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Literature / The Four Gospels

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Stained glass window depicting the Four Evangelists inside the Church of Stabroek, Belgium.

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
Jesus, Matthew 22:37-40

The One With… Jesus.

The first four books of the New Testament, chronicling the life of one Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Their name means "Good News"; the idea behind the Gospels is that they exist to record the "good news" of Jesus's death and resurrection and to allow that news to be spread by Christians to the world. As a result, each of the four has a slightly different tone and target.

  • Matthew - Compares Old Testament scripture with Jesus’ deeds, to appeal to Jews. Has the longest description of his sermons.
  • Mark - Estimated to be the oldest Gospel, written for the Romans, and portrays Jesus as a miracle worker.
  • Luke - Written for Gentiles, and emphasizes Jesus as a Nice Guy who preached kindness and charity. Has the most in-depth look into his origin story and contains the most parables.
  • John - The most introspective Gospel, written for already-convinced Christians and details the divinity of Jesus as "the Word of God."

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the "Synoptic Gospels" (from Greek syn=together, opsis=seeing) because they tell largely the same story. It's generally accepted in modern Biblical scholarship that Mark was written first, and that Matthew and Lukenote  copied off of Mark and got their info from other sources that no longer exist (called "Q", from German "Quelle", meaning "Source") containing Jesus' sayings and parables. They were also relying on oral traditions as well; Luke, in fact, begins his account with a claim that he has carefully investigated other accounts.

John is substantially different from the other three and may have been included in the canon primarily because of its depth of theology despite the fact that it does not precisely align with the Synoptics on the details of Jesus' life at certain points. Biblical historians generally pin it as having been written decades after the Synoptic Gospels. Again, we must emphasize: the Gospels are supposed to be "good news", not "modern historiography"; the chronological difficulties aren't meaningful in the face of the overall message.

For the many, many works based off of the Gospels and the Jesus story, see the Useful Notes page for Jesus, the trope Passion Play, and the Art Subjects index. And for the religion that's been fond of the Gospels, see Christianity.

Structure of the books:

  • The genealogy of Jesus and the angel's announcement of Mary's child (Matthew chapter 1)
  • The Magi visit the child Jesus (Matthew chapter 2)
  • Jesus is baptized (Matthew chapter 3)
  • Jesus' three temptations, and His calling His first disciples (Matthew chapter 4)
  • The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 to 7)
  • Jesus' various miracles (Matthew chapters 8 and 9)
  • Jesus' instructions to His disciples (Matthew chapter 10)
  • Jesus continues His healing ministry (Matthew chapters 11 and 12)
  • Jesus' parables (Matthew chapter 13)
  • Miracles, conflicts, and predictions of Jesus' suffering (Matthew chapters 14 to 17)
  • Teachings about children and forgiveness (Matthew chapter 18)
  • Teachings about legal and religious issues (Matthew chapter 19)
  • Jesus in Jerusalem being tested by the religious people (Matthew chapters 20 to 22)
  • Jesus pronounces woes unto the Pharisees and scribes (Matthew chapter 23)
  • The Olivet Discourse and the three parables about His coming (Matthew chapters 24 and 25)
  • Jesus' last supper and His arrest (Matthew chapter 26)
  • Jesus' crucifixion and death (Matthew chapter 27)
  • Jesus' resurrection and final instructions for His disciples (Matthew chapter 28)


  • Jesus' baptism and opening proclamation (Mark 1:1-15)
  • Jesus' ministry of word and deed (Mark 1:16-6:52)
  • Among the Gentiles (Mark 6:53-8:21)
  • A two-stage healing (Mark 8:22-26)
  • Jesus' ministry up to his arrival in Jerusalem (Mark 8:27-10:52)
  • Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem and being tested by the religious people (Mark chapters 11 and 12)
  • The Olivet Discourse (Mark chapter 13)
  • Jesus' last supper and His arrest (Mark chapter 14)
  • Jesus' crucifixion and death (Mark chapter 15)
  • Jesus' resurrection and final words to His disciples (Mark chapter 16)


  • The birth of John the Baptist and Mary's conception of Jesus announced (Luke chapter 1)
  • Jesus' birth, dedication, and early childhood visit to the Temple (Luke chapter 2)
  • Jesus' baptism and His genealogy (Luke chapter 3)
  • Jesus' three temptations and the start of His ministry (Luke 4:1-13)
  • Jesus' ministry in Galilee (Luke 4:14-9:50)
  • Jesus' journey to Jerusalem (Luke 9:51-19:28)
  • Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem and being tested by the religious people (Luke 19:29-21:4)
  • The Olivet Discourse (Luke 21:5-38)
  • Jesus' last supper and His arrest (Luke chapter 22)
  • Jesus' crucifixion and death (Luke chapter 23)
  • Jesus' resurrection and presentation to His disciples (Luke chapter 24)


  • Introduction and Jesus meeting His first disciples (John chapter 1)
  • The wedding at Cana and the cleansing of the Temple (John chapter 2)
  • Jesus' meeting with Nicodemus at night and John the Baptist's final words (John chapter 3)
  • Jesus' meeting with the woman at the well and His healing a sick boy (John chapter 4)
  • Jesus' healing on the Sabbath stirs up trouble (John chapter 5)
  • The miracle of the loaves and fish and Jesus being "the Bread of Life" (John chapter 6)
  • Jesus at "the great feast" in Jerusalem (John chapter 7)
  • Jesus forgives the woman caught in adultery, and proclaims He is "the Light of the World" (John chapter 8)
  • Jesus heals a blind man (John chapter 9)
  • Jesus proclaims He is "the Good Shepherd" (John chapter 10)
  • Jesus raises Lazarus back from the dead (John chapter 11)
  • Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem (John chapter 12)
  • Jesus washes His disciples' feet and declares who will betray Him (John chapter 13)
  • Jesus' final words to His disciples before His death (John chapters 14 to 16)
  • Jesus' prayer to God before His death (John chapter 17)
  • Jesus' arrest and His trial before the priests and Pontius Pilate (John chapter 18)
  • Jesus' crucifixion and death (John chapter 19)
  • Jesus' resurrection and presentation before His disciples (John chapter 20)
  • Jesus restores fellowship with Simon Peter and closing (John chapter 21)

Tropes found in the Gospels:

  • 100% Completion: In the Gospel of Matthew, at His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells His followers that "until heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle [meaning the smallest letter or the tiniest pen mark] will in no way pass from the Law until it is all fulfilled" when He talks about not coming to "destroy [or abolish] the Law and the Prophets" but to fulfill it. Some Bible students interpret that as the Law of Moses still being in effect for believers in Christ, while most others interpret that the same Law was brought to its completion at the cross when Jesus said in the gospel of John, "It is finished."
  • Absurdly Elderly Mother: In the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel tells the priest Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth is going to have a child. Even though the couple had prayed for a child for many years, Zechariah finds this unbelievable, since they are both old, to which Gabriel renders him mute until the child, whom they named John, is born.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: In the parable of the "sheep and goats" in Matthew chapter 25, Jesus says the King will judge the "goats" for their doing nothing good for "the least of My brethren", saying that what the "goats" didn't do for them, they also didn't do for the King.
  • Actually, I Am Him: Jesus did this from time to time.
    • One example comes from John chapter 9, after curing a man of his blindness:
      Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
      "Who is he, sir?" the man asked. "Tell me so that I may believe in him."
      Jesus said, "You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you."
      Then the man said, "Lord, I believe," and worshiped him.
    • In an earlier chapter, when Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, she said, "I know that the Messiah is coming (who is called Christ); when He comes, He will tell us all things." Jesus says to her, "I, the one speaking to you, am He."
  • Adaptation Amalgamation: The Bible including the Gospels put together would alone be considered combining information from multiple sources. In case of the Gospel of Luke, the author admits in the first verses of doing research from the various events from eyewitnesses and servants and creating an orderly account of them.
  • An Aesop: Jesus liked to give twist endings to common rabbinical parables of the time:
    • The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard describes a variety of laborers who work different amounts of time, building expectation for a lesson about the rewards of hard and patient work. Unexpectedly, Jesus ends the parable with all the workers receiving a day's wage, even those that didn't start working until near the end of the day. A mundane and cliche story turns out to be communicating something much more unexpected.
    • The Parable of the Good Samaritan usually ended with a Jewish layman as the third person, both as a Take That! against the clergy of the day and to encourage everyday people to engage in random acts of kindness; that the third man was a Samaritan (whom the Jews hated for being of mixed lineage and having impure worship practices) was unthinkable.
  • Always with You: The last words of the Gospel of Mathew is the Trope Maker:
    Jesus: Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
  • Allegory: Most of Jesus' parables fall into this genre. For instance, after telling the Parable of the Sower, Jesus explains to his disciples that the sower is the one who tells the gospel, the seed is the word, and the four different types of soil are four possible responses the hearers may have to it.invoked
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The gospels themselves don't give exact dates for the life of Jesus, only that he was born during the latter days of the reign of Herod the Great (who died in 4 BC)note  and was crucified when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea (AD 26-36).
  • Anachronism Stew: The "Give unto Caesar" scene relies on the coins having Caesar's face on them; such coins were not used in Judea prior to the destruction of the Temple in AD 70. The coins the Jews used to pay taxes to the Roman government was the Tyrian shekel, which had another image on it (seen by the Tyrians as Melqart, and by the Romans as Hercules).
  • Anaphora: Jesus delivers one on his Beatitudes:
    And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
    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.
  • Ancestral Name: Discussed during the birth of John the Baptist recorded in Luke, where Elizabeth's neighbors and relatives initially assumed that the baby is going to be named Zechariah after his father. When his parents insist that the baby's name is John (because the angel that heralded his birth instructed them to name him so), the others were surprised because none of their relatives are named John.
  • Angel Unaware: In the Judgment of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew chapter 25, Jesus as the great King tells both groups, "I am hungry, and you gave Me food/gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink/gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in/did not invite Me; I was naked, and you clothed Me/did not clothe Me; I was sick, and you visited Me/did not visit Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me/did not come to Me." As both groups ask where they saw Him and ministered (or did not ministered) to Him, He says, "Whenever you did it (or did not do it) to the least of these My brethren, you did it (or did not do it) to Me."
  • Anger Born of Worry: In Luke 2, 12-year-old Jesus gets lost when the family is returning from Passover in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph are frantic (this is GOD'S SON they were supposed to keep an eye on!), and they return to Jerusalem to search for Him. When they find Jesus safe in the temple, Mary's worry (like any mother's) turns to anger: "Son, why have You treated us this way? Behold, Your father and I have been anxiously looking for You."
  • Animate Inanimate Object: In the Gospel of Luke, when Jesus makes His triumphal entry, and the priests tell Jesus to make His disciples stop praising Him by silencing them, Jesus says that "if these were to remain silent, then the rocks would immediately cry out."
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • Jesus uses the imagery of a man removing his own leg to mark how completely a man must separate himself from sins. In the context of Matthew 5:29, he's referring to the need for men to avoid not only adultery, but sustained lust, even if it is severely difficult.
      If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
    • Mark 9:45-46 adds this:
      And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched; where 'Their worm does not die, And the fire is not quenched.'
  • Ancient Rome: Judea (now part of modern-day Israel) was a Roman province during the time of Jesus.
  • Apathetic Citizens: In the Matthew and Luke renderings of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warns that the days before His Second Coming are going to be like "the days of Noah" (and in the gospel of Luke, "the days of Sodom") where people will be doing seemingly ordinary things like "marrying and giving in marriage" until disaster strikes without any warning. Jesus also warns His disciples in the gospel of Luke to not let their hearts be weighed down with "carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life," lest the Day of His Coming will catch them unaware, for it will be like a snare to those who live on the face of the whole earth.
  • Apple of Discord: In Matthew 10:34-36, Jesus warns that His teachings will cause families to turn against each other.
    "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: C. S. Lewis argued the story of Thomas doubting Jesus had risen was this. When Jesus told him "You have believed because you have seen. Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed." this was not, in Lewis's view, endorsing a blind faith. Rather, because Thomas had already seen Jesus perform many miracles (including another resurrection) and heard him predict his own, refusal to believe without seeing him was unreasonable. For someone else, Lewis agreed it would be reasonable wanting to see Jesus personally before they believed.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Jesus delivers one of the most devastating and memorable comebacks in history in John's gospel, when asked whether the woman accused of adultery should be stoned. "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone," causing every single man and woman in the crowd to drop their stones and walk away in silence.
  • Artistic License – Religion:
    • The Wise Men are clearly supposed to be Zoroastrian priests; the Greek word magoi derives from the old Persian and Avestan terms for the Zoroastrian priestly caste, and frankincense is a common element in Zoroastrian temple fires and home rituals, as is myrrh to lesser extent. The idea that they'd travel a long way to honor a Jewish baby as a future king is a big stretch. Accounts in The Talmud suggest that Zoroastrians and Jews didn't get along very well, often clashing over their vastly different purity rituals, and the only lore in the religion about a savior of humanity is connected with the end of time and the final battle between good and evil, and almost certainly they wouldn't have been expecting this figure to be someone from outside their religion.
    • Matthew, Mark and Luke have Passover beginning on Thursday night, with the Last Supper as a seder Jesus celebrated with his followers the night before he was crucified on Friday afternoon. The issue with this is that, according to the rules of the Hebrew calendar, Passover can't start on a Thursday night (though the rules governing that weren't completely codified until The Middle Ages).Explanation  John avoids this by explicitly placing the start of Passover on Friday night, after the Crucifixion. It's been argued that the other three gospels are actually compatible with a Friday Passover too, it's just that Jesus decided to celebrate one day early since he wouldn't be around for the real holiday.
  • Asshole Victim: Jesus challenges this thinking in Luke 13:1-5:
    There were present at that time some who told Him of the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse offenders than all men living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
  • As the Good Book Says...:
    • Jesus quotes the traditional interpretation of the Old Testament quite a few times to make a point and contrast his new Christian ethics against the old Jewish ones.
    • Jesus quotes the Torah in the desert to justify rejecting Satan. The Devil himself tries to use Psalm 91:11-12 to convince Jesus to put God to the test, but Jesus counters his reference with the command of Deuteronomy 6:16.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The Gospels of Mark and Luke end with Jesus ascending to Heaven.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: In the gospel of Luke, Jesus raises a widow's son from the dead right at his own funeral.
  • Attention Whore: Jesus deals with this problem among the religious people in His Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew by pointing out three things: (1) don't announce your doing good deeds before men with trumpets or "let your left hand know what your right hand does" because the only reward you'll get is from men, not from God; (2) don't pray in public in order to garner public attention unto yourself, for the same reason; and (3) don't draw attention unto yourself to the fact that you are fasting, also for the same reason.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Luke, who was a doctor, notes several medical details in his accounts that the other authors glossed over, such as that the girl who Jesus brought back from the dead died of a high fever, or that Christ was sweating blood at Gethsemane.
    • Ex-tax collector Matthew focuses on money. For instance, he was the only one to say how much Judas was paid for his betrayal.
  • Away in a Manger: In the Gospel according to Luke, Mary unexpectedly gives birth in a stable. The Nativity story is the Trope Maker.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • The Gospel of John details seven signs of Jesus's godhood, with the final, greatest, and most disturbing sign being the revival of Lazarus. By the time Jesus had been given word of his friend's illness and went to find him, he had been dead two days. Lazarus's sisters assumed even Jesus could do nothing at this point, but Jesus ordered them to open the tomb. Peering into the darkness, Jesus commanded Lazarus to come to him and out came a fully alive man in a burial shroud, the risen Lazarus.

