(A modern view of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus began to preach to the crowds.)
This site has been arranged by Dr Geoff Francis, Melbourne, Australia.
The stimulus for this project was a column in a Melbourne newspaper. The writer was surprised that a suburban book readers’ club had decided to study one of the books of the Bible to check out the story of David and Goliath. She confessed that she had never read the Bible herself, but felt confident to state what she thought Jesus would have to say on current issues.
This raised a number of questions for me! What if people assume they know what Jesus said, but this knowledge is inaccurate; watered down, filtered, censored, or just corrupted by other messengers? What if some Christians, or Christian churches are no longer accurately following the message of the founder? How would we know if we don’t actually know what Jesus said? Is it possible to find out what Jesus was on about, and find relevance in his message today?
I imagined a reporter attending some of Jesus’ meetings as recorded by Matthew, and tried to capture the essence of his message, just as an editor might prepare a headline for the reporter’s story. Going right through Matthew’s gospel, and looking at the teaching that Jesus gave to the crowds who heard him, I ended up with a selection of 52 “headlines” giving an overview of the topics he covered. Being only headlines, they are an introduction to each topic he dealt with. More detail can be found in the chapters of Matthew as listed. You can decide for yourself if the headline is a fair introduction to the message in each case.
I pray that you will be challenged, as I have been, to measure what you believe against the standard of Jesus’ own words.
Scriptures were taken from the HOLY BIBLE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION.
NIV Copyright 1973, 1987, 1984, 2011 by International Bible Society.
Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House All rights reserved.
ABC Radio National feature.
On Easter Sunday 2014, Rachael Kohn featured “What did Jesus say?” on her ABC Radio National program, “The Spirit of Things.” She interviewed Geoff Francis, and three of the writers; Merrill Kitchen, Peter Sanders, and Davin Price. (http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/what-did-jesus-say-3f/5391820 )
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