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Jesus sayings

This compilation brings together material which most probably reflects things that Jesus actually said.   More than that cannot be claimed.   "Th"  references point to the  Gospel of Thomas. The wider background is sketched in the companion file "Getting real".

Two men went up to the temple to pray,  one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector.   The Pharisee stood and prayed like this:  "I thank thee,  God,  that I am not like the rest of men,  greedy,  dishonest,  adulterous;  or even like this tax-collector.   I fast twice a week.   I give tithes of all that I get."   The tax-collector kept his distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven,  but beat his breast,  saying,  "God have mercy on me,  sinner that I am."   It was this man,  not the other,  who went home released from his sins.

Lk 18:10-14   - 1 -

I will destroy this temple and no one will be able to rebuild it.

Th 71  Mk 14:58  Mt 26:61   - 2 -

Cursed are the pharisees!   They are like a dog lying in a manger.   The dog doesn't eat and it won't let the cattle eat.

Th 102  Th 39  Lk 11:52  Mt 23:13   - 3 -

Beware of the scholars who like to wear long robes,  and to receive salutations in the market places,  and to have the best seats in synagogues,  and the places of honour at feasts.

Lk 11:43  Mt 23:5-7   - 4 -

Why do you wash the outside of the cup?   Don't you know that the one who made the inside is also the one who made the outside?

Th 89  Mt 23:25f  Lk 11:39f   - 5 -

It is not what goes into a man from outside that can make him unclean.   It's what comes out of him that makes him unclean.

Mk 7:15  Mt 15:10f  Th 14   - 6 -

The sabbath was created for people,  not people for the sabbath day.

Mk 2:27   - 7 -

You cannot serve God and Money.

Lk 16:13  Mt 6:24   - 8 -

It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Mk 10:25  Mt 19:24  Lk 18:25   - 9 -

There was a rich man who dressed in purple and fine linen and feasted sumptuously every day.   And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus,  covered with sores.   He would have been glad to eat the scraps from the rich man's table.   Dogs used to come and lick his sores.   The poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham.   The rich man also died and was buried,  and was in Hades in agony.   He looked up and saw Abraham far away,  with Lazarus beside him.   "Father Abraham,"  he called out,  "take pity on me!   Send Lazarus to dip his finger in water and cool my tongue,  for I am in anguish in this flame."   But Abraham said,  "Remember,  son,  that all the good things were yours while you were alive,  and Lazarus had all the bad.   Now he is comforted here and you are in distress.   And besides,  a great chasm has been fixed between you and us.   No one is able to cross it from our side,  and none may cross from there to us.

Lk 16:19-26   - 10 -

There was a rich man whose land yielded heavy crops.   He debated with himself:  "What am I to do?   I have nowhere to store my produce.   This is what I will do.   I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones.   That's where I will store all my grain and my goods.   Then I can tell myself,  'You have plenty laid up for many years.   So take your ease,  eat,  drink,  and be merry.' "   But God said,  "Tonight your life will end.   Then who will have those things you have put in store?"

Lk 12:16-20  Th 63   - 11 -

No one can be the slave of two masters.   Either he will hate the first and love the second,  or he will be devoted to the first and think nothing of the second.

