"AND SO IT WAS, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Matthew 7:28–29).
I sometimes like to think of myself as a teacher. James warned against pride in being a teacher because of the awesome responsibility: "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment" (James 3:1).
Another reason no teacher should go beyond justifiable satisfaction in the work which he does is the fact that none of us can ever reach the level of perfection and achievement that Jesus, the Great Master Teacher, did. All of us who try to teach (Bible classes, sermons, etc.) have those whom we imitate: those we especially loved as persons, those who especially taught or encouraged us, of those who excited us with their style or message. But all of us should remember Christ as our Great Teacher and imitate Him above all others.
First, we should rememberHis personal character. Jesus was the perfect teacher because he practiced perfectly what He taught (Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:21; Hebrews 5:8–9; Luke 23:4, 14; Matthew 27:4). Jesus was the perfect teacher because He had perfect knowledge of His students. He never formally studied psychology in school. He did not need to do so. He knew perfectly the thoughts, acts, and motives of every person He taught (John 2:25). Jesus was the perfect teacher because He had perfect love for His students. He did not teach for money, worldly fame or position, the favor of men, or any mundane motive. He taught because He loved the souls of those who needed His message.
Second, we should rememberHis sense of purpose and mission in teaching. Jesus was the perfect teacher because of His reasons for teaching: He came to teach men about God (John 17:3; John 1:18) and He came to teach men about Truth (John 14:6; Luke 19:10). He never compromised the truths of His academic discipline. To have done so would have been to fail His students. He was not abusive or unkind. He even sympathized with the failings of His students; but if the truth hurt, even then He had to speak truth. Jesus was the perfect teacher because of the outreach of His vision. What He taught, He commissioned His apostles to teach to the entire world (Matthew 28:18; Mark 16:15). And Jesus was the perfect teacher because of the authority with which He spoke (Matthew 7:28–29). He did not refer His students to text books or other religious teachers. He was His own original source.
Third, we should rememberthe clarity and effectiveness of His teaching methods. Jesus was the perfect teacher because of His wonderful illustrations. He is especially remembered for applying known truths about physical things to that which is spiritual. He used agriculture, business practices, economic theory, homemaking, real estate practices, human interests, psychology, children’s activities, etc. Jesus was the perfect teacher because of His wonderful questions. In one sense, He came to settle men’s minds; but in another, the came to unsettle them. He asked questions to make people think and open the way to the lessons they should learn. Even the children understood His teachings while the religious leaders were being challenged by them.
And fourth, and perhaps most important, we should rememberthe content of Jesus’ teaching. Jesus was the perfect teacher because He had perfect knowledge of His subject matter. He had been with God and He had been with man. Jesus was the perfect teacher because He set forth a perfect moral standard in His teaching. He went behind the act of murder, to hatred; behind adultery, to lust. Jesus was the perfect teacher because He conditioned all right action upon faith in and love for God … and then love for one’s neighbor. Jesus was the perfect teacher because He provided for them the perfect answers for salvation out of which they could anticipate the perfect hope. Christ, the perfect teacher, is Christ, the Son of God? How can men possibly reject Him?
- Caldwell, C. G. ". (1989). His Teaching. In B. Lewis (Ed.),Christianity Magazine: December 1989, Volume 6, Number 12 (B. Lewis, Ed.) (15). Jacksonville, FL: Christianity Magazine.
By Colly Caldwell
From Expository Files 21.11; November 2014