What Jesus taught
So what is it about the teachings of Jesus that people like so much?
Jesus had a great deal to teach about life and how it should be lived. Jesus was keen for people to understand that life is not just preparation for death but that life is important for itself. He was also keen to help us understand that although our life is very important it is not more important than anyone else's life (not even if you were rich, famous or powerful).
Love plays a central role in the teachings of Jesus. He taught that love should be unconditional and freely given. He even taught that we should love people who treat us badly. Some people mistakingly believe that love is the soft way for those who are weak but this is far from the case. The love that Jesus talks about will cost him his own life.
Jesus taught respect for others regardless of race or gender. He taught that the relationship between a man and a woman in love is important enough that marriage is the best way to express it. He taught that people are more important than things.
I have read in Plato and Cicero sayings that are very wise and very beautiful; but I never read in either of them: "Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden". - Augustine
Jesus was very keen on forgiveness. He wanted us to understand the forgiveness of God and to show that forgiveness to others.
Jesus got very upset with those who abused religion, especially those who did so for their own gain. He taught that religion is not for the leaders but for people. Sadly even his own followers have failed him at times on this very point.
Jesus wanted to help us understand God as a loving and forgiving father.
Kingdom of God
Jesus taught that the kingdom of God (more on this later in the session on Jesus the King) was being established on earth. He demonstrated this by performing miracles that showed God was beating evil e.g. healing and driving out demons. Whatever we think today about the miracles it is very clear from the historical accounts that the people at the time believed Jesus was performing great miracles.
Fundamentally, our Lord's message was Himself. He did not come merely to preach a Gospel; He himself is that Gospel. He did not come merely to give bread; He said, "I am the bread." He did not come merely to shed light; He said, "I am the light." He did not come merely to show the door; He said, "I am the door." He did not come merely to name a shepherd; He said, "I am the shepherd." He did not come merely to point the way; He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." -J. Sidlow Baxter