Lk 16:13  Mt 6:24  Th 47   - 12 -

It's like a man planning a journey who called his servants and put capital in their hands.   He gave one five bags of gold,  another two,  and another one,  each according to his ability.   Then he set out.   The man with the five bags began trading right away and made a profit of five bags.   The man who had the two bags added two.   But the one who had received a single bag of gold dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.   Eventually their master returned and called them to account.   The servant entrusted with five bags produced the five he had made.   "Master,"  he said,  "you left five bags with me.   See,  I have gained five more."   "Well done,  my good and trusty servant!"  said the master.   "You have proved trustworthy with a little.   Now I'll give you a greater responsibility.   Come and share your master's delight."   The man with the two bags then came and said,  "Master,  you left two bags with me.   See,  I have gained two more."   "Well done,  my good and trusty servant!"  said the master.   "You have proved trustworthy with a little.   Now I'll give you a greater responsibility.   Come and share your master's delight."   Then the man entrusted with one bag came and said,  "Master,  I knew you to be a hard man.   You reap where you have not sown.   You gather where you have not scattered.   So I was afraid and I went and hid your gold in the ground.   Here is what belongs to you."   "You lazy rascal,"  said the master.   "You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered?   Then you should have invested my money with the bankers.   On my return I would have received what is mine with interest.   Take the bag from him and hand it to the one with the ten bags.   Throw this useless servant out."

Mt 25:14-28  Lk 19:12-27   - 13 -

Pay the emperor what belongs to the emperor.   Pay God what belongs to God.

Mk 12:17  Mt 22:21  Lk 20:25  Th 100   - 14 -

If a blind person is leading a blind person,  both will end up in a ditch.

Lk 6:39  Mt 15:14  Th 34   - 15 -

You cannot mount two horses at once,  or bend two bows.

Th 47   - 16 -

Why did you go out to the desert?   To see reeds swaying in the wind?   To see a man in fine clothing?   You find the grandly dressed and those who live in luxury in royal courts.   What did you go out to see?   A prophet?   Yes indeed!   And more than a prophet.

Lk 7:24-26  Mt 11:7f  Th 78   - 17 -

Among those born of women,  from Adam to John the Baptist,  there is no one so much greater than John that his eyes should not be lowered before him.   Yet whoever among you becomes a child will know the kingdom,  and will be greater than John.

Th 46  Mt 11:11  Lk 7:28   - 18 -

Until John it was the Law and the prophets.   Since then there is the good news of the kingdom of God,  and everyone is breaking in violently.

Lk 16:16  Mt 11:12   - 19 -

A man said to Jesus,  "Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."   Jesus said to him,  "Man,  who made me a divider?"

Lk 12:13f  Th 72   - 20 -

No prophet is welcome on his home ground;  doctors don't cure those who know them.

Th 31  Mk 6:4  Mt 13:57  Lk 4:24   - 21 -

Why do you call me good?   No one is good except for God alone.

Mk 10:18  Mt 19:17  Lk 18:19   - 22 -

I have cast fire upon the earth,  and see,  I am watching over it until it blazes up.

Th 10  Lk 12:49   - 23 -

Whoever accepts you accepts me,  and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.

Lk 10:16  Mt 10:40   - 24 -

Where your treasure is,  there will your heart be also.

Lk 12:34   - 25 -

The kingdom of God is like treasure buried in a field.   The man who found it buried it again.   Delighted,  he went and sold everything he had and bought the field.

Mt 13:44  Th 109   - 26 -

The kingdom is like a merchant who had a consignment of merchandise and then discovered a pearl.   The merchant was shrewd.   He sold the merchandise and bought the pearl for himself.

Th 76  Mt 13:45   - 27 -

A man was expecting guests.   When the dinner was prepared he sent his slave to call them.   The slave said to the first,  "My master asks you to come."   But that one said,  "Some merchants who owe me money will be calling on me tonight.   I must give them instructions.   Please excuse me from the dinner."   The slave went to another to say,  "My master asks you to come."   But he said to the slave,  "I have bought a house and have been called away for a day.   I won't have the time."   Another said,  "My friend is to be married and I am to arrange the banquet.   I can't come.   Please excuse me from the dinner."   Another said,  "I have bought an estate and I am planning to collect the rent.   I won't be able to come.   Please excuse me."   The slave went back and said to his master,  "The people whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused."   The master said to his slave,  "Go out to the streets and bring back whoever you find,  to have dinner."

