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JESUS THE MASTER TEACHER
The ministry of Jesus is described as essentially one of teaching. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom..." (Matt. 4:23). At the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount" the people were "astonished at His teaching" (Matt. 7:28). Nicodemus acknowledged Jesus to be a "teacher come from God..." (John 3:2). Jesus was often called "Rabbi" meaning "teacher" (Mk. 9:5; 11:21; John 1:49).The mandate to edify the church (Eph. 4:11ff.) implies the use of some kind of method. A method is a system or way of doing something. When it comes to teaching the Bible, what method is to be used? Is it possible that more than one method may be used effectively? May we consider the teaching methods that Jesus used and adapt them to whatever class we might be assigned to teach.
Some Methods Jesus Used
- Used a child to teach attitudes (Matt. 18:1-4).
- Washed the apostles feet to teach humble service (John 13).
- Displayed tribute money to teach a lesson on responsibility (Matt 22: 15f.).
- Parables -- stories of life.
- Purpose: to conceal the truth from the insincere and to reveal the truth to the sincere seeker (Mtt. 13:36; Mk. 4:10).
- R.C. Foster observed that Jesus' teaching "in parables was a sifting process by which Jesus prevented the violent, worldly, or curious elements in the throngs about Him from becoming so dominant that they would try to take control of His campaign or that they would prevent His maintaining a spiritual atmosphere" (Studies in the Life of Christ, pp.559,560).
Question and Answer Method (154 questions).
- The Sermon on the Mount is a discourse or lecture.
- His speech to the Scribes & Pharisees (Mtt. 23).
- Teaching on the judgment (Matt. 25).
The Discussion Method:
- "Who do men say that I am (Mtt. 16:13ff.).
- "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?" (Mat 20:22).
- He silenced the Pharisees with: "The baptism of John; where was it from? From heaven or from men?"(Mat 21:25).
Without doubt, Jesus is the master teacher. He used various methods in teaching others the valuable lessons regarding the Way of life. May we learn from him and go and do likewise.
- Nicodemus (John 3).
- Samaritan Woman (John 4).
- Rich Ruler (Lk. 18:18).
Drawing Men to God
How are sinners converted to Christ? Jesus said, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me" (John 6:44-45). This is not some kind of irresistible force exercised by God upon the sinner to compel discipleship. The text tells exactly how God accomplishes the drawing: "they shall all be taught of God."
Indeed, the prophets taught that in the days of the New Covenant men would receive teaching from God prior to their becoming His children (Isa. 54:13; Jer. 31:31-35). Those who accept God's word, the gospel, come to Jesus. Thus, God calls all in the same way, i.e. through the word. Paul was thankful to God for the conversion of those in Thessalonica "through sanctification of the spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 2:13-14). Those who teach that God calls some but not all by some irresistible, direct working of the Holy Spirit greatly err. Such an irresistible and arbitrary drawing makes God partial and unjust. Peter affirmed that God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34).
Truly, the word of God is a sufficient instrument. It is powerful and will accomplish His purpose (Isa 55:11). The power of God's word is seen in the creation of the world, the stilling of the storm and the resurrection of the dead. How can anyone be so presumptuous as to suppose sinners may be won to Christ by any other means? All the drama, musical programs, sports and entertainment put together cannot compare to the all-sufficient word of God. "It pleased God through the message preached to save those who believe" (1 Cor. 1:21).
The Book of Acts demonstrates that not a single person was ever converted who had not first heard the word of God. The inescapable conclusion is that all who are converted are converted by the word of God. John taught that those who "believe on his name" through hearing God's word, are given the "power to become children of God" (John 1:12). It is not through some additional and mysterious working of God that men are drawn to Christ. This concept makes God and not the sinner responsible for whether or not he accepts Christ. God has given His word to all for the purpose of bringing them to the Lord. Thus, Paul affirmed that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).
God does not force any to come to Christ. Those who do come to Christ are drawn by the power of the word. In view of this fact, how important it is that we faithfully teach and preach God's word! Let us give our very best effort to make our teaching program the best it can be to the end that souls may be won to Christ.
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