I want you to think about your favourite teacher. Why are they your favourite? Where they good at teaching you a particular subject or skill? Were they funny? What is a math teacher’s favourite season? Summer! Q: How is an English teacher like a judge? A: They both give out sentences. Did they have great discipline? Did they lead through example? As somebody who has been in the teaching profession for almost twelve years, I have used many teaching methods. Let me tell of someone who is arguably the best teacher that has ever walked the planet. Yes, his name is Jesus. Of the 90 times that Jesus was directly addressed in the gospels, Jesus was addressed as teacher 60 times. Even Jesus in John 13:13 said “You call me teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am”. And in John 3:2 when Nicodemus who was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews and a teacher in Israel came to Jesus he said to him “we know that you are a teacher who has come from God”
1. Jesus was a teacher who taught with compassion and put people first. Jesus was a teacher who taught us how to love.
In verses 13-16, the disciples were not very welcoming. Some parents brought their children to Jesus, but the disciples were selfish and wanted Jesus to be with a select few. Upon hearing this Jesus was angry, indignant, displeased with them for not welcoming the children. Jesus welcomed everyone, from the very young to the old, from the weak and diseased to the powerful. This is a lesson that we can all learn – as a body of Christ we should be welcoming to everybody, not just our favourites but all. Not only should we be welcoming all people into a church service or event but we should be welcoming people into the kingdom of God wherever we are. Jesus’s teaching certainly managed to draw in the crowds. Remember when Jesus heard that his cousin John the Baptist had been beheaded in Matthew 14 he went to withdraw but the crowds followed him, he had compassion on them, healed their sick and then when they were hungry he fed them, all five thousand men plus the women and children with only five loaves and two fish.
2. Jesus was a teacher who taught who taught with power, authority and purpose.
I love the story in Luke chapter 2, when Jesus was teaching the teachers in the temple courts at the age of twelve and they were amazed at his understanding and the answers that he gave. Even his parents were amazed.
3. Jesus was a teacher who taught us how to talk to father.
Remember the Lord’s Prayer that we will all say later. Jesus taught this wonderful method on how we should pray and talk to God the father. This prayer is based on six principles – honour the God of creation, Asking God’s kingdom to come to earth, asking God to provide all of our needs, asking that we will be forgiven as we forgive others, lead us away from temptation, whilst protecting us from evil
4. Jesus was a teacher who challenged.
When I taught science I would give my students a set of instructions to follow, and I would then demonstrate the correct technique. They would carry out the full experiment. My job as a teacher was not only to educate, giving my students their desired qualification but to get them ready for work and being what many people would class as the “real world”. I was getting them ready to help them get on with others the best that they could and guide them in how best to relate to one another. That reminds me the teacher asked “What is the formula for water?” The student said “H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O”. To which the teacher replied that’s not what I taught you. To which the student replied that the formula for water was…H to O. There is a big push at present for apprentices. Apprenticeships are when people learn on the job, gain experience and qualifications at the same time. The basic layout of an apprenticeship is: I do -you watch; I do – you help; you do – I help; you do – I watch. We are Jesus’s apprentices. We are all on a journey of watching, learning and doing things together. We need to read the gospels to discover what Jesus did and learn from him.
There was a teacher I followed in the college the other week and I overheard a conversation with a student. He said “if you do as I say, you won’t go far wrong”. This reminded me of when Jesus said “if you love me you will obey my teaching”.
When the rich man asked Jesus about him being good, was this a reference to Jesus being God, because Jesus said that only God is good, or is the rich man admiring Jesus’s teaching and how he lived a good life? But Jesus turns his thinking around in verse 18 where he brings the attention back onto Father God himself. One thing I had a reputation for as being a teacher was that when somebody asked me a question I replied back in the form of a question which got people thinking but it would have been quicker if I had just given them the answer in the first place. Here Jesus is asking questions. In verse 19, Jesus quotes 6 of the Ten Commandments to the rich man. Why only six? These six commands were inscribed on the second table of the law and these addressed ones civil obligations that are how to live with one another and behave towards one another, whereas the first table addressed our obligation to worship the one true God. Jesus was allowing the rich man to evaluate his own performance in relation to God’s standard. Jesus’s answer was full of compassion because in verse 20 and 21, the rich man said that he has obeyed these since he was a boy. How many of us can truly say that. But Jesus knew one thing about the rich man and that was that he loved his riches more than he loved God. Do we love our money, our material possessions and our lifestyle more than God? For Jesus says in verse 21 “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Did you know that there are seventeen verses in the Bible both in the Old Testament and the New that relate to tithing – where 10% of income we give back to God. Although giving a percentage whatever it may be to God is a good spiritual discipline, Jesus is taking it to a whole new dimension. To many people in this room when we became a Christian we were enthusiastic about giving our lives to Jesus. When I first gave my life to Jesus when I was a teenager if somebody had asked me who knows and loves God, I would have said yes; who wants to worship God with all of their lives, I would have said yes; If they were to ask me who loves Jesus more than their family, I would have thought of my sister, even though I love her dearly, I would have said yes. And, if they had said who wants to give their whole lives to God, I would have said yes and if they had said who wants Jesus to be the Lord of their lives, I would have said Yes. And if they said who wants Jesus to be lord over their finances, I would have asked them if it was a hypothetical question or whether they were asking me to do something that was real and costly? This is what Jesus was asking the rich man. Will you give it all up for him? Who is your god? What is number one in your heart? Jesus wants all of us; he wants all of you. He does not want us to have idols that replace the true God, whether it is our money, our car, our house, our friends, celebrities, computers, phones or whatever it may be. For all of these are temporary, they all have a limited life expectancy and limited joy. But Jesus is the ultimate joy giver. What we do for Jesus will last for eternity. For where our treasure is, that is where our heart will be.
Jesus’s final command in Matthew 28 was a teaching command “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”. So let us go out into the world wherever God has called us whether it is in our own home or further afield. May we obey all that Jesus has taught us no matter how tough. May we have a passion to learn more about Jesus through reading the scriptures, to tell people about Jesus and all that he has done for us and then we will see His Kingdom grow. Amen.