Th 64  Lk 14:16-24  Mt 22:1-13   - 28 -

The kingdom of God is like this.   A landowner once went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard;  and after agreeing to pay them the usual day's wage he sent them off to work.   Three hours later he saw some more men standing idle in the marketplace.   "Go and join the others in the vineyard,"  he said,  "and I will pay you a fair wage.   So off they went.   At midday he went out again,  and at three in the afternoon,  and made the same arrangement as before.   An hour before sunset he found another group standing there and said to them,  "Why are you standing around like this all day with nothing to do?"   "Because no one has hired us."   "Then go and join the rest in the vineyard."   When evening fell,  the owner said to his steward,  "Call the labourers and give them their pay,  beginning with those who came last and ending with the first."   Those who had been taken on an hour before sunset came forward,  and were paid the full day's wage.   When it was the turn of those who had come first they expected something extra,  but were paid the same as the others.   As they took their pay they grumbled at their employer:  "These latecomers have done only one hour's work,  yet you have made them equal with us,  who have sweated the whole day long in the blazing sun!"   The owner turned to one of them and said,  "Friend,  I am not being unfair to you.   You agreed on the usual daily wage,  didn't you?   Take your pay and go home.   I choose to pay the last man the same as you.   Surely I am free to do what I like with my own money?   Why be jealous because I am kind?"

Mt 20:1-15   - 29 -

No one sews a new patch onto an old garment,  and no one puts new wine into old wineskins.

Mk 2:21f  Mt 9:16f  Lk 5:36f  Th 47   - 30 -

No one drinks old wine and then wants to drink new wine.

Th 47  Lk 5:39   - 31 -

The kingdom of God is like a woman mixing yeast into dough and turning it all into large loaves.

Th 96  Mt 13:33  Lk 13:20f   - 32 -

A sower went out to sow.   And as he sowed some seed fell along the path,  and birds came and ate it.   Some fell on rocky ground where it had little soil,  and since it had no root it withered.   Some fell among thorns which grew up and choked it,  and it gave no grain.   But other seed fell into good ground and brought forth grain,  growing and increasing and yielding thirtyfold,  sixtyfold,  a hundredfold.

Mk 4:3-8  Mt 13:3-8  Lk 8:5-8  Th 9   - 33 -

It is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground,  and then go to bed and get up again,  night and day.   The seed sprouts and grows,  he knows not how.   The earth produces of itself,  first the blade,  then the ear,  then the full grain in the ear.   But when the grain is ripe he puts in the sickle right away,  because it is now harvest-time.

Mk 4:26-29   - 34 -

Are not sparrows sold for very little?   Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.   The very hairs on your head have been counted.   Fear not.   You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.

Lk 12:6f  Mt 10:29-31   - 35 -

Don't be anxious about your life,  what you are going to eat,  or about your body,  what you will wear.   Think about the ravens.  They don't sow or reap.  They don't have storehouses or barns,  yet God feeds them.   Consider how the field-flowers grow.   They don't toil or spin.   And yet even Solomon in all his splendour wasn't adorned like one of these.   If that is how God clothes the grass,  which is there today and tomorrow is thrown in the fire,  won't he all the more clothe you?

Mt 6:25-30  Lk 12:22-28  Th 36   - 36 -

If your son asks you for a loaf of bread who among you would give him a stone?   Or for a fish would you give him a snake?   If you know how to give good gifts to your children,  how much more will God give good gifts to those who ask?

Mt 7:9-11  Lk 11:11-13   - 37 -

Blessed are you who are destitute.   The kingdom of God belongs to you.

Lk 6:20  Mt 5:3  Th 54   - 38 -

Blessed are you who are hungry now.   Your hunger will be satisfied.

Lk 6:21  Mt 5:6  Th 69   - 39 -

Blessed are you who are weeping.   You will be laughing.

Lk 6:21  Mt 5:4   - 40 -

The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed.   It's a tiny seed,  but when it falls on good soil it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.

Th 20  Mk 4:30-32  Mt 13:31f  Lk 13:19   - 41 -

Those who have will get more.   From those without,  even what they do have will be taken.