      Word of this great miracle spreads and by the time Jesus arrives in Jerusalem, there are crowds eager to greet the unprecedented miracle worker. But since this great deed challenged the religious rule of the Sanhedrin, they feared that Jesus's following would give Rome reason to come and further dominate the Jews. Fearful for the future, the Sanhedrin began to plot to kill both Lazarus and Jesus to avoid reconciling with the far-reaching consequences of a man more powerful than death.
    • Three days after Christ is publicly executed and buried in a well-guarded tomb, two women devastated by his death find the tomb empty, only for Jesus Christ to reveal himself to them fully alive, with the scars and body to prove he did die and return.
    • When Herod Antipas heard about Jesus and His doing miracles, he assumed that it was John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, come back to life and was eager to meet Him.
  • Badass Pacifist: The only time Jesus gets violent is when the Merchants are defiling the temple. Otherwise, he acts as a benign mentor. He also deliberately avoids using his Godly powers in any context besides making a point to his disciples, to set an example that you can follow his teachings, even if you don't have his abilities.
  • Berserk Button: When some people decided to turn God's temple into a marketplace (twice), Jesus was not amused.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: For an Incorruptible Pure Pureness who preaches love, kindness, and forgiveness, this wasn't the case when Jesus finds the merchants making His father's house into a den of robbers instead of a house of prayer. There's also His warnings about eternal damnation in Hell if people don't repent.
  • Big Bad Friend: According to popular legend, Judas was Jesus' best friend.
  • Bigger Than Jesus: Ironically enough, Jesus himself invokes this trope, mentioning that he's "greater than Solomon" and "greater than Jonah" in a third-person kind of way.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": In some translations, Jesus' "Peace, be still" to the wind and waves in the gospel of Mark comes off as Him yelling "Quiet!"
  • Bittersweet Ending: Jesus is gone from the earthly realm but the apostles vow to spread his message to the rest of the world.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: The Trope Namer, which comes from Matthew 15:13-14, which He applies to the religious leaders of His day misleading others.
  • Breaking the Bonds: The demoniac man identified only as Legion in the gospels of Mark and Luke, whom could not be bound with chains because he would keep breaking them.
  • But Now I Must Go: In the Gospel of John, in one of His last speeches to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus tells His disciples that He must now go back to God the Father, for His work on earth is nearing its end, but promising that when He does, He will send them the Comforter — the Holy Spirit — who will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, and will also be with the disciples.
  • Call-Back: The Gospel of Matthew especially goes out of its way to point out how Jesus's life and ministry call back to the Jewish prophets:
    • The Gospel begins by tracing Christ's lineage back to the protagonists of the Old Testament, including Abraham, Issac, Jacob, and Judah from the Book of Genesis, the titular character of the Book of Ruth, King David from the Books of Samuel, and King Solomon from the Books of Kings. Luke also includes this genealogy, albeit after the birth narrative of Jesus.
    • Like Moses in Exodus, Jesus is the only infant to survive a massacre by a king concerned with keeping his power. Once that king died, Jesus and Moses left Egypt to return to their rightful home of Israel.
    • Just as Moses spent forty days on Mount Sinai and forty years with the Israelites in the desert, Jesus spent forty days in the desert resisting the temptations of the Devil.
    • Jesus's longest sermon, recorded in chapters five to seven, deals largely with the meaning of the Law of Moses and takes place on a mountain. Moses received the Law on a mountain as recorded in the Book of Exodus, framing Jesus as a kind of second Moses.
    • The Twelve Apostles could be seen as a call back to The Twelve Patriarchs and The Twelve Tribes of Israel. John The Baptist was the Second Elijah.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture:
    • Matthew 24:31 is interpreted by Bible students who believe in the post-Tribulation Rapture that this will be when the event happens, and that angels will gather all God's elect to Him from all corners of the earth.
    • Matthew 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-26 are also interpreted as what will happen when the Rapture happens, although in the latter verses' case, with Jesus saying afterward, "Where there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather together," they seem to suggest people being removed unto a coming judgment.
    • The parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 is interpreted as one for the Rapture, as only the wise virgins who brought oil with their lamps are the saints who are allowed entry into the Lord's wedding feast in heaven.
  • Celibate Hero:
    • Jesus, and possibly others we forget. Some people think that Jesus was married, but that His wife was not mentioned in the Bible (there are also a lot of speculations about why this is). Other people see this idea as heresy. Also, throughout New Testament Scripture, Jesus is spoken of as being the Bridegroom waiting to be united with His bride, which most if not all Christians interpret as being the church.
    • Jesus referenced them when he spoke of the indissolubility of marriage. He said that there are eunuchs by choice who seek the kingdom of heaven and he who can apply this should.
    • In His response to the Sadducees about whose wife would a woman be of the seven brothers that married her and left her with no offspring at the resurrection, Jesus implies that all who are resurrected from the dead will be celibate, for "they shall neither marry nor be given in marriage, but shall be like the angels in heaven."
  • Cement Shoes: In Luke 17, Jesus suggests a fate like this is preferable than what's coming to those who knowingly cause others to sin, or who cause harm to a child.
    Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble."
  • Cessation of Existence: The Sadducees refused to accept there was life after death. However, they did test Jesus with a question of whose wife would she be of the seven brothers that married her in turn and died without leaving her a child when all eight of them are resurrected. Jesus told them that they were in error, not knowing either the Scriptures or the power of God, reminding them that there is a resurrection of the dead, and that even though Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are no longer among the living, they are still considered alive to God, for He is "not a God of the dead, but of the living."
  • Character Filibuster:
    • Jesus's Sermon on the Mount is an 84 line speech in Matthew that touches on most if not all of his major teachings. He starts by listing off the various oppressed and needy people who are blessed, then teaches on topics ranging from from how the angry and lustful are as damned as the murderous and adulterous and divorce is impermissible to the need to love enemies unconditionally and not turn righteousness into a public display. He concludes by saying that those that wish to live should listen and act upon his words, while those that do not act in accordance with Him will find only death and desolation.
    • Luke's Gospel includes a much shorter version of the Sermon titled the Sermon on the Plain. It boils down to the blessings of the downtrodden, the call to love enemies, the order on proper judgement, and the warning to act on Christ's words.
    • And there's Matthew's rendering of the Olivet Discourse in Chapter 24, which then leads to His three parables about the end times in Chapter 25.
    • And there's Jesus' final words to His disciples in John chapters 14 to 16, although these are broken up with some questions and comments from the disciples.
  • Child Hater: As a warning, Jesus in Matthew 18:10-11 tells His disciples, "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost."
  • Child Prodigy: Jesus is depicting discussing the Torah with much older and better learned men to their astonishment when he's only a preteen.
  • Children Are a Waste: In the gospel of Luke, as Jesus is going to the cross and He meets a group of women weeping for Him, He tells them, "Do not weep for Me, but rather weep for yourselves, for a time will come when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed,'" implying that there will come a time when the people of Jerusalem will meet such death that bringing a child into the world during that time would only imperil them to the same suffering as everybody else.
  • Churchgoing Villain: Jesus frequently lambasted people (especially the Pharisees, who He believed should have known better) for acting religious while living life only to attain more wealth and power at the expense of others.
  • Circling Vultures: Jesus uses the phrase "wherever there is a dead body, there the vultures will gather" as a metaphor regarding the signs of the end coming in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, possibly symbolizing a coming judgment.
  • Claimed by the Supernatural: According to Calvinist theology, Jesus' words in the gospel of John regarding believers in Christ: "I give them eternal life. They shall never perish, nor shall anyone snatch them from My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them from My Father’s hand."
  • Come to Gawk: A good deal of the people who showed up at Jesus' crucifixion, staying there mostly to humiliate Jesus until He died.
  • Comically Missing the Point: In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells His disciples to "beware the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." The disciples are thinking, "He's saying this because we didn't bring any bread." Jesus has to remind them of the two feeding miracles they have accomplished to get them to understand that He wasn't talking about bread.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Jesus in the gospels of Matthew and Luke says "nobody can serve two masters, for you will love the one and hate the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other." He adds to that that "you cannot serve both God and Mammon [or money]."
  • Consummate Liar: Satan, as explained by Jesus in John 8:44.
    You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: The Gospel of John is the most philosophical of the four gospels and involves some deep stuff, right from its first few opening lines.
  • Cool Key: Jesus in Matthew 16:19 says that He will give Peter "the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven" upon Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, that "whatever you bind on earth will be [or has already been] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be [or has already been] loosed in heaven."
  • Corrupt Church: The Pharisees (the forerunners of rabbinical Judaism) don't get the most flattering depiction, since they were the chief philosophical opponents of Jesus.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: You'd expect something Older Than Feudalism to be exempt from this trope, but in the Parable of the Shrewd Manager, a wasteful manager is told that he's going to be fired, so he needs to give an accounting of his management. While the audit was still going on, he cooked the books in such a way as to get on the good side of his master's debtors, so that they'd be grateful to that he could mooch off them. However, the overall moral of the story is about doing good to others so that you will be received into everlasting homes.
  • Crippling Castration: Jesus in Matthew chapter 19 in talking about divorce with the Pharisees and scribes says that there are men who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, which is how serious He believes men should take purity in sexual matters, whether married or single. (Although because the Law of Moses, which in it states that a man with crushed or torn testicles cannot serve in the Temple of God, was still in effect at the time, whether Jesus meant it as literal or metaphorical self-castration is not known.)
  • Crucial Cross: The Ur-Example of this trope is the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, best known from the accounts of it in these books. The horror of his death on the cross was transformed by the belief that he returned to life into hope that all men might escape death and sin in the same way. Still, the Gospels never describe the Cross itself as something hopeful, nor do they describe Christians using it as a symbol, so it appears they merely inspired the use of this trope rather than making it.
  • Deal with the Devil: Satan tempts Jesus by offering him all the kingdoms of the world in exchange for just a little worship. Of course, Jesus didn't bite the bait.
  • Death Equals Redemption: In the Gospel of Luke, the criminal crucified to the right of Jesus asks for forgiveness before he dies, and Jesus grants it to him. He became Saint Dismas, the good thief, in the Catholic tradition. The other criminal, the impenitent thief, is Defiant to the End and taunts Jesus about not saving Himself.
  • Decapitation Presentation: John the Baptist's head is put on a platter and delivered to Herod's wife.
  • Deceptive Disciple: Judas Iscariot.
  • Demanding Their Head: The story of The Beheading of John the Baptist. On King Herod's birthday, when Salome's dancing pleased Herod so much that he promised to give her anything she desired, she asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, at the behest of her mother, Herodias. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed by beheading in the prison.
  • Demonic Possession: Jesus encounters several possessed people and successfully exorcises the demons every time. This occurs frequently enough that it's lumped together with all the other diseases and mental disorders Jesus cures.
    • One notable example: the truly unfortunate man possessed by one thousand demons that called themselves "Legion". Jesus, being well, Jesus, cured the man and spared the demons when they begged for mercy, who he then let flee into a herd of pigs. Which then ran off a cliff in terror.
    • Jesus Himself speaks the parable about a person who has had a demon exorcised out of him that goes out into dry places to look for rest, and finding none goes back to the person it once inhabited, only to find that person's place swept clean and put in order, so the demon goes and gets seven more even worse demons to come in, and the state of that man is worse than before.
  • Den of Iniquity: Jesus' denunciation of the Jewish leaders' treatment of the Temple by turning it into a market, quoting a term from the book of Jeremiah.
    "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" (Mark 11:17)
  • Descend From A Higher Plane Of Existence: Jesus came down from Heaven to become mortal.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Or in this case Hanukkah, which in the gospel of John is mentioned as the Feast of Dedication, which Jesus and the Jews celebrate, but is eclipsed by Jesus having another discussion with the Jews about His being the Messiah.
  • Disease by Any Other Name: Some commentators have speculated that cases of demonic possession dealt with by Jesus show symptoms we would recognize today as epilepsy or mental disorders.
  • Don't Look Back: In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says that those who put their hand to the plow, and then look back, are not fit for the Kingdom of God.
  • Doves Mean Peace: The Holy Spirit chooses to manifest as a dove during Jesus' christening.
  • Driven to Suicide: Judas Iscariot, deeply regretting his betrayal of his master, tried to give back his blood money to relieve himself of his guilt. When the Pharisees refused to take it, Judas threw it away and killed himself to escape his guilt.
  • Due to the Dead: In all four Gospels, the bodies of the crucified were taken off the crosses prior to the Sabbath, and Jesus' body was wrapped in a shroud and coated with a hundred pounds of aloe to form a hardening solution, and then was placed in an empty tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea in a nearby garden, fulfilling Isaiah 53:9 which says that He was buried "with the rich at His death." In the Gospel of Luke, the women prepared spices to anoint Jesus' body with, rested on the Sabbath, then came to the tomb on the following day to discover that Jesus' body was no longer in the tomb and that He had risen from the dead.
  • The Dutiful Son:
    • First appeared as the counterpart to the title character in Jesus' parable of the Prodigal Son. Jesus makes the point that he's not really morally superior to his wayward brother because his dutifulness is not out of love for his father.
    • Jesus also told a parable about a father who told his two sons to work in his vineyard. The first one said no, but later went and worked, while the second one said yes, but didn't go. Jesus asked his listeners which son did his father's will, and the answer was the first son, of course.
