Here are nine things Jesus never said:
(1) I am God
(2) I created the universe
(3) I am higher than the government
(4) Worship me
(5) Pray to me
(6) Go to church
(7) Read the Bible
(9) Hate the sin, but love the sinner
If you’re confronted with one or more of these “facts,” be prepared to offer the defense that Jesus may have never said them, but they are fully true anyway.
I am God
It’s true that Jesus never said, “I am God.” But this doesn’t mean that he wasn’t deity. First, the Old Testament predicted that the Messiah to come would be God in human form. “His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
The New Testament also profiles Jesus’ divinity. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God and that he “was God.” Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of God, making himself equal to God the Father (John 11:4, 14:8-9; Luke 22:70).
Jesus accepted the worship of his disciples and the declaration of others that he was the Son of God (Matthew 2:11, 8:2,15:25, 28:9, Luke 24:52; John 9:38, 20:28-29).
The Apostle Paul said in Jesus, “All the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19). This is a clear claim to deity.
Jesus didn’t have to make an outright claim to his deity because he let his works and his words speak in a way that his disciples would make the discovery. But there were times when Jesus made his meaning plain, such as when his called the Father “greater than all” and then in the same breath said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:29-30).
I created the universe
Jesus never referred to himself as Creator, but his disciples did. John said that, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:2). The Apostle Paul said of Jesus that, “By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Colossians 1:16. See also Hebrews 1:2 and I Corinthians 8:6).
I am higher than the government
Actually, this is something that Jesus did say, thought not in these exact words. After his resurrection Jesus declared that, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18). This also means that Jesus is supreme over all relationships and institutions, whether it be friendships, marriages, family, employers, or governments. Therefore, our supreme allegiance should be to God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus never commanded, “Worship me.” But he readily accepted the worship of anyone who gave it to him (Matthew 14:33, 28:17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:42; John 9:38). If someone tried to worship an angel, the angel always rebuked or stopped that person since angels are not worthy of worship. By accepting worship Jesus declares his deity. To refuse to worship Jesus is to refuse his divinity.
Pray to me
Jesus always deferred to his Father. He instructed the disciples to pray to the Father through him (John 14:13, 15:16, 16:23,26). Jesus may not have said, “Pray to me,” but he made it clear that prayer to God was to be through himself, which tells us his authority is equal to the Father’s and since he is the Son of God, he is worthy of the prayers that we offer.
Go to church
There were no churches when Jesus was on the earth, though there were synagogues. It was Jesus’ practice to attend synagogue meetings. His practice is the model for us to follow, thus, we should always be in some kind of fellowship with other believers, meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). This does not necessarily mean attending a service in a church building. Meet in home groups, share meals with other believers. The point is to meet together for some kind of worship and instruction from the scripture. Jesus did it, his disciples did it, the early church did it, and we should too.
Read the Bible
The purpose of the meeting together is to encourage one another and part of that is to get to know God’s word. In the days of Jesus most people did not have their own copy of scripture. But they were still instructed to abide by it anyway. How much more important is it to do this in the modern era when we have so many copies of scripture readily available to almost anyone either virtually or in print.
Jesus may not have said the words, “Read the Bible.” But he demonstrated that he knew the Bible and could readily quote from it, or easily find a passage he was looking for (Matthew 4:4,7,10; Luke 4:17, 22:37; John 7:38). He wants his disciples to be able to do no less (Acts 6:2,4, 17:11; II Timothy 3:15).
It is true that there is no command in the New Testament to tithe in the same way that we see in the Old Testament. The tithe was originally a rule for Israel under the Mosaic Law (though tithing actually predates Moses). In the Law tithing was essentially a tax. However, giving in the New Testament is encouraged and praised (II Corinthians 9:6-15). But it is more a sign of relationship rather than rule. We give out of love and thankfulness to God for what he has already done in our lives—not to gain God’s favor or material blessing. Nor should our giving be limited to 10 percent since everything we are and have belongs to God.
Hate the sin but love the sinner
You won’t find such a statement in the Bible, but you will find this, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). How about this: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Why did Jesus do this for sinners? Because of “The joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
In Mark 10:21 Jesus is confronted by a rich man who wants to get into heaven, yet rejected Jesus’ counsel. Mark says that, “Looking at him, Jesus loved him.” The man decided to remain in his sin. This is a classic example of Jesus hating the sin but loving the sinner.
There are times when you may be confronted with statements like, “Jesus never said _.” Don’t be afraid to demonstrate from scripture why such statements are not entirely true. Just as the Pharisees tried to trip up Jesus in his own words, so too a little study will help you and keep you from falling into a similar trap.