“Few [people] have been misquoted as often as Jesus,” writes Michael Hidalgo in a Relevant Magazine article entitled 4 Things Jesus Never Said. Hidalgo believes many Christians need to “rethink” assumptions we may have about the teachings of Jesus, and lists four phrases that Jesus never actually uttered:
1. If You Had More Faith God Would Answer Your Prayer.
2. Doubting Is Dangerous.
3. Here is How You Can Get To Heaven.
4. There Will Always Be Poor People Among You. Period.
Each point has a grain of truth, but misses part of the bigger picture. For example, on Point #2, he writes:
“Did Jesus say ‘Stop Doubting?’ Yes. Is there more to the story? Yes.
…All the disciples doubted, but Thomas was the only one with the courage to admit he needed proof. He said, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe’ (John 20:25). And when Jesus finally encountered Thomas, he did not rebuke him. Rather he gave Thomas what he needed. He invited Thomas to touch his wounds, and only then did Jesus tell him he could stop doubting.”
Similarly, Hidalgo reminds us that when Jesus said, “there will always be poor people among you,” he followed it up with, “and you can help them anytime you want.”
“Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 15 where God told his people, ‘There need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you … he will richly bless you’ (Deuteronomy 15:4). God told his people there is no good reason for poverty to exist…
…If anything, Jesus’ quote about the poor is a challenge to be generous, lending freely and openhanded toward them.”
Sometimes it can be hard to hear God’s voice, or remember the words of Christ, with all the noise and mess that steals our attention. In Whitney Hopler’s Crosswalk article How to Hear God’s Voice Above All Others, she encourages readers,
“Whenever Satan tries to tempt you to doubt God’s goodness or power in any situation, you can overcome his deception by reminding yourself of biblical truths and asking the Holy Spirit to renew your mind to give you an accurate perspective on the situation. So it’s important to read, study, and think about the Bible often so your mind will absorb its truths and the Spirit will use those truths to transform you.”
Another piece by Hopler, How to Slow Down So You Don’t Miss What Jesus Has to Teach You about Himself, reminds us that dashing through Scripture reading in impatience can greatly hinder our ability to truly absorb Jesus’ words and teachings. She writes,
“Slowing down will enable you to pay attention well to what Jesus has to tell you, so you don’t miss lessons about his character that can change your own life for the better.”
What do you think? Have you ever heard someone misquote Jesus? What are some common misconceptions people might have about his ministry that start to fade away with careful and prayerful reading of Scripture?
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life Editor for Crosswalk.com
Publication date: March 5, 2014