  • Ear Ache: In all four Gospels, one of Jesus' disciples (mentioned as Peter in the Gospel of John) cuts off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus touches the place where the ear has been cut off and it is healed.
  • Easy Evangelism: Deconstructed by Jesus himself in the Parable of the Sower. Some people just won't hear the message, while others accept the word with joy right away, but then give up just as quickly as soon as the going gets tough. Real faith requires depth and time to grow.
  • Easy Road to Hell:
    • Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 compares the easy road to Hell with the hard road to Heaven:
      "Enter at the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who are going through it, because small is the gate and narrow is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
    • As a corollary to this trope, in the gospel of Luke, when one of His disciples ask, "Lord, are there only a few that will be saved?", and Jesus answers, "Strive to enter into the narrow gate, for many, I say, will try to enter and will not be able."
  • Empathic Environment: When Jesus is crucified, the sky turns dark (even though it's three in the afternoon), the curtain in the Temple (before the Holy of Holies) is torn apart and the dead rise again and start walking around. See Total Eclipse of the Plot.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Or in this case, empty piles of burial wrapping, as Mary Magdalene and those who followed her to the tomb found on the third day when Jesus had risen.
  • Enemies Equals Greatness: Some verses such as Matthew 5:11-12 and John 15:18-20 deal with this as far as following Jesus is concerned. The former assures that being hated and persecuted for the sake of following God's righteousness leads to great rewards, whereas the latter assures that it's better to have human enemies than to be God's enemy. On the other hand, Jesus also explains that the reason people who follow Him have enemies is mainly that Evil Cannot Comprehend Good, so He commands us to love and pray for our enemies rather than retaliating.
  • Enemy Mine: In the gospel of Luke, it says that Herod and Pontius Pilate, who were at enmity with each other, became "friends" on the day of Jesus' sentencing and crucifixion, although it wasn't specifically Jesus they were at enmity with — both saw Jesus as rather harmless — but rather the Jewish leaders who wanted Jesus dead. They weren't above mocking Jesus, however, since He served simply as a representation of the Jewish people in general.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Jesus was betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, two of his closest friends from the inner circle of apostles. Played with in that Jesus knew both events were coming and even foretold them to the disciples, but the betrayals are still treated as shocking. Peter later repents and is forgiven, but Judas is Driven to Suicide.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Jesus says in the gospels of Matthew and Luke that if parents who are "evil" know how to give good gifts to their children — saying that such a parent won't give their child a stone if they ask for bread, or a snake if they ask for a fish, or a scorpion if they ask for an egg — how much more will God the Father, who is always good, give good gifts, including the Holy Spirit, to those who ask Him.
  • Evil Gloating: The Romans mock Jesus heavily while torturing him before finally killing him, asking him if he's really the King of the Jews. They even put up a sign above his head on the cross reading Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).note 
  • Evil vs. Evil: In three of the Gospels, when the Pharisees claim that Jesus' exorcism miracles are done by "the power of Beelzebul", Jesus responds by saying, "How can Satan cast out Satan?", and that if it's possible for Satan's power to cast out one of his own evil powers, then his kingdom cannot stand.
  • Exact Words: In the gospel of John, Pilate insisted the sign on Jesus' cross should read "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." When the Pharisees asked him to make it say "This man said he is the king of the Jews," Pilate retorted, "What I have written, I have written."
  • Expensive Glass of Crap: Referenced in the story of the wedding at Cana. It was customary to bring out lower-quality wine after the guests were tipsy, but when Jesus turned water into wine, he turned it into the good stuff and people could tell the difference.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Jesus, although how He did this varies among the Gospel accounts. In the Gospel of John, when the guards come for Him, He casually allows them to arrest Him and let His followers go, and even as He endured the brutality of scourging and being crucified, Jesus seems to react with a strangely resigned poise. In the Synoptic Gospels, however, Jesus had to spend some time praying to God the Father in the garden of Gethsemane for either the cup of suffering to pass from Him or just to have His Father's will be done.
  • Faith–Heel Turn: There were a group of disciples in John chapter 6 who decided to turn away from Jesus after hearing the rather hard-to-hear speech about "eating the flesh" and "drinking the blood" of the Son Of Man.
  • A Family Affair: In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Herod Antipas has John the Baptist put in prison for daring to rebuke him for his marriage to his brother's wife Herodias, saying that it was not lawful for him to have her. Herodias wanted John the Baptist killed, but Herod spared him because he liked listening to him. It was only after Herodias' daughter danced for Herod, and he made a vow to give her anything she wanted, even "up to half the kingdom", that John the Baptist was finally killed for his brave testimony.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Hell. When the collective of demons who self-identify as Legion are about to be exorcised, they break down and beg Jesus to send them anywhere but Hell.
  • Faux Empowering Entity: Satan arguably fills this role as he's tempting Jesus with empty/meaningless promises in the desert.
  • Financial Abuse: An inversion, when Jesus criticized the practice of dedicating property to the Temple to avoid taking care of one's parents. Presumably this was either because of spite or because of a loophole that allowed the owner to use the property while not owning it, thus having his cake and eating it too.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: In Matthew and Luke, John the Baptist tells his followers, "I have come baptizing with water, but there is One who comes after me who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Pentecostals tend to interpret the "baptism of fire" as having the power of the Holy Spirit to do wonders and miracles. However, with the following verse stating "the winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing floor, and He will gather the wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire," it seems to suggest that this is talking about the coming judgment of man.
  • First Law of Resurrection: Jesus returns three earthly episodes after his demise.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Not quite atheists per se, but some people denied Jesus' divinity even immediately after watching Him perform real-life miracles.
  • Flipping the Table: Jesus does this with the moneychangers in the Temple.
  • Fly in the Soup: Jesus during His rant against the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew chapter 23 tells them, "You strain out a gnat, yet you swallow a camel!" — which was how they prefer to enjoy their drinks, pouring them through a cloth in order to strain out insects that would make their beverage "unclean" to drink. However, the point Jesus was making with that statement is that the Pharisees were majoring in the minor things of the Law of God while not also doing the major things in the same Law.
  • Food End: Jesus and the Disciples have breakfast in the last chapter of the Gospel of John.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: The Prodigal Son in Jesus' parable not only demands his inheritance before his father has even died, he promptly blows through all the money and is reduced to serving pigs before he comes to his senses and goes back home.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The gospel writers have a tendency to introduce Judas Iscariot as "the one who would betray Him." Jesus also prophesies His death and resurrection on multiple occasions.
  • Forgiveness: A major concept in Jesus' teachings. Also part of his own Dying Moment of Awesome, when he prayed "Father, forgive them; they know not what they do."
  • Friendship Denial: Peter does this to Jesus three times. Then the rooster crows, Jesus looks at him, and Peter becomes remorseful.
  • Friend to All Children: Jesus. He got quite annoyed with His disciples when they tried to stop children from "bothering" Him, explaining that little children had exemplary faith in the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Get Out!:
    • Jesus says in his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7:21-23 that many will come to Him on the Last Day and say, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonderful works in Your name?" But then He will say to them, "I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice evil."
    • The message given to Jesus by the people in the region where He commanded demons that were tormenting a man to enter a herd of swine, after they found out what had happened.
    • Some Pharisees in Luke 13:31 warned Jesus to get out because King Herod wanted to kill Him.
  • Give the Baby a Father: In the gospel of Matthew, when Joseph found out that his future wife Mary was pregnant with a child, he was hesitant on marrying her, suspecting her of committing fornication, and being a righteous man that didn't want to put her in public shame, decided that he was going to divorce her quietly. That was when an angel of God visited him in a dream and told him to take Mary as his wife because the child conceived in her was from the Holy Spirit, and that the child would be named Jesus, for He would deliver His people from their sins. Joseph woke up, did what the angel had commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but didn't consummate his marriage with her until she had given birth to Jesus. Catholic interpretations state that Joseph kept Mary a virgin even after she had given birth to Jesus, although mention is made of him having at least four brothers and an unspecified number of sisters..
  • Giving Them the Strip: Mark 14:51-52 tells of a young man who witnessed the arrest of Christ. They grabbed him, but they only caught his garment and he fled naked. Some theorize that the young man was Mark himself (because he's the only one who mentions the incident in his gospel); the non-canonical Secret Gospel of Mark mentions an earlier incident paralleling the raising of Lazarus in which the resurrected young man later appears to Jesus naked except for essentially the same garment.
  • Go and Sin No More: Another Trope Namer, from Jesus' response to a woman caught in adultery (John 8).
    • Before that, in John chapter 5, when Jesus found the crippled man He healed in the Temple, He tells him, "Sin no more, lest a worse thing happen to you."
  • God Guise:
    • In the gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, John the Baptist had to deal with people who thought that he was the coming Messiah, and tells them plainly (using a quote from Isaiah) that he was merely sent as a prophet to prepare the way for the Lord's coming, that he himself only baptizes with water, but the Messiah that is coming will baptize "with the Holy Spirit and with fire".
    • In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus says many will come in His name, claiming to be the Christ, and will draw many people astray after them, and that there will be false prophets and false Christs that will perform signs and wonders that would, if possible, deceive the very elect.
  • God Is Good: The good news (or gospel, for the more titularly inclined) is that God has taken the form of Jesus Christ, who has come to tell humanity that God is willing to forgive any wrongdoing so long as one is willing to repent. During the King of Kings's ministry on Earth, he heals the sick, fights off demons, decries the hypocrites, and speaks to the outcasts of societies, from the prostitutes to the unorthodox Samaritans, all while speaking of the need to store treasure in Heaven and love all, even one's enemies. It all culminates in Christ accepting an excruciating death while begging for the forgiveness of those who executed him, only to rise from the dead three days later and proclaim that all who followed him would similarly find new life in Heaven.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus found himself unable to perform many miracles in a certain town due to unbelief, since they saw Him merely as the son of a carpenter and not God made manifest in the flesh.
  • God Test
    • Satan tries to invoke this by suggesting Jesus prove he was the son of God by turning stones into bread. Jesus refused, saying "It is written; Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from God's mouth." Not to be put off, Satan told him to jump from the roof of the temple, saying "If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone." Jesus refuses again, saying "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'"
    • King Herod (Antipas) tested Jesus on the day of His crucifixion to see if He would do all the miraculous things he had heard about. Jesus did nothing.
    • When Jesus is on the cross the authorities challenge him, "If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross."
    • Played straight by Jesus and Thomas. When Thomas hears of the resurrection, he refuses to believe the story, thinking it incredible. It is not until Jesus shows Thomas his crucifixion wounds that Thomas believes. Jesus then says that it would have been better for Thomas to have believed without seeing his wounds.
  • The Golden Rule: In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that doing unto others as you would have done unto you is what the Law and the Prophets (the teaching of the entire Old Testament Scripture) are all about.
  • Good is Not Nice: Jesus says "I come not to bring peace but a sword." (Though considering the pacifistic inclination of Jesus' other teachings, many Christians interpret this as a metaphorical sword.)
  • Good Is Not Soft: Jesus, although this is mainly aimed at Satan, the Pharisees, and the merchants who defiled the temple.
  • Good Samaritan: The Trope Namer, from Luke 10: he saw a badly-injured stranger who'd been robbed and stripped naked, and tended his wounds and paid an innkeeper to take care of him until he recovered...even when religious leaders passed this same stranger by.
  • Good Shepherd: Jesus, of course, claims this title for Himself.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The New Testament was largely written Koine Greek, except for the occasional Aramaic phrase (translated into Greek for convenience). The most famous of these is Jesus' cry from the cross:
    "Eloi eloi lama sabachthani — [My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?]"
  • Grave Robbing:
    • When Mary Magdalene and a few people with her saw the opened tomb and Jesus' body gone upon the third day, she thought this is what had happened until Jesus shows up in His risen form to prove otherwise.
    • In fact, the Jewish leaders told Pontius Pilate this is what Jesus' followers would do to make people believe that He has risen from the dead, and so had the tomb sealed and a guard standing by it in order to keep that from happening. And at the end of Matthew, when the guards found the tomb empty and reported it to the priests, the priests bribed them with money to tell the governor that Jesus' disciples had robbed His body from the grave in order to get the guards off the hook for failing in their duties.
  • Greed:
    • Jesus' parable in the gospel of Luke about the foolish farmer who thought he had all the time in the world to enjoy his bountiful harvest, only to be told by God that "tonight your soul will be required of you," is a warning to His listeners (particular two of them fighting over the rights of their father's inheritance) about covetousness.
    • Another such parable is the rich man and Lazarus, which results in the rich man being sent to Hades and Lazarus to Abraham's bosom. To a lesser degree, the parable of the hired workers, who were hired at different points of the day, and yet all were given the same full amount of the day's wages, which made the ones hired first upset because they thought they would be given more for the length and amount of work they produced in comparison to the later-hired workers.
    • Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew to not lay up treasures on earth, where moth or rust corrupts, and where thieves will break through and steal, but instead lay up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust will corrupt, and where thieves will not break through and steal, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
