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Quotes about Jesus from the first millennium...
"Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
Jesus's disciples (1st century, Mark 4:41)
"Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, 'Who do the crowds say I am?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.'"
Early speculation about Jesus (1st century, Luke 9:18-19)
"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him."
St Paul (1st century, Colossians 1:15-16)
"God has revealed himself in his Son Jesus Christ, who is his Word issuing from the silence..."
St Ignatius of Antioch (died 110)
"You say he rose from the dead and showed the marks of his punishment. But who saw this? A hysterical female and perhaps someone else deluded by the same sorcery, who either through wishful thinking had a hallucination, or more likely made up the whole cock and bull story to impress other beggars."
Celsus, 2nd century
"The Lord has turned all our sunsets into sunrise."
Clement of Alexandria (150-215)
"Jesus whom I know as my Redeemer cannot be less than God."
St Athanasius (296-373)
"Jesus has now been celebrated about 300 years, having done nothing in his lifetime worthy of fame, unless anyone thinks it is a very great work to heal lame and blind people and exorcise demoniacs in the villages of Bethsaida and Bethany."
Julian the Apostate, Roman emperor (331-63)
"He who alone was free among the dead – because he was free to lay down his life and free to take it up again – was for us both victor and victim... and it is because he was the victim that he was also the victor."
St Augustine (354-430)
"Christ is the great hidden mystery, the blessed goal, the purpose for which everything was created."
St Maximus the Confessor, Byzantine theologian (580-662)
"I believe in... Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Born of the Virgin Mary. Suffered under Pontius Pilate. Was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. the third day he rose again from the dead."
The Apostles' Creed (6th or 7th century)
Quotes about Jesus from the second millennium...
"O hidden strength! A man hanging on a cross lifts the weight of eternal death; a man fixed on wood frees the world from everlasting death. O hidden power!"
St Anselm (1033-1109)
"Jesus was lost in his love for God."
Rumi, Sufi poet (1207-73)
"When I was abandoned by everybody, in my greatest weakness, trembling and afraid of death, when I was persecuted by this wicked world, then I often felt most surely the divine power in this name, Jesus Christ... So, by God's grace, I will live and die for that name."
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
"Christ teaches and commands us to learn of him, for he is meek and lowly in heart and so shall we find rest to our souls."
Schleitheim Confession, 1527
"No one else holds or has held the place in the heart of the world which Jesus holds. Other gods have been as devoutly worshipped; no other man has been so devoutly loved."
John Knox, Scottish reformer (1514-72)
"Not only do we not know God except through Jesus Christ;
We do not even know ourselves except through Jesus Christ."
Blaise Pascal, French mathematician and philosopher (1623-62)
"Gentle Jesus, meek and mild..."
Charles Wesley, hymnwriter (1707-88)
"Socrates dies with honor, surrounded by his disciples listening to the most tender words -the easiest death that one could wish to die. Jesus dies in pain, dishonor, mockery, the object of universal cursing – the most horrible death that one could fear. At the receipt of the cup of poison, Socrates blesses him who could not give it to him without tears; Jesus, while suffering the sharpest pains, prays for His most bitter enemies. If Socrates lived and died like a philosopher, Jesus lived and died like a god."
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, French philosopher (1712-78)
"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
Thomas Jefferson, American founding father (1743-1826)
"I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of people would die for Him."
Napoleon Bonaparte, French emperor (1769-1821)
"If Jesus Christ were to come today, people would not crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, hear what he had to say, and make fun of it."
Thomas Carlyle, British historian (1795-1881)
"I believe there is no one deeper, lovelier, more sympathetic and more perfect than Jesus – not only is there no one else like him, there never could be anyone like him."
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian novelist (1821-81)
"Jesus died to save men – a small thing for an immortal to do – and didn't save many, anyway. But if he had been damned for the race, that would have been act of a size proper to a god, and would have saved the whole race."
