Jesus Quotes: Top Ten

Jesus quotes provide some of the most memorable sayings of all time. This is my attempt at categorizing the top ten Jesus quotes, which I have done in a rather unsystematic way other than picking them based on...

popularity: Some of Jesus' sayings are well known, even among those who don't follow Him, but many others are not. I added weight for the popularity of a teaching--especially those that would be known by someone otherwise unfamiliar with Jesus.

power: The more radical, the better. Some of Jesus quotes go so against the grain of the way the world operates, that we gave weight simply for this quality alone.

person: I also chose verses becasue they were representative in some way or another of Jesus entire life and theme of ministry, such as a verse on the Kingdom of Heaven or Jesus quotes about love.

Number 10: He Takes It Personally

"For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?'

And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'"
(Matthew 25.35-40 ESV)

Jesus kept and promoted God's passion for the oppressed, hungry, widows and orphans that permeate the Hebrew Scritpures.

In fact, it was so much a part of the fiber of His being that to care for them was to care for Jesus. Worse: to not care for Him was to turn your back on Jesus Himself. He takes it personally.

 

Number 9: The True Path to Greatness

jesus quotes head

"You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
(Mark 10.42-45 ESV)

A lesser known but equally great among Jesus quotes, this verse teaches the true path to greatness is seeking to serve, leading with humility, and giving of self.

 

Number 8: The Main Motif of Jesus Life

"Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
(Matthew 4.17 ESV)

Spoken at the introduction of His ministry, Jesus introduced what would become the theme of His life: The Kingom of Heaven. Here, he proclaims it; in His teaching He explained it; in His parables He illustrated it; in His miracles, death, and resurrection he demonstrated it. Read more on Jesus Quotes about the Kingom of Heaven here.

 

Number 7: The Antidote to Worry

"Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
(Matthew 6.31-34 ESV)

Jesus knew us well. We are, by default, worriers. He taught often and well on the peace and freedom from worry that only He can give.

 

Number 6: A Better Way to Live

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
(Matthew 5.3-12 ESV)

Often misunderstood because we don't understand the Jewish way in which Jesus taught, these Jesus quotes from the passage we call the 'Sermon on the Mount' are nonetheless often quoted and provide a truly counter-cultural way to live.

 

Number 5: Gain the World and Forfeit Yourself

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?"
(Mark 8.34-36 ESV)

This Jesus quote cracks the top half simply by virtue of its closing phrase, which gets cited for any circumstance in which someone has traded their own humanity and values to gain something of only temporary worth and pleasure.

 

Number 4: Judge Not..

"Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye"
(Matthew 7.1-5 ESV)

Among Jesus quotes this is trotted out by some of the most unlikely people at the most unlikely of times in the most unlikely places. It's usually quoted when someone is feeling criticized or condemned.

Of note is that Jesus wasn't saying never to critically evaluate, but rather not to be judgemental in spirt, which is an altogether entirely different matter. (See here for a fuller explanation of this Jesus quote.)

 

Number 3: Love Your Enemies

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you"
(Matthew 5.43-45 ESV)

The most radical of Jesus quotes, less often quoted, least often practiced.

Jesus great conspiracy to was to undermine evil with good. Would to God that His followers would do it.

 

Number 2: The Golden Rule

"So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
(Matthew 7.12 ESV)

One may argue that this needs to be at the top of the list, and they may well be right by virtue of popularity. But notice the similarity to number one, and I think this is actually number one restated in a different way.

Ah, to treat others as we would want to be treated. This would change humanity forever.

 

Number 1: The Bible, in a Word.

"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
(Matthew 22.37-40 ESV)

Love.

God.

Your neighbor as yourself.

The "Law and the Prophets" was a shorthand way of saying "The entire Hebrew scritpures. Jesus said it all could be summed up in these two commands.

Further yet, using a Jewish teaching method known as a kesher connection, Jesus linked the two. In other words, he was saying that to love your neighbor was to love God. You couldn't do one without the other.

The Bible, in a word.

Love.

If you'd like to argue with me about the order, inclusion, or exclusion of Jesus' quotes, you can now contribute yourself:

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