  • Have You Seen My God?: Jesus' dying words (quoting from Psalm 22) — "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" This has led to endless theological discussion as to whether Jesus was literally forsaken by God the Father (as He suffered for our sins), merely felt forsaken by God (as he was being unjustly executed by torture), or was just reciting a Psalm for spiritual support as He died — or any combination of the three.
  • Healing Hands: Jesus spent a great deal of time healing sick people, to the point that all but twelve of his miracles are related to healing.
  • Healing Spring: The pool of Bethesda in John chapter 5, as explained in the King James Version and other similar translations made from the Textus Receptus:
    In these lay a great crowd of invalids, blind, lame, and paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water. After the stirring of the water, whoever stepped in first was healed of whatever disease he had. (John 5:3-4, Modern English Version)
  • Heaven Seeker: Numerous people talk to Jesus asking how they can attain eternal life. To the rich young ruler who asks that question, Jesus tells him to follow the commandments, and when the ruler says he obeyed them all, Jesus points out the one thing he lacks: selling all his goods and giving to the poor so that he would have treasure in heaven. This makes the rich young ruler walk away sad, for he loved his possessions, and Jesus then says it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven. This makes His disciples ask, "Who then can be saved?" To which Jesus replies, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Alone with Nicodemus, Jesus says that everyone who believes in God's only begotten Son shall have eternal life.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After betraying Jesus and regretting it, Judas tried to get the Sanhedrin to reverse the transaction, but they would have none of it. He was Driven to Suicide as a result.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Probably the most notable among them was one of the thieves on the cross. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, they were among those who were reviling Jesus, but in the gospel of Luke, one of the thieves continue to do so while the other, realizing that his end is coming and that he is going to face God in eternity for his deeds, rebukes the thief still reviling Jesus, saying that they're both under the same condemnation and deservedly so for their actions while Jesus did nothing wrong to deserve His sentence. He then says, "Lord, remember me when you enter into Your kingdom," and Jesus replies, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
    • Despite the Pharisees being generally treated as the villains of the story, some of them did buy into Jesus's teachings. Most notably Nicodemus (and Paul, but that's another story), who came to talk to Jesus at night so that his fellows wouldn't spot him.
  • The Hero Dies: Subverted. Jesus dies in the crucifixion and his disciples believe he's really died, emphasized by the Road to Emmaus story. Except he rises from the dead by the end of the Gospels.
  • Hero of Another Story: John the Baptist, also a great religious innovator who himself attracted a fervent following at the time, is portrayed as the one who was preparing the way for Jesus.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The point of Jesus's death is to die for humanity's redemption.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Jesus, who is derided by most of the authorities as a dangerous, subversive rebel who consorts with and draws his support from the lowliest dregs of society.
  • Hesitant Sacrifice: Despite submitting to his execution, Jesus is in so much anguish the night before that he sweats blood while fervently praying for a way out.
  • Holiday Pardon: It was a tradition for the Roman governor of Judea to release a prisoner (of the Jewish crowd's choosing) during the Passover feast. When Jesus is arrested, Pontius Pilate is reluctant to have him executed, but also fears to defy the Jewish religious leaders who want Jesus dead. Pilate tries to escape the situation by suggesting that Jesus could be this year's Passover pardon, but the crowd (egged on by the religious leaders) rejects this, insisting on releasing the insurrectionist Barabbas instead.
  • Holier Than Thou: Jesus thoroughly berated the religious leaders of his time for being like this. Needless to say, they didn't take it well.
  • Hope Spot: Pilate tries to have Jesus released, but the mob insists on his crucifixion. Although Pilate was a jerk, depending on who you talk to. In other branches,note  he's a saint. Literally.
  • A House Divided: The Trope Namer, as Jesus says in three of the Gospels that a house divided against itself cannot stand, saying that if Satan could cast out himself from a person possessed by him, his kingdom could not stand.
  • Hypocrite: A kind of person Jesus really dislikes, especially religious hypocrites.
  • I Am Legion: A demon-possessed man named the trope, identifying himself by saying, "My name is Legion, for we are many." Presumably speaking in the Voice of the Legion.
  • I Am the Noun: Jesus uses this statement repeatedly throughout the gospel of John. "I am the resurrection and the life," "I am the true vine," "I am the bread from heaven," "I am the way, and the truth, and the life..."
  • I Have No Son!:
    • The dutiful son in the parable of the prodigal son in the gospel of Luke, when he complains about their father giving the prodigal son a welcome home party with the fattened calf slaughtered, refuses to even acknowledge that son as his brother in his complaint to the father, simply referring to him as "this son of yours who devoured your property with prostitutes."
    • Jesus during His earthly ministry disowns His mother and siblings when they come to talk to Him privately about something, with Jesus saying, "Anyone who does the will of My Father is My mother, sister, and brother." In the Gospel of John, during the wedding at Cana, when Jesus' mother informs Him that they ran out of wine, Jesus politely refers to her as "woman" instead of "mother". In the same gospel account, when He is hanging on the cross and sees His mother with "the disciple He loved", He tells His mother, "Woman, behold your son," and to the disciple, "Behold your mother," before they walk off together.
  • I Kiss Your Foot: The sinful woman in the gospel of Luke, who pays a visit to Jesus during a supper he has with a Pharisee, cries tears on His feet, wipes them clean with her hair, kisses the feet, and anoints them with oil. Jesus uses that to explain that those who are forgiven much will love much, while those who are forgiven little will love little. Jesus Himself goes to the trouble of washing His disciples' feet in the gospel of John, showing the example of humility that they must follow.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Jesus tells His followers in John chapter 6 that unless they "eat His flesh" and "drink His blood", they will have no life in Him. This was assumed to mean some form of cannibalism among the Jews, which caused many to walk away from Him. Catholic interpretations take this to mean transubstantiation, which is what was assumed to take place at the Last Supper when Jesus blessed the bread and the wine, saying "This is My body" and "This is the cup of the new covenant in My blood." Other groups take a more metaphorical interpretation, seeing the bread and cup as simply a reminder and memorial of Jesus's sacrifice.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: In at least the gospels of Matthew and Mark, as Jesus was nearing the time of His death, Jesus told His disciples that His soul felt sorrowful, even unto death, and that He needed to stop and pray.
  • Implausible Deniability: After Jesus' Resurrection, the Jewish leaders bribed the guards to say they were asleep and the disciples stole His body, but this alibi compromises them as it requires them to admit they were sleeping on the job (a very serious offense for soldiers). It also raises the obvious question of how they knew that the disciples stole the body if they were asleep when it happened.
  • Improbable Food Budget: In all four Gospels, Jesus is able to feed a few thousand people just out of a few loaves and fishes, and even have leftovers filling several baskets. One of His disciples even said it would take 200 denarii (or 200 full days' wages) in order to give that many people just a little something to eat.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Jesus is not only the son of God, but the only man who has never sinned a single time in his life. It is important to notice that while he never sinned, theologians and religious folk will point out that he faced every temptation known to man, but rejected all of them without using his godly powers, in order to set an example for mankind.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: The lame excuses offered by the invitees to the Great Banquet. Apparently, one bought land without seeing it, and another bought oxen without trying them out.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Pharisees often made such charges against Jesus, like, "He casts out demons by the prince of demons." Jesus points out the obvious contradiction of the accusation.
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: The "rip up the check" variation appears here, with Judas Iscariot throwing the 30 pieces of silver he was paid to betray Jesus back at the feet of the high priests before hanging himself in shame.
  • Inspiring Sermon: The Sermon on the Mount as delivered by Jesus Himself is the Ur-Example and Trope Codifier, well known even outside of Christian circles.
    Jesus: You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Whenever Jesus needs an example of a profession that everyone will instantly recognize as corrupt and sinful, he mentions... Prostitutes? Torturers?... Tax collectors. Justified, since in Ancient Rome tax collectors were pretty universally reviled for extorting money from their countrymen while being on the take.note  Also averted, in that some tax collectors such as Matthew and Zacchaeus are shown to be redeemed. Of course, that's kinda the point — if people as corrupt and reviled as tax collectors can be redeemed, there's hope for all.
  • Irrational Hatred:
    • Jesus claims this is true of his enemies' hatred for him. Considering how irrational you'd have to be to hate an All-Loving Hero, he clearly had a point.
      "But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: 'They hated me without a cause.'" (John 15:25)
    • In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, He says that being angry with your brother or sister "without a cause"note  makes you just as liable for judgment as if you murdered your brother or sister, and so you should make amends as soon as possible.
  • I Will Wait for You: A variation of this trope is found in the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew chapter 25, which is used as an allegory for waiting for the Lord's Second Coming. In the parable, all ten virgins were waiting to be brought into the Bridegroom's wedding feast; five were wise, and brought oil with their lamps, and five were foolish, bringing no oil with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all got drowsy and fell asleep, but in the middle of the night, when they heard, "Behold! The Bridegroom is coming!", they all trimmed their lamps, but the foolish virgins found that their lamps were going out and asked the wise virgins to lend them their oil. The wise virgins tell the foolish ones that there may not be enough for all ten of them if they did that, but that the foolish should go and buy oil for themselves. But while the foolish virgins went to buy oil, the Bridegroom came, took the wise virgins into the wedding feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the foolish virgins came and said, "Lord, Lord, let us in," and He said, "I tell you the truth, I do not know you." Jesus ends the parable by telling His followers to be watchful, for they do not know the day or hour of His coming.
  • Jacob Marley Warning: Invoked in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. After his death, the Rich Man in hell asks Abraham to send Lazarus back with warning to his surviving brothers so they can repent and avoid his fate. Abraham subverts the trope, however, explaining that if they didn't believe Moses and the prophets, they wouldn't believe a ghostly messenger either.
  • Jesus: The Early Years: Except for His birth and a brief (but important) story that takes place when He was twelve, the Gospels are pretty much silent on this; we just get a Time Skip to His early thirties when He took up the preaching gig. Speculation abounds. The most likely but boring explanation is that He just spent His time working for/with His dad, i.e. nothing exciting enough to write about. Indeed, the Gospels' lack of info on Jesus's childhood is probably why this trope exists in the first place.
  • Jesus Was Crazy
    • In Mark's gospel, some of Jesus's relatives try to stop him from preaching after hearing that "He is beside Himself." This along with accusations that he's exorcising through some demonic power prompt Jesus to ask how in the world a crazy man could drive out the Devil and why in the world would the Devil drive out himself. This specific blasphemy of attributing the Holy Spirit's work to Satan is labelled as unforgivable.
    • And as Jesus notes, they said similar things about His immediate predecessor:
      For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' note 
  • Jesus Was Way Cool:
    • In terms of how the Gospels themselves portray him, Played Straight. He survived an attempted stoning, and when he found out about the moneychangers' tables in the temple he sat down for a good hour and braided himself a whip which he then used to chase them out. He apparently kept it with him after that because he broke it out again later to do the exact same thing. He told a storm to shut the hell up because he was trying to sleep and it listened, brought multiple people back from the dead simply by asking then nicely (and sometimes not so nicely), cured a blind man with spit and dirt, and his mere presence was enough to cast out demons and cure mental illnesses. Not to mention the fact that most victims of crucifixion are tied to the cross, Jesus was nailed.
    • In terms of how cool people thought He was, Zig-Zagged, perhaps on account of being an Unbuilt Trope. There are many moments when people regard Jesus as totally awesome, but just as many moments when He's abandoned, misunderstood, and hated— sometimes by the very same people who thought He was so cool a few chapters before.
  • Jews Love to Argue: A large part of the action involves Jesus arguing with the Pharisees, or with His own disciples, about the right interpretation of the Laws of Moses. (Note that Jesus Himself was Jewish too, of course.)
  • Jumped at the Call: This happened with most of the apostles, because any Jewish person would've jumped at the chance of being a disciple to a rabbi. Jesus would simply say "Follow me," and they would drop everything they were doing and follow Him. Only the Gospel of Luke among the Synoptics has Peter hesitate to follow the call because he is a "sinful man". In the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, he just follows without comment.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Sandhedrin (high court of ancient Judea) that tries Jesus. Not only do the judges violate every single Jewish law governing trials, but they put on clearly perjured witnesses to convict him. The conduct of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who approves his death sentence (the Romans required it) also counts here, as even he acknowledges that no Roman (or Jewish) laws were broken by Jesus. Roman magistrates had the power to have non-Romans crucified at will, however, making the whole Roman "justice" system essentially this for them. Even trials of Roman citizens often went this way, as the magistrate was free to admit or ignore any evidence they pleased. Later on Paul, a Roman citizen, was given a trial, but the outcome was never in doubt. The only real privilege they had was that citizens could not be crucified. Thus in Acts, Paul is beheaded, while Peter gets crucified (upside down, as he doesn't want it to resemble Jesus' death).
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Devil tries to tempt Jesus into doing this, but he refuses and tells him off.
  • Kung-Fu Jesus: The moment in the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem. With a whip. That he made himself for that very purpose (meaning that it wasn't a moment of blind rage, but rather a very deliberate thing he put time and effort into while the Apostles watched him do it). It's worth emphasizing pacifists are not usually known for wandering into public meeting places with weapons to beat eight tons of crap out of everyone making a quick buck off of religion. He also flipped a table made of marble. Yet that is exactly what Jesus did.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: The last two chapter of John both end with a reminder that Jesus did much, much more than what's recorded, it's just that they only have so much space to record it all in and they need to focus on the essentials.
