Before I answer that question, I will just say that Jesus himself wrote no gospel. So I’m not exactly discussing Jesus’ teachings but rather what anonymous writers wrote about him. Yes I’m referring to the four gospels. Although they were given the names, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, there has much uncertain as to who the authors actually were. As they are only personal advertisements about Jesus, rather than documents having the national traditional history quality that the Hebrew Bible books do, then they have a different standard to live up to. Just because unknown persons chose to attach the gospels to the Jewish Bible and call them along with other books “the new testament,” that doesn’t automatically make them of the same quality or worth, or make them worthy of the same standing as the Jewish Bible.
So, let’s pretend, for now, that the names given to those gospels have some truth to them. The question arises which says this: do the teachings they have written as coming out of Jesus’ mouth have any problems?
The answer is “yes.” Yes! The teachings of the gospels do contain unfounded statements and error. As Michael Skobac along with many others, wisely say, Whatever the gospels teach that is new isn’t true; and whatever they teach that is true isn’t new.
I’ll give a few easy examples. Throughout this, I will not deal with the excuses given by the various types of christian there are, whether they be messianic “jews,” Paul-hating Jesus followers or the mainstream variety. I will just deal with the words of the gospels. I leave the christians to make their excuses without any actual traditional teaching from Jesus himself. By that I mean that neither Jesus nor the gospel writers ever started an unbroken tradition of how to correctly interpret these words. So I can only go by the text.
In Matthew 19, in a response to an argument from the Pharisees about divorce, Jesus said the following:
He said to them, Because of your hard-heartedness, Moses gave license for you to divorce your wives … (Matthew 19:8a)
There is an error in this teaching: the unfounded nature of the reason the commandment was given.
There is no explicit and clear statement in the Jewish Bible or the written Torah that that the procedure of divorce was given because of the hard-hearted nature of the people. Therefore Jesus’ teaching has no foundation; it is baseless. Although Jesus assumes that “it wasn’t this way from the beginning,” that is no basis upon which to claim that the reason for the law is hard-heartedness.
As the wise rabbi Isidor Kalisch said,
It is impossible that Moses, the strict teacher, who never allowed the passions of the people to influence him, should have yielded to the hardness of their hearts, and given a Law to favor them. (A guide for rational inquiries into the Biblical writings: being an examination of the doctrinal differance between Judaism and primitive Christianity, based upon a critical exposition of the Book of Matthew, by Isidor Kalisch)
Matthew 12:5 has Jesus saying the following.
Haven’t you read in the law that, on the sabbath, the priests in the temple desecrate the sabbath and are guiltless?
And the answer would be no! There is nowhere in the Torah where it can be read that the priests in the temple desecrate the sabbath. It’s that simple. So Jesus was simply wrong in this statement.
Now I already can hear the retorts of some christians. “But it says that you’re not allowed to do x on the sabbath, and the priests do x, therefore they are breaking the sabbath.” Understand that this is a logical argument, not an explicit statement of Torah. The Torah doesn’t judge the priests or their work as sabbath-breaking. So there is no foundation to Jesus’ statement. He’s simply wrong! If God says that people in general can’t do certain things on the sabbath, yet also commands priests to do those things on the sabbath, then that would mean that the priests are allowed to do what they do, there is no desecration involved.
But regardless of that, Jesus’ statement is wrong.
Matthew 11:7-14 has Jesus saying that John was either the messenger promised in Malachi 3 or Elijah which is reaffirmed in Matthew 17:10-13. Luke 1:17 tries to push the idea that John simply had the spirit and power of Elijah.
This is all contradicted both by the simple statement of Malachi 3 and the words of John himself.
Firstly, let’s talk about Malachi. Look at what the promised messenger should do.
See me sending My messenger, and he shall clear the way before Me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, see him coming, said the LORD of hosts. But who may endure the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appears? For he is like fire that refines, and like fullers’ soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver; and they shall be offering to the LORD offerings in righteousness. Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem shall be pleasant to the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in ancient years. And I will come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against those that swear for falsehood; and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and who don’t fear me Me, said the LORD of hosts.
There is not one sign that this happened during the days of John. There was no purification of the Levites and there was nothing said about the people offering righteous offerings. There is nothing said about the judgment against sorcerers and adulterers. This has nothing to do with John.
Then there’s the notion about who John was. Make no mistake about it, Malachi prophesied the coming of Elijah the prophet from God who had sent him (Malachi 3:23 [or chapter 4 verse 5 in christian versions]). There is nothing that spiritualizes the words to make it talk about someone other than Elijah coming in his power and spirit. So the simple statement of Malachi invalidates the teaching of Jesus. John is not Elijah the prophet and Elijah the prophet isn’t John.
This is confirmed by John in the book of John chapter 1 verse 21 where he is asked outright if he is Elijah and he said a categorical “no!”
So Jesus is dead wrong.
In some versions of the new testament, at the beginning of John chapter 8, there is a story of a woman caught in adultery. The argument is given that Moses commanded that the woman should be stoned. Jesus’ response is that a person without sin can cast the first stone. Remember, Jesus’s argument was not that this was not a proper court session or that both the woman and the man should be punished together. He’s only response is that the person without sin should cast the first stone.
Although to some that may be a witty response that is supposed to strike at the conscience of those about to stone the woman, the principle itself is nowhere to be found in the Jewish Bible. In fact the opposite is taught. Deuteronomy 16:18-20 and throughout Deuteronomy 17 and other places in the Torah teaches that justice should be pursued by means of courts, officers and witnesses. There are no unrealistic standards of sinlessness demanded in order to execute judgment.
So once again, the teaching of at least some versions of Jesus is dead wrong.
As a last example, I’ll refer to Luke 24:46 which was a teaching of Jesus.
… Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the anointed one [or the Christ] to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day.
In a previous article, I showed that there is no evidence of this being written in the Jewish Bible. Nowhere at all in the Jewish Bible does it state that the promised anointed king must suffer and be resurrected on the third day, no place at all. Isaiah 53 doesn’t say this. It doesn’t even mention the promised anointed one or “messiah.” Daniel 9 doesn’t say this. It has two anointed ones living centuries apart from one another, and neither one is said to have suffered or died or be raised on the third day. Zechariah 12 doesn’t say this. It neither mentions the promised anointed one going through suffering, nor anyone being resurrected on the third day. There is not one place in all the Jewish Bible that states as Jesus taught, that the anointed one must suffer and be resurrected on the third day. This is pure fantasy.
[ASIDE: Is it a coincidence that people say that Luke was a follower of Paul and Paul says something similar in 1 Corinthians 15:4?]
So in this teaching, Jesus is dead wrong.
So here are some examples of where the gospel writers putting words in the mouth of Jesus that were simply wrong. There are others. But this wasn’t meant to be an exhaustive list.