Learning to Teach from Jesus
Learning to Teach from Jesus
In 2 Timothy 4.2 Paul calls for Timothy to be ready to teach at all times in order to guide others to God's Truth. This call, and others like it, command us to go out and teach others but how should we do this? Thank God we have His own Son as an example to guide us in this endeavor.
Jesus Taught with...
Wisdom (Matthew 5)
In the beginning portions of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus references several commands from the Law of Moses. But unlike many of his day he taught the principle behind God’s commands. Many of the Jews had basically reduced the Law to a checklist they could follow. Jesus wanted people to teach so that others would appreciate and learn about God’s nature through the Law and that’s the way He taught. One of the phrases Jesus says throughout the gospels is, “Haven’t you read the scriptures?” Jesus expects people to learn and investigate the inspired word so they can grow closer to God. In Israel’s past they had also reduced the Law to a checklist– people sacrificed only to fulfill their obligation to God and then rushed off to serve idols. Jesus called for people to look deeper much like Micah 6.8 reminded Israel that their true requirements boiled down to doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with their God. In Jesus’ day, and every day, people fall into the trap of staying on the surface of the word. Jesus taught wisely so others would gain the wisdom to look deeper.
Courage (Mark 14)
Jesus spoke boldly to all, and unlike the Jewish leaders, His words and deeds were not hindered by fear of the crowds. The Pharisees feared people because they were worried about losing their influence, but Jesus courageously resolved to share the wisdom of God. Because of this resolution some people tried to kill him (Luke 4.29) and many of his disciples abandoned him (John 6.60). Jesus didn’t have this bravery because He was on the road to the cross, He had this bravery despite being on the road to the cross. While in the garden, Jesus is praying to the Father in anguish because he is weighed down by dread (Mark 14.34) but resolves to face the cross anyway. In the same way Jesus maintained the bravery to speak and act with Truth at all times– whether He faced hatred, ignorance, complacency, or any other kind of rejection.
Humility (Philippians 2)
Paul accurately describes the motivation of Jesus in his letter to the Philippians when says that Jesus became a servant who sacrificed Himself to complete humility. This means that Jesus never taught in order to crush others beneath his overwhelming wisdom– instead He was consistently patient and focused on others. It’s so easy for us to teach with the goal of justifying our own opinions and trying to humiliate other people but Jesus did not do this. He had all divine knowledge at His disposal, but He didn’t use this to uselessly berate people who were wrong– He didn’t have to prove anything to these people. God knew He spoke the truth. Jesus did not use the Truth as a crude club instead He held fast to patience so that He could teach others to find difficult Truths for themselves.
Love (Luke 7)
Reading through this chapter provides a beautiful picture of Jesus’ noble heart as He interacts with four very different people. Perhaps the most notable is Jesus' interaction with a sinful woman while at the house of Simon the Pharisee. Simon is appalled to see Jesus allowing himself to be touched by a sinner, but Jesus is willing to forgive her. Simon fails to show God’s love to the people most in need of it– sinners! The people the Pharisees despised were the people Jesus especially reached out to. He treated all people as if they were worthy of love even though no one was.
The Intention of Being Imitated and Obeyed (John 15)
Lastly, Jesus fully intended to be an example to others by what He said and did. He wanted people to show courage and wisdom as they learned to love like their God. Jesus taught with Love, Courage, and Wisdom so that people would obey Him and surrender their lives to God. In this chapter of John, Jesus describes some of what he expects of His followers. Those who imitate Jesus are like branches on a vine– nourished and sustained by their connection to the well-rooted plant when they love like He loves. The chapter ends with a warning about how the world will hate those who live like Jesus but how we ought to reach out and to lovingly teach despite this inevitable rejection by some.
Let’s pray that we answer this call.
Do not give offense to Jews or Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also try to please everyone in all things. I do not seek my own benefit, but the benefit of many, so that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. ~1 Corinthians 10.32-11.1