    "Now Jesus did many things in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His Name."
  • Lending a Backhand: When Jesus is thirsty while being crucified, someone holds a wet sponge up to his mouth... that turns out to be soaked with sour wine and gall. Understandably, he was unwilling to drink any more after one taste.
  • Let's Wait Awhile: In the gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary hold off on consummating the marriage with each other until after Jesus was born. In Catholic interpretations, though, Joseph keeps Mary a virgin even after the birth.
  • Lineage Comes from the Father: Played with with Jesus's lineage. Jewish society played this trope straight, so how could God have Jesus be both biological descendant and legal heir of King David when he has no biological human father? A popular interpretation is that the genealogy presented in Luke is actually through Mary (with the different fathers listed for Joseph being justified as Heli being his father-in-law), meaning both Joseph and Mary can claim to be descendants of the royal line of Judah, making Jesus both a biological descendant of the royal line via Mary and its legal heir via his adoptive father Joseph, who is a direct male descendant of the royal line.
  • Listing the Forms of Degenerates: In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, Jesus lists the things that come from within that would defile a man:
    "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness." (Mark 7:21-22, Modern English Version)
  • Liquid Assets:
    • In the gospels of Mark and Luke, Jesus' healing power worked by just a woman with uncontrollable bleeding touching the fringe of His garment, and Jesus sensed this happening even when He had a throng of people pressing toward Him, so the woman made herself known and what she did, and Jesus told her that her faith had saved her and to go in peace. In three of the four Gospels, there was a crowd of people who were healed just by touching the fringe of Jesus' garment.
    • There were a few instances where Jesus performed healings on people without necessarily being there to perform them. In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, a centurion had a servant at home who was ill who came to Jesus to ask for a healing, but said, "I am not worthy to have You come into my home, but say the word, and my servant will be healed." Jesus commended the centurion for his faith and thus granted his request. In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, a Canaanite/Syro-Phoenician woman came to Jesus and begged for Him to cast out a demon from her daughter. Jesus initially refused at first, saying, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not fitting to give the children's food to the dogs," but when the woman said, "True, Lord, but even the dogs will eat the crumbs off the children's table," Jesus commended her for her faith and thus granted her request. In the gospel of John, an official came to Jesus to ask for healing for his son, and was told by Jesus to return home because his son will live, and thus returned home to find that his son was healed at the same hour that Jesus spoke.
  • Long List: The gospel of Luke includes a very long list of Jesus' genealogy that reaches all the way back to Adam.
  • Love Redeems: Very, very much the theme of Jesus' teachings, as exemplified in John 3:16:
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
  • The Man Behind the Man: In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, when Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to Jerusalem to be crucified, Peter pulls Jesus aside and rebukes Him for making such a statement. Jesus in turn says, "Get behind Me, Satan. For you do not savor the things that be of God, but the things that be of men." Some Bible students interpret that as Jesus not speaking directly to Peter, but rather to the spirit that was using Peter to dissuade Jesus from His earthly mission.
  • Manly Tears:
    • "Jesus wept." This was in reaction to the death of his close friend, Lazarus.
    • Peter weeps bitterly after denying Jesus three times, just as Jesus had foretold.
  • Many Spirits Inside of One:
    • Jesus exorcises a demon-possessed man who identifies himself as "Legion, because we are many." If taken at face value that would indicate about a thousand demons. The demons are cast into a herd of swine, which they destroy.
    • Mary Magdalene, in one of the few definite statements about her in Scripture, is said to have have had seven demons cast out of her.
  • Mass Resurrection: In Matthew chapter 27, when Jesus died, the veil in the Temple was torn in two, the earth quaked, the rocks were split, the graves were opened, and the bodies of the saints arose and appeared unto many in Jerusalem, which caused those who witnessed these signs to exclaim, "Truly this was the Son of God!"
  • Matter Replicator: Jesus, who not only multiples loaves and fishes from a boy's lunch to feed a multitude of people, but also changes the chemical composition of water into wine to satisfy the people at a wedding in Cana of Galilee.
  • Meaningful Name: Jesus' Hebrew name, Yeshua, means "He saves". ("Jesus" is the Latin version.) A direct translation from Hebrew to Modern English would be "Joshua". We get "Jesus" through the Greek translation of the Hebrew to 'Iesous' (pronounced roughly "yayzous"), through the Greek to Latin 'Iesus', finally to the English 'Jesus' after English writers started converting Random I's to the newfangled J's.
  • Meaningful Rename: Jesus gives Simon the new name "Peter", which means "rock", because of his declaration that Jesus is the Messiah who will be the rock on which Jesus will build His church. (Which makes sense since God is constantly referred to by the Jews as "the Rock.") Or Peter himself as the rock, according to Catholic interpretations.
  • Meekness is Weakness: Jesus preached that the meek are blessed and said "I am meek and humble of heart." However, the "weakness" part is pretty thoroughly defied by Jesus' Badass Pacifist tendencies.
  • Messianic Archetype: At least the Trope Codifier if not the Trope Maker.
  • Miracle Food: The miracle of the loaves and fish that Jesus accomplished twice during His earthly ministry, as mentioned in the Gospels. In the Gospel of John, the mass feeding of a few thousand from a boy's lunch prompted them to ask for Jesus to give them the "true bread of heaven" (thinking He's going to reinstate the miracle of the manna from the Book of Exodus) so that they would never go hungry, and Jesus tells them, "I am the Bread of Heaven", which ends up turning a good deal of them away when they realize what that would entail.
  • Mistaken for Cheating:
    • Joseph not unnaturally assumes that Mary's virgin pregnancy is the result of her sleeping with another man, until the Archangel Gabriel appears to him in a dream and assures him that she is telling the truth.
    • Reading between the lines, Jesus' "uncertain" (to the rest of the world) parentage seems to be a matter of gossip well into his adulthood—when he goes to his hometown claiming to be The Chosen One, his old neighbors (depending on the gospel) refer to him as "Mary's son" but not Joseph's; the Pharisees once sneer that at least they know who their father is.
  • Mistaken for Undead: When Jesus' disciples saw Him walking on the water in a few of the Gospels, they freaked out and thought they were seeing a ghost until Jesus tells them, "It is I! Don't be afraid!"
  • The Mole: Jesus predicts several times that one of the Twelve will betray him. Judas Iscariot, after a Face–Heel Turn, stays among the Twelve until he can sell Jesus out.
  • Money Is Not Power: Jesus tells His disciples in three of the four gospels to forsake all they have and follow Him. "For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and yet loses his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36-37, Luke 9:25) In other words, there's nothing a man can give of all his worldly goods to God that can save his eternal soul from death.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-universe. Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:29, and Luke 12:10 mentions the "unforgivable sin" of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
  • Morton's Fork:
    • In three of the Gospels, after Jesus cleans out the Temple of the marketers and money-changers, the Jewish leaders ask who gave Him the authority to do such a thing. Jesus counters that by posing them a question that, if they answer, He will tell them by what authority He has to do what He did: "The baptism of John [the Baptist] — was it from heaven, or from men?" The Jewish leaders debate among themselves over what to answer, realizing that if they said "from heaven", then they would have to endure Jesus telling them "Then why didn't you believe him?", but if they answered "from men", they feared that they would be stoned, because the people believed that John the Baptist was a prophet. Realizing that either answer would get them screwed, the Jewish leaders decided to try Take a Third Option and just declare that they don't know. Jesus simply replied, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things."
    • Jesus Himself was presented with a few Morton's Fork situations Himself. In the Gospel of John, the teachers of the Law present him with a woman caught in adultery and says that the Law of Moses demanded that such women should be stoned. They expected him to answer either a yes or a no so they could find a way to accuse Himnote . Instead, Jesus answered, "Let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone at her." In three of the Gospels, some Herodians ask whether it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not for similar reasons, but after Jesus asks for a denarius and they say it has Caesar's face and inscription on it, Jesus answers, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God."
  • Mummy Wrap: In Luke chapter 2, the baby Jesus after He was born was wrapped in "swaddling clothes", which was most likely burial wrapping that travelers in the region of Israel were advised to carry in case someone in their caravan had died.
  • Musical Episode: Luke chapter 1 is chock full of moments where people just burst into song.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg:
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Not just Mary's conception of Jesus, which was through the Holy Spirit, but also Elizabeth's conception of John the Baptist at an age where she was past menopause and she and her husband Zachariah were too old to be parents.
  • Narrator All Along: The Gospel of John is written in a third-person omniscient voice, but at the end, the author confirms that the unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" was in fact the author of the Gospel.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown:
    • In Matthew, Jesus goes back to Nazareth, where he grew up. His frigid reception causes him to lampshade this trope. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." Things don't go so well, because, honestly, how seriously would you take your old neighbor if he suddenly showed up after years of living out of town, going on about how he's the son of God and the new age is at hand?
    • In the gospel of Luke, Jesus says this after He stands up in the synagogue in Nazareth to read Isaiah 61:1-2 (stopping short of adding "and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn") and then declares "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod: Matthew's account of Herod's attempted murder of the infant Messiah is the Trope Maker.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: John's gospel says that Satan entered into Judas to make him betray Jesus, leading to Jesus' death — which directly brought about the forgiveness of sins, the Resurrection, and the founding of the Christian faith.
  • No Ending: The shortest and earliest records of Mark's Gospel have Mary Madgalene, Mary, Mother of Jesus and the other Mary turn up to the cave where Jesus is interred only to find it re-opened and a man dressed in white telling them that Jesus is gone. The three Marys flee in fear...and that's it. No resurrection, no reappearance. Later manuscripts from the same period include twelve more verses, and this version is known as the "Longer Ending".
  • No Sympathy for Grudgeholders: Jesus states in Matthew 6:15 that God won't forgive those who aren't willing to forgive others.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: All Matthew says of the origin of the Magi is that they came "from the east", though the implication is that they're Zoroastrians from Persia.
  • Numerological Motif: Out of Jesus's many miracles, the Gospel of John focuses only on seven, the number of perfection.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: The Jews at the time of Jesus' first coming were looking for a leader that would liberate them from the Romans who had occupied their territory, and thought that Jesus would be that liberator when He made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding lowly on a donkey. (In fact, one of Jesus' apostles was Simon the Zealot, who wanted to get the Romans out.) Little did most of them know that Jesus didn't come for that purpose, but rather to die for the sins of the world and to liberate people from their sin. The only people who were for Roman rule of the Judean region were the chief priests, who saw Jesus as a threat to their power and feared that they would lose their position as well as their nation if all the Jews came to Jesus, and so decided that the only way they could save their nation was to have Jesus put to death, as recorded in the gospel of John.
  • Offered the Crown: Satan offered kingship of the nations to Jesus if He would bow down and worship Satan, but Jesus refused and told Satan to worship and serve the Lord God only. In the book of John, a group of people whom Jesus had fed with the miracle of loaves and fish wanted to make Jesus their king, but He refused that offer, which would have forced Him to lead the people in revolt against the Roman government, as that was not His purpose during His first advent.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: John 20:30. 'Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book.'
  • Off with His Head!: John the Baptist's fate was beheaded by King Herod Antipas when Herodias' daughter danced before the king and pleased him to the point where he promised to offer anything she asked for, even up to half the kingdom.
  • Oh, My Gods!:
    • In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says not to swear an oath at all, neither by heaven, "for it is God's throne", nor by earth, "for it is God's footstool", nor by Jerusalem, "for it is the city of the Great King", nor should you swear by your head, because you cannot make even one hair white or black, but simply let your Yes be Yes and your No be No, for anything more than these, He says, comes from evil.
    • Jesus at the end of the gospel of Matthew, after His resurrection, tells His disciples to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
  • Omniglot: One of the powers of true believers, according to Fanon, along with the ability to drink anything poisonous, exorcise demons, heal the sick, and for truest of true believers Nigh-Invulnerability against demons and evil spirits! A few American groups interpret the source for this one (speaking in tongues) to mean a language absolutely nobody on Earth understands. No one seems to know why.
  • The Omnipotent: Each of the synoptic Gospels makes note of the fact that for God, "all things are possible."
    • Mark 10 and Matthew 19 have Jesus's followers ask if getting to Heaven is truly as easy as fitting a camel through a needle, than how can anyone be saved? Jesus admits that it is impossible for humans to be saved, but that for God it is as possible as anything.
    • In Luke 1, the Archangel Gabriel explains the Virgin Mary's pregnancy by saying "nothing will be impossible for God."
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted.
    • Lots of people were named Jesus, hence him always being referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth". Tradition states that Barabbas, the man released in Jesus' place, was also named Jesusnote 
    • Among Jesus' disciples, there were two men named Jacob, two named Judas, and two named Simon (one had to be nicknamed "Peter"). On one occasion, John has to introduce dialogue by saying, "Judas, not Iscariot, said..."
      • "Judas who is not called Iscariot" is now known as St. Jude, patron of lost causes, because so few people would pray to him on account of the similarity.
      • What makes even less sense is that he was only called Judas in Luke and John, while Matthew and Mark call him Thaddeus. Why he's called St. Jude instead of St. Thaddeus, making Jesus' brother the only "Jude" (which would be far less confusing), is still a mystery. Some countries make a compromise by referring to him, in full, as "Judas Thaddeus".