Mk 4:25  Lk 8:18, 19:26  Mt 13:12, 25:29  Th 41   - 42 -

Whoever does not hate his father and mother cannot be my disciple.   Whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters cannot be my disciple.

Th 55, 101  Mt 10:37  Lk 14:26   - 43 -

Do you imagine I came to bring peace on earth?   No,  I tell you,  but rather conflict.   After this five in one house will be divided,  three against two and two against three.   Father will be pitted against son and son against father,  mother against daughter and daughter against her mother,  mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.

Lk 12:51-53  Mt 10:34-36  Th 16   - 44 -

There was a man who had two sons and the younger said to his father,  "Father,  give me my share of the property."   So he divided his estate between them.   Shortly afterwards the younger son turned his share into cash and left home for a distant country where he squandered it in reckless living.   He had spent it all when a severe famine fell upon that country and he began to feel the pinch.   He went and attached himself to one of the local landowners who sent him out to his farm to mind the pigs.   He would have been glad to fill his belly with the pods the pigs were eating.   No one gave him anything.   Then he came to his senses and said,  "How many of my father's paid servants have more food than they can eat,  and here am I,  starving to death!   I will go back to my father and say to him,  'Father,  I have sinned,  against God and against you.   I'm no longer fit to be called your son.   Treat me as one of your hired servants.'"   So he set out for his father's house.   But while he was still a long way off his father saw him,  and his heart went out to him.   He ran to meet him,  flung his arms round him,  and kissed him.   The son said,  "Father,  I have sinned,  against God and against you.   I am no longer fit to be called your son."   But the father said to his servants,  "Quick!  fetch a robe,  my best one,  and put it on him;  put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.   Bring the fatted calf and kill it,  and let us have a feast to celebrate the day.   For this son of mine was dead and has come back to life;  he was lost and is found."   And the festivities began.

   The elder son was out on the farm.   On his way back,  as he approached the house he heard music and dancing.   He called one of the servants and asked what it meant.   The servant told him,  "Your brother has come home,  and your father has killed the fatted calf because he has him back safe and sound."   But the elder son was angry and refused to go in.   His father came out and pleaded with him;  but he retorted,  "You know how I have slaved for you all these years;  I never once disobeyed your orders.   Yet you never gave me as much as a kid,  for a feast with my friends.   But now that this son of yours turns up,  after running through your money with his women,  you kill the fatted calf for him."   "My boy,"  said the father,  "you are always with me,  and everything I have is yours.

Lk 15:11-31   - 45 -

Jesus was told,  "Your brothers and your mother are standing outside."   He said,  "Those here who do the will of God are my brothers and my mother."

Th 99  Mk 3:32-35  Mt 12:46-50  Lk 8:19-21   - 46 -

To hang on to your life is to lose it.   To let go of your life is to save it.

Lk 17:33, 9:24  Mt 10:39, 16:25  Mk 8:35  Jn 12:25   - 47 -

Foxes have holes and birds have nests,  but human beings have nowhere to lay themselves down and rest.

Th 86  Lk 9:58  Mt 8:20   - 48 -

Be passersby.

Th 42   - 49 -

If you follow me you carry a cross.

Lk 14:27, 9:23  Mt 10:38, 16:24  Mk 8:34  Th 55   - 50 -

The first will be last and the last first.

Lk 13:30  Mt 19:30, 20:16  Mk 10:31  Th 4   - 51 -

When you give in charity don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

Mt 6:3  Th 62   - 52 -

If you have money,  don't lend it at interest.   Give it to someone who won't be able to return it.

Th 95  Lk 6:34   - 53 -

Forgive and you will be forgiven.

Mk 11:25  Mt 6:14f  Lk 6:37   - 54 -

If someone wrongs you seven times in a day and comes back to you seven times saying,  "I am sorry",  you must forgive.

