Jesus…The Master Teacher
I. The Mission of Jesus – The Master Teacher
II. The Manner of Jesus – The Master Teacher
III. The Training of Jesus – The Master Teacher
IV. The Methods of Jesus – The Master Teacher
V. The Words of Jesus – The Master Teacher
VI. The Love of Jesus – The Master Teacher
“…Rabbi, we know thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except God be with him” (John 3:2).
In studying the life and teachings of Jesus Christ I became interested and enthralled by not only his message but also His methods as He taught while on earth. It is interesting to me that Jesus was addressed as Rabbi, meaning teacher, sixty times in the Gospels. Let us sit at his feet and learn His methods. Let Him be our teacher and model as we attempt to become better teachers in the Kingdom of God. “If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus” (Ephesians 4:21).
The Bible reveals Jesus taught in Jerusalem, in Samaria and in Galilee. He taught on the mountain, in the deserts and on the sea, in houses and along the road. He taught in the synagogues and in the Temple. He taught early in the morning and late in the day. He taught the multitudes, the disciples and sometimes even to one person. Anywhere and everywhere He found interested and hungry souls. He taught them about life and God’s will on earth.
One of His primary roles on earth was to make us aware of God’s will by teaching the Kingdom of God. “And Jesus went about all Galilee teaching in their Synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom… “(Matthew 4:23).”And when he was set, his disciples came unto him and he opened his mouth and taught them… “(Matthew S:1-2). “And it came to pass, that as the people pressed upon him to hear the Word of God… he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship” (Luke 5:1-2). “And early in the morning he came again to the temple and all the people came unto him; and he sat down and taught them” (John 8:2).
Jesus never wasted any opportunity to teach. When they came to tell Him that His mother and brothers where outside waiting, He seized the opportunity to teach the disciples about God’s spiritual family (Matthew 12:47-50). On another occasion when the disciples had forgotten to buy bread, He taught them to “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees (Matthew 16:5 – 6).
Jesus was recognized as a teacher by not only His disciples but also His enemies. Even today the world, including atheists and agnostics, acknowledge Him to be one of the greatest teachers to have ever lived.
Nicodemus complimented Jesus by calling Him teacher. Nicodemus also recognized that He came from God. When God calls you to teach, you also are a teacher come from God. Recognize the source of your ministry and let Him be the source of your inspiration and encouragement. There will be a day when you will receive your reward.
I. The Mission of Jesus—the Master Teacher:
There was no doubt in the mind of Jesus as to why He came. He knew His mission and it always was formost in His mind. He said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” (John. 10:10). In His message in the synagogue He read Isaiah 61:1-2 and claimed this prophecy as applying to His ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord… This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:18-19).
Every great cause and organization must have a mission – a reason for existence. If the cause is to continue there needs to be also a keeper of the mission, one who keeps the mission alive and foremost within the organization. Jesus knew what His mission was on earth and He never deviated from it. Jesus is still alive today and He is still the keeper of the mission. His mission is still the same. It has never changed.
Every teacher must also know the reason they teach. Without a vision of the mission the teacher will soon get discouraged and turn back to that which will give immediate, yet transitory satisfaction.
II. The Manner of Jesus – The Master Teacher:
Jesus taught with authority. His presence commanded immediate attention and respect. In the teaching field it is referred to as the Locus of Control. This is the calm assurance which is projected to students that the teacher is in charge, and that the teacher does have an important message. The students also are given the assurance that the teacher is quite capable of teaching the lesson and it is in the students best interest to listen. “And when he was come into his own country he taught them in the Synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom and these mighty works?” (Matthew 13:S4). “And when the Sabbath Day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him… Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?” (Mark 6:2-6). “…And straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught, and they were astonished at his doctrine; for he taught them as one that had authority and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:21).
In order to teach with authority a teacher must not only know his subject but also the teacher must believe what he is teaching and that it is important to his students. To teach with authority a teacher must live what he is teaching. “We teach a little by what we say, more by what we do, but most by what we are” (Dr. Eavey). A teacher must: 1) know the way, 2) show the way, and 3) go the way.
The people saw the contrast between the teaching of Jesus and the way the Scribes taught – the ones who were very learned and were responsible for copying and preserving the Old Testament scriptures. The Scribes knew the scriptures as an academic exercise but failed to apply its spirit and truth to their own lives. Jesus, on the other hand, taught with power and conviction. He knew, loved and lived these truths because He was the author of these very scriptures.
Christians can also teach with authority and conviction as the Master Teacher lives within and is ministering through them. To teach with authority a Christian teacher must know Christ – the teacher’s subject, must believe Christ and His message and live Christ as their lifestyle.
III. The Training of Jesus—the Master Teacher:
Even though He was reared as a carpenter without any known formal theological education, Jesus had the inquisitive mind of a student and the desire to learn. When He was only twelve years old, His parents “…found him in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions, and all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers” (Luke 2:46). Since Jesus had not attended their religious training centers, the Jews were amazed at His knowledge. “And the Jews marveled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered thence and said, My doctrine is not mine but his that sent me” (John 7:15-16).
“And Jesus increased in wisdom and statue and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
Any Christian teacher who seeks to know his subject matter and wishes to teach it with authority will command the respect of not only man but will also please the Master Teacher. “Study to skew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).
IV. The Methods of Jesus – The Master Teacher:
The methods Jesus used in His teachings set standards that are still used today. Jesus understood the art of lesson design in order to not only gain and hold the interest of His students, but also to then effectively teach the concept. For example, to set the stage and to gain attention for a new lesson He might simply exclaim, “Hearken!”
