You may be familiar with the argument that we don’t know what Jesus said because His sayings were written down after the event.
I came across it recently when people were discussing how to live a good life. Jesus was mentioned as an example, but not as the answer.
When various aspects of His life were used as good examples, I contributed: “That sounds like Jesus is showing us the way.” “Showing us the way, but not the Way,” said one person.
I asked: “How does this fit in with His saying, ‘I am the Way’?” Another person responded: “Ah, but did he? That was written down three hundred years later.”
The odd thing is that people think that this is an answer. Rather it is a response, but it is no answer at all. Leaving aside the time-frame, I said: “But this is not an answer. Just because someone wrote it down afterwards does not answer the question. The question is still there. Did Jesus say it?” So a third person suggested: “We just don’t know.” Again, this is a response, but it is not an answer. The facts are that we have more evidence that He said it than that He did not say it. So why do people not believe the only evidence we have? Because they do not want to. They have become their own standard of orthodoxy; the judgment of their own reason is their standard of credibility. They do not want to believe the Bible, even if it is the only evidence that we have, because they do not believe that God has given us Scripture.
This scepticism of the Bible is part of the modern problem. People will pick the parts of the Bible that they like about Jesus, and doubt the rest. Jesus’ own attitude to written Scripture was 1. that it cannot be broken; 2. that every jot and tittle will be fulfilled; 3. that if people will not believe it, they will not be persuaded supposing someone was to rise from the dead, pointing to the source of the problem being in themselves. The sceptic will question whether Jesus said these things, because they do not believe that there is such a thing as Scripture in the biblical sense of the term. There are many more sayings of Jesus to question. Eventually, this pick and mix attitude has to give at some point, and the question sceptics have to answer is why they believe the exact opposite of what is written? The usual response is because it was written a long time after the event. This is a response, but not an answer. The real reason is their own unbelief, based upon their own faulty reasoning.
Jesus put it like this: “if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me?” John 8:46.