    • The Book of John, written by John the Apostle, opens up by introducing another John, John the Baptist.
    • Also, depending how you count, there may be as many as four women (and definitely at least two) named Mary. There is the Blessed Mother of Jesus, the Magdalene who has seven demons exorcised from her, the sister of Lazarus and Martha of Bethany, and the mother of James the younger and Joses.
    • There are two kings called Herod—Herod the Great and Herod Antipas.
    • There are also three people named James: James the son of Zebedee and James the son of Alpheus are both apostles, and Jesus has a (half?) brother named James who later becomes a leader in the church.
  • Only the Pure of Heart: In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
  • Only the Worthy May Pass: In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says only those who do the will of God the Father are worthy to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
  • Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Subverted with Peter. He often speaks from the heart, such as when he calls Jesus God or when he tells Jesus he loves him. This bites him later when Jesus is condemned and Peter denies knowing him three times.
  • Otherworldly Communication Failure: Defied in the Gospel of Luke. An angel appears to a group of shepherds, scaring the hell out of them. As a consequence, the first words out of the angel's mouth are "Fear not!"
  • Pals with Jesus: The Twelve apostles and the other disciples following Jesus are his friends, and they are all regular human beings like the rest of us. This is emphasized in John's gospel, where the narrator refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved," which puts the reader in the shoes of the disciple.
    I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father.
  • Passion Play: Ur-Example, as the Gospels are the source for future tellings of the Passion of Christ. Each of the four Gospels gives an account of how Christ was betrayed by Judas, arrested by the Romans, tried by Pontius Pilate, sent to carry his cross to Golgotha, and crucified until he died alongside two thieves.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Inverted by Jesus, who tells people to Turn the Other Cheek, instead.
  • Phosphor-Essence: During the Transfiguration, Jesus appears to shine with light before Peter, James and John when they are on the mountain with him ("His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." - Matthew 17). At the same time, Moses and Elijah appear talking to Jesus, and a voice from the sky declares "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" (Mark 9), revealing Jesus' divine nature.
  • Playing with Fire: In the gospel of Luke, Jesus sent His disciples into a Samaritan village to get things ready for Him, but they did not receive Him as He was heading for Jerusalem. His disciples asked if He wanted them to command fire to come down on that village just like Elijah. Jesus rebuked them for making such a suggestion, saying, "You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them."note 
  • Pride:
    • Jesus deals with the issue of pride by saying "he who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted." As an example, He tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, who were both praying to God. The Pharisee proudly declares his "righteousness" before God in his prayer, even denouncing the tax collector who was right next to him, while the tax collector humbly beats his chest and says, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner"...and Jesus says that the tax collector went home justified before God rather than the Pharisee.
    • The dutiful son in the parable of the prodigal son also has a pride issue. He sees their father receive the prodigal son back into the fold by giving him a party with the fattened calf slaughtered, and he gets upset with the father, saying to the effect that he should have been rewarded in like fashion for obeying all his father's commands and not wasting his inheritance on prostitutes, going so far as to not even acknowledge his own brother in the process. The father says, "Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found."
    • Martha the sister of Mary also has a bit of a pride issue. When she invites Jesus into her home in the gospel of Luke, her sister Mary spends her time sitting at Jesus' feet listening to Him while Martha is distracted with getting things ready for a supper she was putting on for Him. Annoyed at her sister not doing anything to help while she was doing all the busywork, Martha bids the Lord to tell Mary to help her. The Lord tells her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed. And Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken from her."
    • The apostles themselves were dealing with pride as they were wondering who among them would be considered the greatest. Jesus tells them "Whoever would be great among you, let him serve you, and whoever would be first among you, let him be your slave, even as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:26-28) As an act of showing humility, Jesus even washed the feet of His disciples, telling them if that is what He has done for them, blessed are they if they do the same for others.
    • Peter himself had to deal with pride rearing its ugly head on a few occasions. In Matthew chapter 16, he gets an ego boost when he declares to Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and Jesus at that point gives him "the keys to the kingdom of heaven", then just shortly thereafter when Jesus says that He has to go to the cross and suffer and die, and Peter attempts to rebuke Him, Jesus says, "Get behind Me, Satan, for you do not savor the things of God, but the things of men." Later on, when Jesus predicts that His disciples will scatter from Him upon His arrest, and Peter boldly declares that he won't be like the others, Jesus says, "Tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times," and Peter again asserts his steadfastness. However, when Jesus' Words prove to be true, Peter was crushed in his inner being, and it was only after Jesus asked Peter three times "Do you love Me?" after His resurrection that Peter was restored.
  • Public Execution: Jesus' crucifixion alongside two criminals, as told in all four Gospels.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: In the gospel of Luke, an old man named Simeon was told by the Holy Spirit that he would not die until he had seen the Lord's Christ. The minute he saw Joseph and Mary bring the infant Jesus into the Temple to dedicate Him to the Lord, he took Jesus in his arms and said, "Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel." (Luke 2:29-32)
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Jesus asks the question in Matthew 16:26, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"
    • Judas Iscariot may have gotten a "tidy sum" of thirty pieces of silver for betraying Jesus, but according to Matthew, he was so overcome with guilt that he hanged himself. Apparently waiting to receive the inheritance that God promised to those who believe in Him through His Son, plus the honor his fellow apostles would have of sitting on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel, was not enough to persuade Judas from settling for a mere pittance of earthly treasure.
  • Quote Mine: Satan using a few verses in Psalm 91 in order to tempt Jesus from jumping off the high point of the Temple. He quotes it as "He shall give His angels charge over you," and, "In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone." When the actual verses are "For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone." Granted, this is only a translation of what was actually said, but still Jesus knew what Satan was trying to do there and counters with quoting Scripture accurately.
  • Quote-to-Quote Combat: In Luke 4 Satan tries to tempt Jesus into throwing himself from the highest point in the temple and quotes from the Psalms out of context and Quote Mined to suggest that God will prevent Jesus from falling to his death. Jesus shoots back with "you shall not tempt the Lord your God" from the book of Deuteronomy.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: When Jesus chooses his twelve Apostles, he doesn't pick scholars educated in religious law to help spread his message. (Well, actually, he does, when Paul is converted, but that doesn't happen until Acts.) Instead, he picks a tax collector, a terrorist, a thief (and eventual traitor) who steals from the disciples' treasury, and a handful of fishermen.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: There's a reason this page isn't called "The One Gospel." The four different versions of the story mostly serve to complement and expand on each other, though a few points are harder to reconcile. For example, the Synoptic Gospels do not all include the same events, nor do they record them in the same sequence. Among scholars, this is known as the "Harmony of the Gospels"; you can even buy editions of The Bible that lay out the four accounts side by side for easy comparison.
  • Rash Promise: Per Matthew, Mark, and Luke, King Herod was so enticed by the dancing girl Salome he told her to ask him for anything she wanted. The queen told Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter, which the king was particularly reluctant to give as he appreciated John's teachings. Nevertheless, he gave the order for the execution.
  • Rasputinian Death: Crucifixion is a horrible way to die, no doubt about it. It could take days before the victim died of blood loss, dehydration and exposure to the elements, which is why the victims' legs were broken on the day after to speed up the process note . When they go to do this to Jesus, though, they find he's already dead. (Note that he was also tortured severely for hours before being put on the cross and forced to carry the big heavy thing most of the way to the execution site.)
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Oh yes. Most of the disciples qualify, for a start.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Matthew 23 was this from Jesus against the Pharisees. To list off the things from that chapter that the Pharisees did that drew Jesus' ire:
    • In Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:41-46, He gives one to the goats to the left for not doing what He commands:
      "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: Matthew 16:3 has Jesus tell the Pharisees about how a red sky in the morning means that bad weather is coming when they ask Him for a sign from heaven to prove His authority.
  • Religious Russian Roulette: Satan tempts Jesus to prove His divinity by throwing Himself off the temple, since if He is really the Son of God then God would send angels to protect Him from harm. Jesus rebuts this attempt by quoting the Scripture that says, "You shall not put the Lord your God to the test."
  • Revised Ending: In the earliest manuscripts of Mark's gospel, the story ends abruptly after the women discover Jesus' empty tomb, "and they were greatly afraid." Later versions expand the story with more details about His post-resurrection appearances. Compare them here. Modern bibles tend to mark these extra verses off using italics or square brackets.
  • Rhymes on a Dime:
    • The rendering of Jesus' words in Mark 5:39 in the English Standard Version: "Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping."
    • The rendering of Matthew 11:17 in the International Standard Version: "A wedding song we played for you, the dance you all did scorn. A woeful dirge we chanted, too, but then you would not mourn."
  • Right Way/Wrong Way Pair: Many of the parables of Jesus take this form"
    • The wise man built his house on a rock foundation; the foolish man built on the sand. The Pharisee was arrogant and Holier Than Thou in his prayers, the Tax Collector was humble and repentant and got right with God. The wise virgins kept enough oil for their lamps; the foolish virgins ran out and missed the wedding party. The rich man made himself comfortable on earth and suffered in the afterlife; poor Lazarus suffered on earth and was comforted in the afterlife.
    • Subverted in the parable of the Prodigal Son: his foil The Dutiful Son did not make the same mistakes as his brother, but his self-righteousness and refusal to show grace demonstrate that he has his own moral problems to deal with.
  • Rule of Three: Peter's denials, and in the book of John, Jesus asking Peter if he loved Him. Though in the Greek, Jesus asked Peter two times if he agaped Him (loved Him with a godly love) and Peter answers that he phileod Him (loved Him as a brother), and it's on the third time that Jesus changes the question to "Simon, son of Jonah, do you phileo me?" — a distinction that most English translations of the Gospel of John miss.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, during Jesus' three temptations, Satan tempts Him with rulership of the entire world if He would bow down and worship Him, implying He could have all the wealth in the world. Jesus refuses and says, "Begone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.'"
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Zig-zagged of a sort when it comes to Jesus and His doing miracles on the Sabbath day. In pretty much everything pertaining to the Law of Moses, He was fully obedient to the Father. However, His declaration that "the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath" was what ruffled the feathers of the religious people, stating that He has the authority to do whatever He wants and set up new rules concerning the Sabbath as long as He is following the will of His Father in Heaven, since to Him "doing good is always lawful on the Sabbath."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew chapter 10 that if a city doesn't receive them or hear their words, then they should wipe the dust of their feet as they leave the city as a testimony against them, saying that it will be more tolerable for the city of Sodom in the day of judgment than for that city.
    • Jesus tells Jerusalem in Matthew 23:38-39, since He wanted to gather their children together like a hen with a brood of chicks and they were not willing: "Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see Me again until the day that you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
    • Most of Jesus' disciples pretty much forsook Him and fled when He was arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin and before Pontius Pilate to be judged and convicted, although Jesus did predict beforehand from Scripture that they would do this, and that Peter, as bold as he claimed to be of being with His Messiah even unto death, would deny Him three times. Of course, they would make up for this and more after the resurrection.
  • Scrubbing Off the Trauma: Pontius Pilate washes his hands after sentencing Jesus to death, to assuage his guilt. Church tradition claims that after he was exiled from his post, he spent his retirement ritually cleaning his hands in the snow over and over and over again.
  • Second Coming: Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21 cover prophecies that will happen leading up to the Lord's second coming "at the end of the age", including the desolation of Jerusalem (fulfilled in the 1st Century C.E., but also suggesting a future one to come) and the setting up of the "abomination of desolation" prophesied in the Book of Daniel. Matthew chapter 25 contains three parables related to the event: that of the ten virgins (or bridesmaids), that of the talents, and that of the "sheep and goats" judgment where the King will reward those who cared for "the least of My brethren" with entrance into the eternal Kingdom of God and sends away those who didn't care for "the least of My brethren" into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. It should be noted, however, that at the time Jesus spoke this, His disciples weren't expecting a second coming, but rather were expecting Him to set up the Kingdom of God here on earth during His time with them on earth.
  • Secret-Keeper: Jesus insists to the Apostles that witness him transfigurate into a heavenly form, flanked by Moses and Elijah, that they speak to no one about it until after Christ has risen from the dead.
  • See You in Hell: Inverted in the Gospel of Luke with one of the two criminals who was crucified with Jesus and who rebuked the other one for mocking Jesus.
    Criminal: Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.
    Jesus: Amen, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Peter shows boldness when Jesus announces in the Last Supper he will be executed. Jesus answers him that he would deny him thrice. When Peter infiltrates into the Pharisees place after Jesus' arrest, to deny being Peter he denies knowing Jesus three times.
  • Self-Harm: In the gospel accounts of Mark and Luke, the man who is possessed by Legion would spend his night in the tombs crying and cutting himself with stones.
  • Serial Spouse: The Samaritan woman in John 4 had been married five times and was currently living with a boyfriend she wasn't married to. When Jesus knew about this without having been told, she took that as evidence He was a prophet.