He was a master of using common illustrations or visual imagery such as, “Behold, there went out a sower to sow” (Mark 4:3), in order to cement a concept in the minds of His students. He was the Master of descriptive words used metaphorically to explain and to illustrate His concepts. He used shepherds, hirelings, a door, salt, water, farming, eating, and a host of other familiar sights to teach the truths of faith, righteousness, judgment, and God’s will and blessing. He always moved from the known to the unknown, from the physical to the spiritual.
Jesus was a master of the story and the parable. He quickly and succinctly could unfold the events of an interesting story to reveal concepts about values in life, concepts of the kingdom of God, and knowledge about God’s love and grace. His stories always built interest in the areas He wanted to teach.
Jesus told His stories with purpose. He always had an objective, although the reason was not always readily discerned. When Jesus taught the parable of the sower, His disciples did not at first understand His objective. However, they knew that Jesus never told a story without a reason and a lesson to be learned. “…When he was alone they that where about him with the twelve asked him of the parable” (Mark 4:10). They knew He never told a story just to be telling stories. Jesus always had an objective for each and every lesson no matter how short and he never deviated from this objective.
He was able to increase the interest in those who were spiritually attuned – in those who wanted to learn and those willing to take the initiative to discover the meaning. For them Jesus took the time to explain the lesson.
Jesus was the Master of the questioning technique. He would often ask a question in order to set the stage for a lesson. Sometimes when He was asked a question He would answer using another question in order to make the person answer His own question.
Jesus was the Master at using visuals. He used common everyday objects in the lives of people to teach the truths of heaven. Jesus would use trees, rocks, storms, flowers and many things of nature. He used what was available. “Behold the fig tree and all of the trees” (Luke 21:24). “For as the lightening, that lighteneth out of one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the Son of Van be in his day” (Luke 17:24). By drawing the attention A His students to a field of lilies, he taught them the uselessness of care. “Consider the lilies of the field” (Mathew 6:28).
Jesus even took advantage of current events in order to each a point. “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with the sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-3).
Jesus was the Master of the art of argument and debate. He could turn a discussion or debate into an exposition of truth. When asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told a story in which one of the hated Samaritans was the hero in order to teach the concept of neighbor. When His enemies tried to place Him against the authority of the Romans over the issue of paying tribute, He said, “Show me a coin,” as an object lesson. “Whose inscription is on it? Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and unto God that which is God’s.” The coin provided the needed illustration between the authority of the government and our responsibility to God. No greater statement has ever been made on the subject of separation of church and state or on religious freedom.
Jesus knew how to rightly divide the Word of truth. His critics used a story of a woman who had many husbands but had given birth to no children as an argument against the teaching of the resurrection. When they did this, Jesus used scripture to shame the Sadducees into silence and force the Pharisees to agree with him. Even though He always came out ahead in these debates He withdrew many times rather than have conflict (Matthew 12:15).
V. The Words of Jesus – The Master Teacher:
Jesus astonished His hearers with His words. “Never a man spake like this man.” Jesus could say more with less words than any teacher before or since. He could capture an eternal truth in one sentence. “For where your treasure is there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28-29).
Jesus made every word count; they were His tools and He kept them sharp. The beauty of His words still stand today.
VII. The Love of Jesus – The Master Teacher:
Last but not least Jesus loved His students. “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd, And he began to teach many things” (Mark 7:34).
Every good teacher must have that element of love. The rich young ruler ran, and knelt before Jesus, and asked, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus looked at him and loved him before He even said one word. Then in love He gave him instructions, “One thing thou lackest” (Mark 10:17, 21).
He showed His love which caused Him to go through Samaria just to teach a sinful, yet spiritually thirsty woman at a well about spiritual water. Jesus showed His love to Zacchaeus by stopping at a sycamore tree; looking up, seeing him, and then inviting Himself to visit the home of this publican. “Make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5).
He went to where the discouraged Peter was fishing and cooked him breakfast. He went to where the doubting Thomas was hurting and said, “Reach hither thy hand and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand and thrust it into my side…” (John 20:27). A good teacher loves his students and proves it by going to where they are in order to reach out to them.
The apostle Paul reflected the spirit of a good teacher when he proclaimed to the Corinthian church, “Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (II Corinthians 12:14-15).
A good teacher also loves teaching enough to find out where each student is in relationship to the subject and then start there to bring him to the knowledge of the truth. The good teacher starts with the known and moves his students from the known to the unknown.
Jesus was the Master at gaining the attention of His students.
Jesus was the Master at holding their attention while He taught.
Jesus was the Master at teaching them on their level using their interest.
Jesus was the Master of the techniques which impress truths on the memory of His students.
Jesus was the Master at designing a lesson so it would flow from truth to truth.
Jesus was the Master in using visual imagery to support His lesson.
Jesus was the Master in moving from the known to the unknown; from the temporal to the spiritual in His teaching.
Jesus was the Master in using stories to support and teach a lesson.
Jesus was the Master of the questioning techniques while teaching.
If no teacher has taught until his students have learned – then Jesus is truly the Master since his students are still learning two thousand years after His resurrection.
Jesus was not only a great teacher – He is The Master Teacher.
He will be our model throughout this book.
“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (John 21:25).
The above article, “Jesus…The Master Teacher” is written by David Reynolds. It was excerpted from the first chapter of Reynold’s book, Teaching…as Jesus Taught.
The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.