Lk 17:4  Mt 18:21f   - 55 -

Treat others the way you would like them to treat you.

Lk 6:31  Mt 7:12  Th 6   - 56 -

Love your enemies.

Lk 6:28  Mt 5:44   - 57 -

If one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them,  does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the missing one till he has found it?   How delighted he is then!   He lifts it onto his shoulders,  and home he goes to call his friends and neighbours together.   "Celebrate with me!"   he cries.   "I have found my lost sheep."

Lk 15:4-6  Mt 18:12f  Th 107   - 58 -

If a woman has ten pieces of silver and loses one of them,  does she not light the lamp,  sweep out the house,  and look in every corner till she has found it?   And when she has,  she calls her friends and neighbours together and says,  "Rejoice with me!   I have found the piece that I lost."

Lk 15:8-9   - 59 -

When someone hits you on the cheek offer the other as well.   When someone takes your coat let him have your shirt too.

Lk 6:29  Mt 5:39f   - 60 -

You notice the speck in your brother's eye,  but you don't see the log in your own eye.   When you take the log out of your own eye you will be able to see to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

Lk 6:41f  Mt 7:3-5  Th 26   - 61 -

Someone who is not against you is on your side.

Mk 9:40  Lk 9:50, 11:23  Mt 12:30   - 62 -

A man had a fig-tree in his vineyard.   He came looking for its fruit,  but found none.   So he said to the vine-dresser,  "For the last three years I have sought fruit on this fig-tree and found none.   Cut it down.   Why should it go on using up the soil?"   But the vine-dresser replied,  "Leave it for another year,  sir,  while I dig round it and manure it.   If it bears next season,  well and good.   If not,  you shall have it cut down."

Lk 13:6-9   - 63 -

Suppose a neighbour calls out to you in the middle of the night,  "Friend, lend me three loaves.   A travelling friend of mine has just shown up,  and I have nothing to offer him."   You might want to reply,  "Don't bother me.   The door is already bolted and my children and I are in bed.   I can't get up at this time of night to give you anything."   But even though friendship won't move you to help your neighbour,  nevertheless you will stir yourself to assist him because you'd be ashamed not to.

Lk 11:5-8   - 64 -

The kingdom of God is like a woman who was carrying a jar of flour.   While she was going along a distant road the handle broke and the flour spilled behind her along the way.   She was unaware of it,  she hadn't noticed a problem.   When she reached her house she put the jar down,  and discovered that it was empty.

Th 97   - 65 -

There was once a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.   To begin with there appeared before him a man who owed ten thousand talents.   Because he had no means of paying,  his master ordered him to be sold to meet the debt,  with his wife and children and all his possessions.   At this the servant threw himself down at his master's feet.   "Give me time,"  he said,  "and I will repay everything."   The master felt so sorry for him that he cancelled the debt and let him go.   As he went out he ran into a fellow-servant who owed him a hundred denarii.   He grabbed him by the throat and said,  "Pay me what you owe me."   His fellow servant fell at his feet and implored him,  "Just give me time and I will repay you."   But the other refused and had him jailed until he should pay the debt.   Their fellow-servants were very distressed when they saw what had happened and they reported the whole affair to their master.   He accordingly sent for the man.   "You scoundrel!"  he said to him.   "I cancelled all that debt when you appealed to me.   Were you not bound to show the same concern that I showed for you?"   In his anger the master handed him over to the torturers till he should pay his debt.

Mt 18:23-34   - 66 -

The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed.   They won't say,  "Here it is!"  or "There it is!"   The kingdom of God is among you.

Lk 17:20f  Th 113   - 67 -

Carry no purse,  no bag,  no sandals,  nor two tunics.   Whatever house you enter,  eat what is set before you.   Heal the sick and say to them,  "The kingdom of God has come upon you."

Lk 10:4,7,9 and parallels - 68 -

If I drive out demons by the finger of God,  then the kingdom of God has arrived for you.

