Jesus, the Good Teacher

Reading the gospels, I see how much Jesus loves to teach. The way He teaches others, and speaks to them shows so much of His character! Here are some things I notice about the way Jesus teaches:

  • He asks a lot of questions
  • He is really interested in people’s stories
  • He backs up His words with actions
  • He allows for testing of faith
  • He loves God and He loves people!

I see two main domains of Jesus’ teaching. One was a public ministry – He spoke to large groups of people, taught them and performed miracles. The other was more personal, often one-to-one and targeted towards a particular person’s walk of faith.

Jesus knew people well. He was there when the world was created. He knew the purpose and plan He had for every one and He desired to give people life to the fullest. Jesus is God and He gives knowledge of the Father so that we can have access to His fullness and His life. As Matthew 11:27 says,

“All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”

In Mark 10:18, Jesus asks a thought-provoking question to a young man who asks how he can inherit eternal life and calls Jesus “Good Teacher”. Jesus says, “Why do you call Me good? No-one is good but One, that is, God.” He then speaks to the young man about the commandments of God, all of which the young man professes to keep. Verse 21 says,

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

IMG_4841Jesus looked at the young man, knew Him, and loved Him. Jesus listened to the young man’s question, saw his heart, understood his situation, and spoke with him. First, Jesus asked a question of His own. If only God is good, and if Jesus is good, then Jesus is God. Jesus affirms who He is as the omnipotent God. He understands the struggle the young man will face, but He loves him and shows him the answer he is looking for. The young man goes away sorrowful because of his great possessions, but we do not know what happens later, or what decision the young man makes in the end. With a few words, Jesus imparts life-changing revelation.

Jesus never hides who He is, and never hides His salvation.

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” [John 1:4-5]

He simply meets us where we are, and shows us who He is. Many times in the Bible, Jesus answers a question posed to Him with a question of His own, or with a parable. While He spoke plainly about who He was and what He came to do, Jesus also gave room for people to make their own decisions. Loving God requires choice, and Jesus allowed people to make their own choice. Yet, at the same time He passionately loved them. He passionately loves us.

“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” [1 John 4:9]

IMG_4845Listen to some of the questions Jesus asks. He allows us to search out, understand and discover the mysteries of God. How exciting and marvelous it is to receive revelation, and find the treasure of knowing God! Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” [Proverbs 20:4] And, as Jesus himself says in Mark 4:10 – To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables.”

  • Jesus perceives the thoughts of the scribes after He forgives a paralytic man of His sins – Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’ – He said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.’” [Mark 2:8-10] The man is healed and Jesus’ words are affirmed by His miracle.
  • When asked why His disciples do not fast according to tradition, Jesus replies, Can the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.” [Mark 2:19-20]
  • The Pharisees ask Jesus why His disciples are working, plucking grain to eat on the Sabbath and Jesus says, Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him: how he went into the house of God in the days of Abithar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?Jesus reminds them that “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.” [Mark 2:23-27]
  • “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” [Mark 3:4] Jesus heals the man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.
  • “How can Satan cast out Satan?” [Mark 3:23] Jesus responds to accusations that the ruler of demons had taken residence in His body, thus allowing him to cast out other demons.
  • “Who is My mother, or My brothers?” [Mark 3:33] Jesus emphasises fellowship and unity in the body, the church.
  • “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?” [Mark 4:21]
  • When the Pharisees ask if it lawful for a man to divorce his wife, Jesus says, “What did Moses command you?” [Mark 10:3]

I am going to stop here, but there are so many more questions Jesus poses. Each one makes us think, explore and discover something about God’s nature, and purposes. As we just read the questions above, we can also see how Jesus really identifies with and speaks with people. He uses examples which are familiar to people so that they can reflect on these themselves. He demonstrates what He says, gives examples from the scriptures, and uses imagery that the even the uneducated can understand.

IMG_4847I am now in my second year out of medschool and I am much more aware of the teaching opportunities and responsibilities I have in the workplace. People are still teaching me, but I also have a role in teaching others. Some teachers in the workplace have been amazing and I have wanted to emulate their example. The aim of all this teaching is to produce competent doctors and cultivate excellence in patient care. This also causes me to take a look at how I teach and disciple others. As I grow in my own faith, I want to be aware of the people and opportunities God places around me. The Great Commission is about teaching others what Jesus teaches us – it starts with salvation, and it leads into the fullness of life that Jesus has prepared for every person to experience.

Here are some questions I want to ask myself as I go about my daily life:

  • Am I loving God, and loving others?
  • Are my actions and way of life reflecting the faith I proclaim?
  • Am I pointing to Christ, or pointing to self?
  • Who am I discipling?

“Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age…” [Matthew 28:19-20]

(Link to the second musical segment in “Genesis to Revelation” – Apple:

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