  • Set the World on Fire: Jesus himself says in Luke 12:49, "I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" Whether this is metaphorical or not is uncertain.
  • Shameful Strip: Jesus is stripped of all His clothes before He is put on the cross (though in most depictions He is given a waistcloth to cover His male parts), which are then gambled off by the guards in fulfillment of Psalm 22:18: "They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots."
  • Shaming the Mob: Jesus does this in John chapter 8 to a group of Pharisees that wanted Jesus to pass a verdict on whether to stone a woman accused of adultery, by simply saying, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone." This made the crowd feel convicted by their conscience and made them turn away one by one, leaving Jesus and the accused woman standing alone with each other before He forgives her and lets her go by telling her to not sin anymore.
  • Showing Up Chauvinists: An in-universe Fridge Logic example: when Jesus visits Martha and Mary (the sisters of Lazarus) in The Four Gospels, Martha is annoyed that Mary doesn't help her with the cooking and instead sits and listens to Jesus's sermon. When Martha complains about this, Jesus tells Martha that she worries too much about minor matters, while paying attention to God's word is a lot more more important. Some theologians who analyze this part note that the fact of women learning religion just like men (or better than them, since it's a group of women, Martha and Mary among them, who get to be the first to know about the Resurrection and believe in it!) was quite a sensation in the 1st century AD-Middle East.
  • Shrug of God: In-Universe; Jesus warns against believing rumors that The End Is Nigh, because not even He as the Son of God knows when the end of the world is. Although certain Bible students would say that, by the time of Acts, when Jesus is ready to go back to heaven, He now knew when that time would be but refused to tell His disciples because it's all set under the authority of God the Father, and their focus was to be on the start of the Great Commission.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Jesus refuting all of Satan's temptations in the desert.
  • Signs of the End Times: In His Olivet Discourse in three of the four Gospels, Jesus lays out the signs that the end is near — namely: false prophets and false Christs performing signs and wonders that would, if possible, deceive the very elect; wars and rumors of wars; earthquakes, famines, and diseases; family members as well as people claiming to know Christ hating and betraying each other. However, the one sign Jesus points out that specifically indicates that the end is near is when the "abomination of desolation" spoken of in the Book of Daniel is set up in "the holy place of God", at which point the people of Judea are to flee to the mountains and wait there for the sign of the Son of Man to appear as well as for the Son of Man to appear in the clouds with His angels.
  • Sin Invites Possession: Matthew 12 43:45 suggests that a demon, once expelled, may return to the person it possessed:
    When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, "I will return to my house from which I came." And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.
    • Theologians and Christian thinkers have extrapolated from this that being the mere passive recipient of an exorcism is not enough: the subject needs, metaphorically, to install better locks on doors and windows and an adequate burglar alarm system (i.e. to accept the Christian message and actively reform their life so as to prevent re-occupation by demonic forces).
  • Sinister Minister: What Jesus warned His disciples against encountering in three of the four Gospels.
    Jesus: "Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the chief seats in the synagogues, and the chief places at feasts, who devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive surpassing condemnation." (Mark 12:38-40)
  • Skinny Dipping: Normally Middle Eastern fishermen of that time and era would strip themselves of their clothes when they are swimming in the water helping to gather fish. In John chapter 21, though, when Simon Peter and his friends go out fishing and later find Jesus at the shore telling them to cast their nets, and they end up catching a ton of fish, Peter puts his clothes back on before he dives into the water and swims to the shore to greet Jesus.
  • Slut-Shaming: A group of Pharisees in John chapter 8 bring to Jesus a woman accused of adultery and dare Him to suggest stoning her or something. Jesus turns the tables on them and shames the men by daring them to be without sin so that one of them can be the first to stone her. The men depart one by one until Jesus is left alone with the woman, when he tells her he does not condemn her and says "Go, and sin no more."
  • Smash the Symbol: Jesus tells His disciples that both Jerusalem and the Jewish temple will be destroyed. At His trial before the Jewish leaders, some of His accusers claim that He said that He will destroy the temple and build a new one without hands in three days.
  • Son of a Whore: Jesus is implicitly referred to as this in the gospel of John when a group of Jews said "we are not born of fornication" (their way of saying "born out of wedlock"). In the Living Bible translation, when the Jewish leaders continue to press the man healed of blindness to confess that Jesus is a sinner and the man refuses to do so, declaring Jesus to be of God, the Pharisees ended up calling him a bastard.
  • So Proud of You:
    • In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, the heavens opened, the Spirit came upon Him like a dove, and a Voice from Heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased." And also, "You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased." Later on at the Mount of Transfiguration, when Peter, James, and John see Jesus in His glorified form with Moses and Elijah, the same Voice said, "This is My Son, with whom I am pleased. Listen to Him!"
    • In the gospel of Matthew, in the Parable of the Talents, when two of the three servants who were given talents by their master came back and reported that they made double of what they were given, their master said, "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful in a few things, you shall be ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord." This is contrasted with the third servant who was given only one talent, but didn't do anything with it except bury it and then return it to his master, to whom his master says, "You wicked and slothful servant, why didn't you leave it with the bankers so that I could have received back my own with interest?"
  • The Soulsaver: Jesus dying on the cross saved the souls of all who believe in Him, both those who had died before Him like Abraham and people who came after Him. (Some interpretations have him literally going To Hell and Back to retrieve the righteous dead.)
  • Spell My Name with an S: The name "Jesus" is an Anglicized rendering of the Latin "Iesus", from the Greek "Iesous" in the oldest manuscripts, from an Aramaic original most often given as "Yeshua" (in turn a shortened form of the Hebrew "Yehoshua", i.e. "Joshua" in the Old Testament.)
  • The Speechless: Zechariah, father of John the Baptist, was unable to speak for a time because he did not believe the angel Gabriel when he said that he would have a son.
  • Spiteful Spit: The chief priests unto Jesus, then the soldiers that whipped Him and placed the crown of thorns on His head, and eventually the crowd that saw Jesus carrying His cross up to Golgotha, on the day leading to His crucifixion.
  • Star of Bethlehem: Matthew provides the Ur-Example. The Wise Men were following the Star from the East in order to find the prophesied Messiah until it rested over the house where Joseph and Mary were staying with the child Jesus, who at that time was probably two years old.
  • Stealing from the Till:
    • One of Judas' character flaws, brought up when he is among one of the disciples to complain when Mary the sister of Martha anoints Jesus, saying that the perfume could've been sold and the proceeds used to feed the poor...
    "He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it."
    • Jesus also used the Parable of the Shrewd Manager (in which an unethical housekeeper fired from his job for his dishonesty uses his own commission to pay off his soon-to-be-former master's debtors in order to have friends once he's unemployed) to illustrate that if godless heathens are willing to go to such lengths for temporary gains, then the disciples should be all the more wise when it comes to eternal glory.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Post resurrection, Jesus makes sudden appearances even in locked rooms, and then disappears just as suddenly.
  • Streaking: The Ur-Example may just come from Mark, where a young man wearing a sheet drops it when a guard tries to capture him and runs away in the buff.
  • Suddenly Significant City:
    • "'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'" (Matthew 2:6, citing Micah 5:2)
    • Also, Nazareth was just a tiny town of probably less than 500 people of dubious reputation until one former local started a movement that grew into one of the world's largest religions. When first told about a new prophet named Jesus of Nazareth, Nathanael scoffs, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" And the Pharisees themselves, when Nicodemus brings up what the Laws says about hearing out what men of God are saying before judging them, rebut his words by telling him to "search and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee".
  • Supernormal Bindings: Jesus' comment to Peter in the gospel of Matthew that "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" is often intepreted in Pentecostal circles as Jesus giving authority to believers to "bind" and "loose" spirits in this fashion. Also Jesus' comment, which is used to support this interpretation: “No one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house.” (Mark 3:27)
  • Symbolically Broken Object: At Jesus' death, the veil in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn in two, symbolically showing that man now had access to God through Jesus Christ instead of through the high priest.
  • Symbolic Baptism: After being baptized in water and in the Holy Spirit, Jesus in Luke 12:50 speaks of yet another baptism He has to undergo, and that He is distressed until it is accomplished.
  • Sympathy for the Hero: Many versions of Pontius Pilate's story show him having this for Jesus, and admitting that Jesus broke no Roman law.
  • Take a Third Option:
    • (Matthew 22) Are we answerable to God or to earthly powers such as the Romans? note  (John 7-8) Will Jesus say that a woman caught in the act of adultery should be stoned or not? note  Both times, the Pharisees were attempting a Morton's Fork, but Jesus succeeded in Cutting the Knot.
    • The Jewish leaders tried this tactic when Jesus presented them with a Morton's Fork question of His own — "The baptism of John [the Baptist] — was it from heaven, or was it from men?" — by simply answering that they don't know, but it doesn't work out for them, as Jesus refused to answer the question they posed on Him before that.
  • A Taste of the Lash:
    • Jesus makes a whip of cords and drives away the marketers and money-changers from the Temple with it.
    • Pilate has Jesus scourged before having him crucified.
  • Tears of Fear: In Jesus' Olivet Discourse: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30)
  • Temporary Blindness: John the Baptist's father Zachariah is given temporary muteness (and, as some might even point out, temporary deafness) when he questions Gabriel's announcement to him that his wife is going to have a baby. This condition is only lifted after the child is born and Zachariah's relatives ask him what the child will be named, and he writes on a writing tablet that his name is John.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Jesus' plan involved being tortured to death and taking all the sin in the world onto himself, going to Hell, kicking Satan's ass and taking his house key, and coming back to tell the tale (whew). It takes him three days.
  • They Just Don't Get It: Happened often with Jesus' disciples. At one point, Jesus even exclaimed in frustration, "Don't you understand even yet?" They didn't even get it after meeting the resurrected Jesus in person until He explained the Bible to them.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Jesus taught that any sin can be forgiven, with the one exception of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit." (This is most commonly understood as refusing to repent, or attributing the works of God to the Devil.)
    "Truly I tell you, all sins and blasphemies will be forgiven for the sons of men. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven, but is guilty of an eternal sin. He said this because they [the Pharisees] were saying, 'He has an evil spirit'." (Mark 3:28-30)
  • The Three Wise Men: They make their first appearance here, though Matthew doesn't specify that there were three exactly (that's a later tradition due to them bringing three gifts).
  • Thought Crime: In His Sermon On The Mount, Jesus says that not only is committing adultery sinful, so is even thinking of doing it when looking at somebody to lust after them.
  • Time Skip: The gospel of Matthew has two in the first few chapters, bringing the story from Jesus' birth to His baptism. The gospel of Luke skips from Jesus' birth to His appearance in the temple at age 12 and then skips again to His baptism.
  • Time-Travel Tense Trouble: In the Gospel of John, Jesus claims divinity by saying, "Before Abraham was, I am!" It seems that omnipresence involves just as much verb confusion as time travel does. (Jesus is also giving a Continuity Nod to the name of God revealed to Moses in the Old Testament, "I Am that I Am.")
  • To Be Lawful or Good:
    • The Rules Lawyer Pharisees frequently try to entrap Jesus with this dilemma. Jesus rebuts them by arguing that to do good is to follow what the Law intends.
    • The story of the woman caught in adultery follows this to the letter. Jesus is asked to choose between imposing the death penalty by stoning for adultery (which would challenge the laws of the Roman empire at the time) or showing mercy (which would violate the letter of the Law of Moses). Instead, Jesus replied, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone!" This shames the mob and they leave defeated.
    • On another occasion, Jesus is presented with the chance to heal a man on the Sabbath, which they believed would violate the Laws of Moses.note  Jesus countered, "It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath!" and proceeds to heal the man right in front of them. They don't take this very well at all. In modern times, Judaism also accepts this idea, saying no law takes precedence over human life.
    • Mainstream Christianity's interpretation of The Bible as a whole can be summed up as humanity giving God such a choice by allowing evil into their hearts: the lawful option is to Kill All Humans, but that's against God's loving nature. The good option is to simply forgive them, but that's against God's just nature. God's solution? Become human, absorb the punishment for their evil into Himself, and then forgive humans, justice and love both fulfilled.
  • Toilet Seat Divorce: In Matthew chapter 19, the Pharisees question Jesus if it was lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason (which in their minds mean for any trivial thing a wife would do that might displease a husband, such as poor cooking). Jesus takes them back to Genesis to remind them that "what God has yoked together" as "one flesh", a man should not separate, and it was through the hardness of their hearts that Moses gave them the precept for writing a certificate of divorce. He goes on to say, as He had said earlier in His Sermon on the Mount, that a man who divorces his wife for any reason except for marital infidelity only to marry another woman commits adultery, and that a man who marries a divorced wife commits adultery.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: In a few instances, Jesus riled up a mob of people angry enough to want to kill Him. In the gospel of Luke, after He told the people of Nazareth about prophets of God that were sent not to the Israelites but to those outside Israel and did miracles for them instead, the people wanted to throw Him off a cliff, but He instead walked right through the crowd and escaped. In the gospel of John, after declaring Himself to be the I Am, a group of people went to pick up stones to cast at Him, but He also escaped. A similar related incident at the time of the Feast of Dedication a little later in the book also occurred, with a similar outcome.