Lk 11:20  Mt 12:28   - 69 -

Are grapes gathered from thorns,  or figs from thistles?

Lk 6:44  Mt 7:16  Th 45  - 70 -

There is nothing covered up that will not be uncovered,  nothing hidden that will not be made known.

Lk 12:2, 8:17  Mt 10:26  Mk 4:22  Th 5, 6   - 71 -

Don't use oaths,  whether  'by heaven'  or  'by earth'  or by anything else.   When you say yes or no let it be plain  'Yes'  or  'No'.

James 5:12  Mt 5:34-37   - 72 -

Follow me,  and leave it to the dead to bury their own dead.

Lk 9:60  Mt 8:22   - 73 -

If you have ears then use them!

Mk 4:9 (many parallels)   - 74 -

A city that stands on a hill can't be hidden.

Mt 5:14  Th 32   - 75 -

You must be as crafty as snakes,  and as innocent as doves.

Mt 10:16  Th 39   - 76 -

When you see a cloud rising in the west you immediately know that it's going to rain,  and indeed it does.   When the south wind blows you predict scorching heat,  and that's what happens.   You can read earth and sky.   Why can't you interpret the present time?

Lk 12:54-56  Mt 16:2f  Th 91   - 77 -

No one lights a lamp and then puts it in a cellar or under a bushel.   It goes on a stand so that those who come in may see the light.

Lk 11:33, 8:16  Mt 5:15  Mk 4:21  Th 33   - 78 -

If salt loses its saltiness what will you season it with?

Lk 14:34  Mt 5:13  Mk 9:50   - 79 -

There was a judge who cared nothing for God or man,  and in the same town there was a widow who constantly came to him demanding justice against her opponent.   For a long time he refused.   But in the end he said to himself,  "True,  I care nothing for God or man,  but this widow is such a nuisance that I will see her righted before she wears me out with her persistence."

Lk 18:2-5   - 80 -

No one can break into a strong man's house and plunder his goods unless he has first tied up the strong man.   Only then can he ransack the house.

Mk 3:27  Mt 12:29  Lk 11:21f  Th 35   - 81 -

There was a rich man who had received accusations that his steward was squandering his property.   So he sent for the steward and said,  "What is this that I hear about you?   Produce your accounts.   You can't be manager here any longer."   The steward said to himself,  "What am I to do,  now that my master is firing me?   I haven't the strength to dig.   I'm ashamed to beg.   Aha!   I know what I can do so that doors will still open for me after I am dismissed."   He summoned his master's debtors one by one.   To the first he said,  "How much do you owe my master?"   He replied,  "A thousand gallons of olive oil."   The steward said,  "Here is your account.   Sit down and make it five hundred.   Be quick about it."   Then he said to another,   "How much do you owe?"   He said,  "A thousand bushels of wheat", and was told, "Take your account and make it eight hundred."   The master praised the calculating steward because he had acted shrewdly.

Lk 16:1-8a   - 82 -

What I tell you in the dark declare in the light.   What you hear whispered announce from the rooftops.

Mt 10:27  Lk 12:3  Th 33   - 83 -

Ask and it will be given.   Seek and you will find.   Knock and it will be opened for you.

Lk 11:9  Mt 7:7  Th 2, 92, 94   - 84 -

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell among thieves,  who stripped him and beat him,  and then went off,  leaving him half-dead.   It happened that a priest was going down that road.   When he saw him he passed by on the other side.   In the same way a Levite,  when he came to the place and saw him,  passed by on the other side.   But a Samaritan travelling that road found him,  and when he saw him he was moved to pity.   He went and bound up his wounds,  pouring on oil and wine.   Then he set him on his own animal and took him to an inn and tended him there.   The next day he took out two coins and gave them to the innkeeper.   He said,  "Look after him,  and whatever more you spend I will repay you when I come back."

Lk 10:30-35   - 85 -


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