34

Before his death the man Jesus agonized in prayer when he contemplated the terror, pain and suffering of his imminent crucifixion:

"He went away a second time and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done’."

—Matthew 26:42

It was not a godless mob that arrested arrest him. They were the supreme religious authority of the day, and they feared that their religious authority was being threatened by Jesus! At his arrest one of his companions drew a sword wanting to resist and fight. But Jesus said:

"Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

—Matthew 26:53,54

To understand the words “fulfilled Scriptures”, we ought to know that the prophets in the Old Testament many hundreds of years before had foretold many of the important events in the life of Jesus. His pre-existence in eternity, his miraculous birth by a virgin and his divinity, his death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, were recorded. In Jesus they were now being fulfilled.

Jesus' claim to be divine was as upsetting to the Jews as it is to many people today:

"Again the Jews picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, ‘I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?’ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these’, replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God’."

—John 10:31-33

Even at this very crisis situation of his life, Jesus thought not of himself, but of others.

"When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said,‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing’."

—Luke 23:33,34

After his resurrection from the dead Jesus joined some of his companions on their way home, but remained unrecognized by them. They were in great sorrow over his death, which they could not fathom. Jesus said to them:

"‘How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?’And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."

—Luke 24:25-27

Again Jesus pointed to the prophecies concerning him in the Old Testament.

Some people have speculated that Jesus did not actually die, but that he was taken down from the cross unconscious and later revived. This was quite impossible, for the soldiers, to make sure he was dead, pierced his chest before he was taken down (John 19:33). What did Jesus have to say to that?

"I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades (hell)."

Revelation 1:17,18

Jesus did not come for the Jews only, as some believe. He said:

"This is what is written (in the Law): The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day; and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

—Luke 24:46,47

39 days after his resurrection from the dead Jesus was taken up to heaven before the very eyes of his disciples. His last words to them were:

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age."

—Matthew 28:18-20

That is why Christian believers have it on their hearts to make him and his message known. When the end of time comes, Jesus will be the judge:

"The Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him. I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice."

—John 5:21-28

If nothing else makes us think and consider - this should! To reject this offer for fear of any kind is simply foolish.

Jesus encourages us to trust him and in what he is doing for us:

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."

—John 14:1-3

Jesus will come again. This time not to save, but to judge all those who did not accept his offer of pardon and forgiveness. It is therefore so important to be prepared for his coming at any time:

"You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."

—Luke 12:40

How this is going to happen he told us as well:

"You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

—Mark 14:62

"As the lightning comes from the East and flashes to the West, so will be the coming of the Son of Man."

—Matthew 24:27

Jesus is coming again to judge the world—all nations and all people. But perhaps we die before that. In that case he meets us at the point of our death.

Why is Jesus speaking of himself as the ‘Son of Man’, and not of the ‘Son of God’? The title ‘Son of Man’ is first mentioned in the Old Testament in the year B.C. 555:

"In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed."

—Daniel 7:13-14

In the light of this statement we can easily see that there is really no difference between the ‘Son of Man’ and ‘Son of God’?

The time to receive pardon is not yet over. Jesus is still waiting. He left us with an invitation:

"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in ...."

—Revelation 3:20