  • Torment by Annoyance: Jesus uses the parable of the persistent widow who keeps bothering an unjust judge to give her justice from her adversary in the gospel of Luke — the judge who eventually gave in to her demand just to keep her from bothering him — as a lesson for believers to never give up when praying to God, assuring them that God will avenge them speedily. Another parable He uses to make that same point is a person shamelessly knocking on his neighbor's door at night to give him some bread that he can set before his guests to eat, saying that the neighbor won't give him what he wants just because he is his friend, but simply to get his neighbor to stop disturbing him and his family.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: According to Mark, Luke and Matthew, a period of darkness occurred during Jesus' crucifixion, lasting from noon to 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Of the three evangelists that mention the three-hour darkness, Luke is the only one who seems to imagine it as an eclipse ("the sun's light failed"), whereas Mark and Matthew only say that "darkness fell over all the land" (or possibly, "the entire world"). Solar eclipses generally last a few minutes (as opposed to hours), and also the Gospels say that Jesus was crucified on the first day of Passover, which is held at full moon when solar eclipses cannot occur.
  • Trash the Set
    • A lucrative business of changing "unclean" foreign currency to "proper" Temple shekels and selling animals "acceptable" for sacrifice had sprung up in the Court of Gentiles (and it was very likely that the priests were in on this business, so guess what they always said was unacceptable?). Jesus was having none of it because Jewish people who wanted to worship God were being gouged and Gentiles who wanted to worship God had to put up with the noise and smell of a marketplace. So he turned the money changers' tables over and drove out both the animals and unscrupulous businessmen. Then he sat down to teach.
    • Jesus in the Olivet Discourse predicts the destruction of the Temple, which in extra-Biblical accounts took place in 70 AD.
  • Troll: Satan tries to use his tactics that worked on Adam and Eve on Jesus. Not only does it not work but he gets chewed out by Jesus.
  • Turn the Other Cheek: Trope Namer. From the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person. But whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other as well. And if anyone sues you in a court of law and takes away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go a mile, go with him two." (Matthew 5:38-41) Jesus advocates responding to personal aggression and violence with non-violence instead of returning evil for evil.
  • Two First Names: John Mark and Simon Peter. Although Simon Peter was originally Simon bar-Jonah (or Simon son-of-Jonah). Jesus later gave him the name Peter, which means "rock". He then went by Simon Peter before just sticking with Peter.
  • Uncleanliness Is Next to Ungodliness:
    • In the gospels of Matthew and Mark, the Pharisees find fault with Jesus and His disciples for not washing their hands before they eat, with the gospel of Mark going into explaining why the Pharisees do this, and ask Him, "Why do Your disciples transgress against the tradition of the elders?" Jesus in turn asks them, "Why do you transgress against the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?" and tells them about one of their traditions that goes against the commandment of God, namely the Corban tradition that goes against "honor your father and your mother." He goes on to say that eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man, for food only goes into a man's stomach and then into the sewer, "thus purging all foods," but rather what comes out of a man's heart is what defiles him. He also likens them to people who clean the outside of a cup, but leaving the inside dirty, and to whitewashed tombs, in both cases accusing them of trying to put on outside appearances of cleanliness while not reforming their inner selves.
    • In the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10, the priest and the Levite as they see the wounded man on the road pass by on the other side, presumably to keep themselves from being defiled by touching what seemed to be a dead body.
    • The woman with the uncontrollable bleeding for twelve years was in a bind, as the book of Leviticus states that a woman who has bleeding long past the time of her usual period was considered "unclean" and thus could not enter into the sanctuary of God until her bleeding stopped. As she spent all her money on being cured of this problem, but only made it worse, she in desperation reached out to touch the hem of Jesus' garment, and instantly her bleeding stopped. Jesus turned to address the woman that touched Him, and told her to go in peace and be healed.
  • Underdressed for the Occasion: The parable of the wedding guests in Matthew 22:1-14 has the host of the wedding gather as many people off the streets as his servants can, both good and bad, so he can fill the house with guests to replace the ones that refused and were found unworthy of attending. However, as the host of the wedding inspects the guests, he finds one who isn't wearing a wedding garment and asks how he managed to get in without one. The guest is rendered speechless. The host of the wedding then says to his servants, "Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Jesus ends the parable with "For many are called, but few are chosen."
  • The Underworld: Hades and Gehenna (most commonly referred to as Hell with hardly any distinction in most English translations) are mentioned by Jesus as places that the wicked and unbelieving will go to, with Hades being the grave and Gehenna (based on the Valley of Ben Hinnom, which at that time was considered Unholy Ground) being where "the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:44,46,48, quoting Isaiah 66:24).
  • Unexpected Kindness: The Samaritan woman is very amazed when Jesus politely asks her for a drink of water and then talks to her (with strictness but kindly), as the Jews and the Samaritans are at that point violent arch-enemies.
  • Ungrateful Bastards:
    • Jesus healed ten lepers, and only one of them, a Samaritan, bothered to thank Him.
    • Jesus also told the parable of a man who, after having his debts forgiven by his master, went after and bullied a fellow servant who owed him a mere pittance in comparison.
    • Jesus' parable of the two debtors who were forgiven their debts by the moneylender, told in the gospel of Luke to Simon the Pharisee in regard to a sinful woman visiting Him during a dinner, shows that the level of gratitude shown to God for His forgiveness is dependent on how much one has been forgiven of their sins: that whoever loves much is one who is forgiven of much, while whoever loves little is one who is forgiven of little.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The Parable of the Talents ends with the famous Matthew Effect: "For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath."
  • Urban Legend: Discussed Trope In-Universe.
    • Rumors were flying all over the place about Jesus' true identity, whether he be Elijah, a new prophet, or something else, and only Peter gets it right by calling him the Son of Man.
    • In the Gospel of John the author dismisses a rumor that "the disciple Jesus loved" wouldn't die—no, Jesus only said "if I wanted him to live until I came, what's that to you?"
  • Villain Protagonist: The title character in the Parable of the Unrighteous Steward is a crooked accountant who, on finding out that he is due to be fired, uses creative bookkeeping to swindle his boss and get into good graces with future employers. (Alternately, it can be interpreted as the steward removing the markup on what his master's clients owed the master — the cut that the steward would get from being the middleman in the transaction — by reducing the debt to what they actually owed the master.) The Aesop is that if even a sleazeball like this guy knows how to be shrewd with money, how much more should we be wise about things with eternal value.
  • Walk on Water: Jesus did this on the Sea of Galilee, when His disciples went ahead of Him and He went alone on a mountain to pray and then later joined them. When the disciples were struggling with the waves on the sea, they were frightened at first to see Jesus just casually walking on top of the water like it was nothing and thought it was a ghost, until Jesus tells them that it is He and to not be afraid. In the gospel of Matthew, Peter gets out of the boat when Jesus calls him and so briefly walks on the water until he takes his eyes off Jesus and starts to sink. Jesus reaches out and pulls Peter up, saying, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Jesus speaks about this attitude to His followers in Luke 17:7-10:
    “Which of you, having a servant plowing or herding sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come now and sit down for dinner’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare my supper, and dress yourself and serve me until I eat and drink. And afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? I think not. So you also, when you have done everything commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done our duty.’”
  • Watering Down: In the gospel of John, during the wedding at Cana, they run out of wine, and Jesus has the servants fill up six twenty- to thirty-gallon jars with water, which, when they draw out some for the master of the feast to taste, becomes real wine. Amazed, he calls the groom and tells him, “Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now.” (John 2:10) Which meant that the standard practice was to water down the wine so the party guests wouldn't figure out what exactly they were drinking.
  • We Can Rule Together: Occurs quite famously in both Matthew and Luke, where Satan tempts Jesus with control over the entire Earth. Jesus' choice is fairly obvious. This has interesting theological implications: Jesus rejects the offer, but never implies that Satan couldn't deliver. Therefore, Satan apparently has some degree of authority over the kingdoms of Earth. In fact, John 12:31 describes Satan as the "ruler of this world."
  • Weeding Out Imperfections: In the Parable of the Tares, Jesus tells a story about a man who sowed wheat seed in his field, but an enemy came in the night and planted weeds. When the man's servants learned what had happened, they offered to pull out the weeds, but the man refused as the weeds and wheat look similar and thus the servants might accidentally pull out the wheat as well. He thus orders the men to leave both types of plants to grow together, and when the harvest time comes they will separate the wheat from the weeds and take one for harvest and another to be burned. When Jesus's disciples ask for an explanation, he explains that this is a metaphor for the coexistence of good and evil people in the world and the judgment that will come at the end of time.
  • Weirdness Censor: In John 12, a voice speaks from heaven, and many people in the crowd think it's just thunder.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jesus' stepfather Joseph, who appears in the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke, but is hardly heard from beyond that other than just other characters mentioning his name.
    • In the account of the Woman Caught in Adultery, an important detail is not mentioned. In Leviticus, the Mosaic law specifically states that a couple caught in the act of adultery (in other words, actually having sex) were to be stoned. They obviously would have had to have seen the man and yet did not drag him out in front of Jesus as well. It's not known if the Pharisees were covering for him or if he escaped their clutches. Archbishop Fulton Sheen, in a meditation on the Gospel Reading he made for Life is Worth Living even surmises the man was amongst the mob that was going to stone the woman to death.
  • What Is Evil?: In the gospel of John, when Pilate asks Jesus if He is a king, and Jesus answers in the affirmative, adding "For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice," Pilate responds only with "What is truth?"
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Jesus encourages His followers to invoke this if other followers do something wrong in Luke 17:3:
    Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him.
  • Who Will Bell the Cat?: The story of Jesus with the woman caught in adultery in John chapter 8 is a perfect example. The Jewish leaders who brought the woman to Him wanted Him to pass judgment on her so they could have something to accuse Him of. Instead, Jesus says to them, "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone." Realizing that none of them qualify as being "the one who is without sin", they all left one by one, leaving Jesus alone with the woman, who is then let go and told not to sin anymore.
  • With Us or Against Us:
    • Jesus states in passages such as Matthew 12:30 and Luke 11:23 that if you're not for Him, then you're against Him. In other words, neutrality in Him doesn't exist, and the person will either accept Him as savior or not.
    • Inverted in Mark 9:38-41 and Luke 9:49-50, where the disciples wanted to stop another exorcist from casting out demons because he was not following them, but Jesus chastised them, saying "Whoever is not against us is for us."
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Jesus warns His followers in His Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew to beware of false prophets "who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves." He also warns in His parable of the wheat and tares that the tares (agriculturally, a type of weed that resembles wheat called darnel) are "the sons of the devil" that are sown among the wheat, which will be bundled up and burned by the angels who will reap the fields at the end of the age.
  • Words Can Break My Bones:
    • Jesus' Words can do a lot of things: calm storms, bring healing to people, cast out demons, even knock people on their butts at one point. In John chapter 18, when Judas Iscariot came with the Temple guards to arrest Jesus, Jesus asked, "Whom are you seeking?", and the guards answered, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus responded with, "I am He" (or more literally, just "I AM"), which, when He said that, caused Judas and the guards to fall to the ground. Jesus tells His disciples that if they have faith even as small as a mustard seed, they could go tell a mountain to remove itself, and it would obey them.
    • Jesus Himself is referred to by John as the Wordnote . John says that the Word existed before everything, the Word was with God, the Word was God, and that everything was created through the Word. This Word is Jesus, who has the Name above all other namesnote . So, words can't just break your bones, words (the Word, Jesus) created your bones.
  • Working-Class Hero: Jesus is the only major religious figure who is explicitly defined as either a carpenter/itinerant laborer challenging the more aristocratic gods of classical religions and the more intellectual scholar-based tradition of Jewish priests. He also identified with the outcasts of society (the vagabonds, the prostitutes) and affirmed that rich people have a hard time getting to heaven and his only significant violent action was removing the money changers from the temple. His Apostles are also largely workers, especially Peter, who meets Jesus after coming back from a fishing job.
  • Wrongfully Attributed: In the gospel of Matthew, for some strange reason, a quote from Zechariah was attributed by the author to Jeremiah (possibly thinking of the passage where Jeremiah bought a field from his cousin Hanamel, being prophetic to Judas Iscariot's money being used by the priests to buy the potter's field):
    Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of that the sons of Israel set on Him, and gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord appointed me.” (Matthew 27:9-10, actually quoting from Zechariah 11:12-13)
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: Implied in the Matthew and Mark accounts with Herodias' daughter dancing before her stepfather Herod Antipas and his associates on his birthday, making him so pleased that he would give her anything she asked for, up to half his kingdom. She takes the opportunity to ask for what her mother wanted: John the Baptist's head on a platter. Herod felt sorry that she asked for that, but nevertheless gave her what she wanted.
  • You Fool!: Jesus warns in His Sermon On The Mount that calling somebody a "fool" out of malicious anger would make that person likely to be punished with hellfire.note 
  • You Never Did That for Me:
    • Happens at the end of the parable of The Prodigal Son, where the brother who didn't leave home and waste all his money wonders why he doesn't get a fatted calf.
    • Also in the latter half of the Parable of the Sheep and Goats, the King (implied to be Jesus) says to those who are doomed to destruction in the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels, "Whatsoever you didn't do for the least of My brethren, you didn't do for Me."
  • Your Days Are Numbered: In Jesus' parable of the rich foolish farmer in the Gospel of Luke, in which the farmer who has a bountiful crop thinks he has all the time in the world to enjoy what he has, only to be told by God, "You fool, tonight your soul will be required of you. Then whose will those things be which you have provided for yourself?"

Alternative Title(s): The Gospels, Gospel Of Matthew, Gospel Of Luke, Gospel Of Mark, Gospel Of John