We must also ask why is the Sermon only in Matthew with a sprinkle of Beautitudes in Luke? Seems the best answer is that the author of Matthew and Luke were doing their best to give Jesus something great to say. But the message in the Sermon is so very common that it gives away a very human, non-divine authorship. How about some remarks regarding germ theory and why people get sick? How about pointing out the benefits of clean teeth and a low salt, vegetarian diet? How about discussing that there's nothing to be afraid of regarding lightning? How about teaching sign language? The Sermon is indeed more of the same as anything else Jesus allegedly teaches. I suspect it is because there never was anything incredible from Jesus. Only authors trying their hardest.
There are estimated to have been dozens of other gospels that are now lost to history. And maybe these hold the great speeches and details of great impressions. But if so, why didn't the Christian community preserve them? It appears there was nothing significant to warrant preservation. Wouldn't all the words of Jesus have been as carefully preserved as Muslims have with the words of Muhammad in the Hadith?
On the contrary, we do have the Gospel of Thomas which is a collection of one-hundred-and-fourteen quotes allegedly from Jesus. No context is given, just quotes. You would think that all the great stuff would be here, right? Nope. Nothing at all in any of them is of any significance. More of the same as in the canonical gospels, more parables and quite frankly, nonsense. Certainly nothing an elder or group of people would be flocking to.
Gospel of Thomas quote number thirteen has Thomas being taken aside by Jesus and told something. And when he returns to the other disciples they asked what Jesus told him. And Thomas answered, “If I tell you one of the things which he told me, you will pick up stones and throw them at me; a fire will come out of the stones and burn you up." So here, again, more expectation that something great is being said but never put on display.
Here is another: Quote twenty in the Gospel of Thomas, the disciples said to Jesus, "Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like." Jesus said to them, "It is like a mustard seed. It is the smallest of all seeds. But when it falls on tilled soil, it produces a great plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky."
This is just pure and simple bullshit. This is the same type of language a sham of a psychic would use or Silvia Browne to act like they know something when they don't. It's an indication that the author has no clue at all and is hoping this mustard seed analogy will suffice. Quite frankly, Elvis Presley fans have preserved more, memorized more, quoted more and cherished more words from that legendary singer than anyone recalled from when Jesus allegedly lived and spoke. This should be an embarrassment among Christians but for some reason, it isn't. Asking us to accept the wisdom of Jesus with the material we have would be like asking us to accept how great Elvis was if he only released a few mediocre seven-inch singles yet we kept being told he had these great hits and stage performances and even a movie career, none of which we could see.
The unity of all the gospel authors having nothing, absolutely nothing to unpack about secret teachings or what these speeches were is an indicator there were none at all. If at least one or a few gospels reported on them, then missing detailed teachings in others would not be a big deal. But the fact that no one has anything at all to put on display suggests to me there never was any big astonishing teachings and that each gospel author used the same cheat of bad writing to tell us something great was going on when it wasn't.
It would be excusable if the hidden message was revealed at the end of the gospels, if all these things Jesus was teaching that wowed the audiences were put into the reader's lap at the end of the story. It would be understandable if the gospel authors teased us until the end. But it doesn't work out like that. We never know what Jesus says. The four canonical gospels end with Jesus' death, with the author hoping that in the end the astonishing and amazing teachings will be taken for granted.
I know what you might be thinking. Each gospel does reveal what the good news, what the message is. The end itself, the death and resurrection is it and so was revealed. I beg to differ. If Jesus went around astonishing audiences and elders with a story that his life was going to end with a death and resurrection, the author would have just written this. Besides, the first time in Mark Jesus tells his disciples about his forthcoming death and resurrection, he tells them in Mark 8:31-33 about it and tells them to keep it to themselves, don't tell anyone. So this is clearly not what he'd been teaching to the crowds. And in Mark 1:22, Jesus is said to have taught the crowds as one having authority and not as the scribes. So his teachings to the elders and high priests are something different than bragging he's about to pull the greatest magic trick in human history. I suspect, however, that if he was talking about his predicted death and resurrection, the audiences wouldn't have been amazed and astonished. They would have laughed him off and returned to their business. Unless we are to assume ancient audiences of priests and scribes were fools and easily swayed by a bunch of talk like this, the teachings about the coming resurrection don't make sense. So in place of missing great teachings and messages, the gospel authors direct us away with stories about curing illnesses which Jesus specifically told people not to talk about.
Which is interesting. In the beginning of Mark, Jesus at Mark 1:40-45, heals a leper and forbids him from telling what happened. But the former leper runs right out and is apparently so happy to be healed, he starts telling everyone. This happens numerous times, Jesus heals, forbids from telling anyone, and yet, it gets out causing Jesus no privacy.
So Jesus tells people not to describe their healing but concentrate on his teachings and yet, the gospels record numerous healings and never any detail at all about his teachings.
Can we garner from the pieces what the great, astonishing teachings were? Were they about the good news, the Kingdom of God, which is how the gospel of Mark starts with the reason Jesus shows up? Doubtful, as already addressed in Mark 4:10-12 Jesus didn't tell the masses about it. He told the disciples only. And what did he tell them about the Kingdom of God? In Mark 4:30-34, (and quote number twenty in the Gospel of Thomas) Jesus decides to tell what the Kingdom is like and the best he (the author of Mark) can say is that it's like a mustard seed and must be carefully attended to if it's going to grow proper.
What? Seriously? This, again, is a bunch of nothing. My writer hat has sprouted dozens of red flags that what we're dealing with is bad writing. The author couldn't think of anything to make his reader feel the power of something like the Kingdom of God so he cheats. He goes lazy and gives a silly parable that is meaningless. And then, to rub it in, Mark 4:33-34 the author says that Jesus only explains everything in private to his disciples and speaks in parables to everyone else. Again, more lazy in the shadows.
The bottom line is that if Jesus really had anything great to say, no one bothered to record it. And if it was ever recorded, no one bothered to preserve it. And if that's the case, I can only conclude that the life of Jesus and what he had to say isn't worth anything more than the stories of other mythical characters.