The Greatest Words Ever Spoken
I tell you, I know men, and Jesus Christ was no mere man!
Between Him and every other person in the world
there is no possible term of comparison.
“The greatest words ever spoken.” How could such a claim be made about any collection of statements? With all the life-changing words spoken by so many great men and women throughout history, how could the words of one person rise above all the others?
To qualify as the greatest words ever spoken, they would have to reveal incredible truths that would otherwise go undiscovered. They would have to bring extraordinary, perhaps even near-miraculous benefit to the hearts, minds, and lives of those who read them. Certainly, to qualify as the greatest words ever spoken, they would have to produce life-altering changes not just for a few people but for millions. They would have to impart hope to those in despair, joy to those whose hearts are broken, and peace that subdues even the most paralyzing fears.
To earn the ranking of the greatest words ever spoken, the words would have to exert enough power to transform a hateful heart into a loving one, a mind driven by greed into one overflowing with generosity, a life ruled by arrogance into one that is driven by the desire to serve others. And if they were truly the greatest words ever spoken, they would have the power to give sight to the blind, deliverance to the captive, forgiveness to the wrongdoer, and life to the dead. If anyone’s words could accomplish these things, they would certainly rise above all other words in history. They would deserve to be called The Greatest Words Ever Spoken.
These words exist; they have been spoken and recorded. And, yes, they have
accomplished remarkable, miraculous results. The greatest words ever spoken are the words of Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the Son of the living God.
The If-Then Statement That Can Change Your Life
If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then everything He said must be fully,
absolutely true. If He is the Son of God, He would never speak in error. Think
of the implications. First, if Jesus’ words are absolute truth, they are the standard
by which all other purported truths must be measured. Second, everything
Jesus said about you, your life, and your circumstances is true. His
words describe your life and reveal your immediate and long-term future. To
succeed in life, to understand yourself, and to gain wisdom about your present
and your future, you need to learn everything Jesus said about you. In that
way you will discover what He wants for you and from you.
And then there are the promises Jesus made. If you choose to follow Him,
then all of his 108 promises are promises you can count on–promises that
will produce peace in a troubled heart, joy in the midst of tragedy, success in
place of failure, and most important, a glorified life that lasts for eternity.
And this leads to the most important question you will ever face. Is
Jesus of Nazareth the person He claimed to be, or was He a mere man?
Napoleon Bonaparte, the emperor of France and one of the greatest military geniuses who ever lived, concluded that Jesus was no mere man. Once when Napoleon was discussing various emperors and their empires with his most trusted advisors, the name of Jesus came up. To the surprise of his generals, Napoleon exclaimed: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! Superficial minds see a resemblance between Christ and the founders of empires, and the gods of other religions. That resemblance does not exist.… Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. He is truly a being by Himself. His ideas and sentiments, the truth which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things… The nearer I approach, the more carefully I examine, everything is above me–everything remains grand, of a grandeur which overpowers.… One can absolutely find nowhere, but in Him alone, the imitation or the example of His life… I search in vain in history to find the similar to Jesus Christ. Neither history, nor humanity, nor the ages, nor nature, offer me anything with which I am able to compare it or explain it. Here everything is extraordinary.i
Jesus of Nazareth
What did Napoleon know that some of us do not? He was a student of history and a student of men, and he had diligently studied the life and words of Christ. In light of this, he believed that no one in history could compare to Jesus of Nazareth. Think about it: how could one man from an obscure village in the Middle East have changed so many millions of lives as well as the course of history? If ever a man should have been overlooked by history, it was Jesus.
Consider the facts:
Jesus was born to a peasant couple in a village in the middle of nowhere. He lived in a country occupied by foreign conquerors. His only means of transportation was His legs.
He was a carpenter until He turned thirty, and only then did He begin to teach and speak in public. For three short years He proclaimed His message, mostly in small villages.
After being falsely accused and then convicted in a rigged trial, He was sentenced to death by an official who believed Him to be innocent. He died the death of a criminal and was executed on a cross between two convicted criminals. Only His mother and one of His close followers were present at His execution. The rest of His closest disciples had fled, hiding from the mob and the Roman officials.
It was only after Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to His followers that His disciples were transformed from distraught cowards into confident, fearless believers and preachers of Jesus’ message. But they had no means to spread His story and teachings to a mass audience. There were no radios, televisions, or printing presses. In fact, paper as we know it had not yet been invented. Every papyrus scroll had to be painstakingly written by hand. The only way to make a copy was to read the original and laboriously copy it word by word.
In first-century Palestine, the thought that Jesus’ life might make a significant impact on anyone beyond the Judean countryside was laughable. Any history of this itinerant rabbi who appeared in public for only three years should have been lost–either burned or buried–in the rubble when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Roman legions less than forty years after Jesus walked the earth. Against such a background, you can begin to understand the miracle of His life and words. Jesus’ short earthly life–far from being lost to the generations who have followed–became the focal point of history.
How could one man’s life impact humanity to a greater extent than any other person or any series of events in history? As you read The Greatest Words Ever Spoken,
you will get to know this man who changed everything…forever. Jesus did it all, not with money, armies, science, or politics, but with the witness of His life and the power of His words. His life and the miracles He performed attracted the attention of the crowds, but it was what He said
that melted their hearts and transformed their lives. The apostle John said, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” ( John 1:14)
.The Tragedy of the Information Age
Today we have more information about everything than any past generation had, yet most people know less of what Jesus said. Countless people are so unaware of first-century history that they are swayed by baseless myths perpetuated by works of fiction such as The Da Vinci Code.
Many Christians have built their beliefs and values on the words of Bible teachers, authors, and television and radio preachers rather than on the words of Christ. As wonderful as the words of preachers and writers may be, they can’t begin to compare in wonder and power to the pure, undiluted words of Jesus Christ. After all, He alone claimed to be the embodiment of all truth when He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” ( John 14:6). He made incredible promises to those who would build their lives on His words.
It’s important to realize that Jesus did not make these promises to people who followed the words of any other teacher, prophet, or leader. The words of Jesus stand alone in truth, power, and authority. For example, He promised, “If you abide
in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” ( John 8:31-32, NASB). And that was just the beginning. Here are a few of the many promises Jesus made to those who choose to abide in His Word:
• You will receive eternal life.
• Your desires will be fulfilled in answer to your prayers.
• God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit will be your constant companions, both with you and within you.
• You will receive a level of peace and joy, direct from God, that is otherwise unattainable.
• You will impact the lives of others in ways that can’t be achieved strictly by human effort.
• You will be loved by God in a unique way.
• You will avoid God’s ultimate judgment.
• You will see miracles in your life that others can’t understand or explain.
• You will learn eternal truths that will set you free from all that holds you captive.
Jesus Was Not a Religious Leader!
Jesus Christ did not come to earth to start a ...