Mark Twain, American author (1835-1910)
"Jesus died too soon. If he had lived to my age he would have repudiated his doctrine."
Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900)
"Jesus alone IS; the rest IS NOT."
St Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-97)
Quotes about Jesus from the 20th and 21st centuries...
"I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history."
H.G. Wells, British author (1866-1946)
"I cannot say that Jesus was uniquely divine. He was as much God as Krishna, or Rama, or Mohammed, or Zoroaster."
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political leader (1869-1948)
"A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act."
Mahatma Gandhi, Indian political leader (1869-1948)
"There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ's moral character, and that is that he believed in hell... It is a doctrine that put cruelty into the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take him as his chroniclers represent him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that."
Bertrand Russell, British philosopher (1872-1970)
"Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone has felt that God, to be wholly God must be a rebel as well as a king."
G.K. Chesterton, English critic and author (1874-1936)
"From my youth onwards I have found in Jesus my great brother."
Martin Buber, Jewish philosopher (1878-1965)
"Jesus Christ is to me the outstanding personality of all time, all history, both as Son of God and as Son of Man. Everything he ever said or did has value for us today and that is something you can say of no other man, dead or alive. There is no easy middle ground to stroll upon. You either accept Jesus or reject him."
Sholem Asch, Jewish author (1880-1957)
"In Jesus, God wills to be true God not only in the height but also in the depth – in the depth of human creatureliness, sinfulness and mortality."
Karl Barth, Swiss theologian (1886-1968)
"A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
C.S. Lewis, British author (1898-1963)
"In his own lifetime Jesus made no impact on history. This is something that I cannot but regard as a special dispensation on God's part, and, I like to think, yet another example of the ironical humour which informs so many of his purposes. To me, it seems highly appropriate that the most important figure in all history should thus escape the notice of memoirists, diarists, commentators, all the tribe of chroniclers who even then existed."
Malcolm Muggeridge, British journalist (1903-90)
"Every person is Christ for me, and since there is only one Jesus, that person is the one person in the world at that moment."
Mother Teresa (1910-97)
"He might be described as an underprivileged, working-class victim of political and religious persecution."
Prince Phillip (born 1921)
"I accept the resurrection of Easter Sunday not as an invention of the community of disciples, but as a historical event. If the resurrection of Jesus from the dead on that Easter Sunday were a public event which had been made known...not only to the 530 Jewish witnesses but to the entire population, all Jews would have become followers of Jesus."
Pinchas Lapide, Orthodox Jewish scholar, Germany (born 1922)
"An unsurpassed master of the art of laying bare the inmost core of spiritual truth."
Geza Vermes, author (born 1924)
"If Jesus had been killed 20 years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses."
Lenny Bruce, American satirist (1925-66)
"It is as wholly wrong to blame Marx for what was done in his name, as it is to blame Jesus for what was done in his."
Tony Benn, British politician (born 1925)
"After the fall of so many gods in this century, this person, broken at the hands of his opponents and constantly betrayed through the ages by his adherents, is obviously still for innumerable people the most moving figure in the long history of mankind."
Hans Küng, German theologian (born 1928)
"Jesus Christ was an extremist for love, truth and goodness."
Martin Luther King Jr., American civil rights leader (1929-68)
"Jesus was the first socialist, the first to seek a better life for mankind."
Mikhail Gorbachev (born 1931)
"If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he wouldn't be able to stop throwing up."
Woody Allen, American comedian (born 1935)
"We're more popular than Jesus now."
John Lennon, Beatle (1940-80)
"2,000 years ago one man got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be if everyone was nice to each other for a change."
Douglas Adams, British comic author (1952-2001)
"When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are
--Luke ch.11 v.21-22 (King James translation, 1611 AD)
"He that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one."
--Luke ch.22 v.36 (King James translation, 1611 AD)
"We must offer ourselves to God like a clean, smooth canvas and not worry ourselves about what God may choose to paint on it, but at each moment, feel only the stroke of His brush."--Jean Pierre de Caussade
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