John 6:45 (NIV) It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.’
It’s almost the summer holidays! Those of us who have been teaching children at home, or are teachers themselves will know the relief of putting down the pencils for a few weeks. But most have us have taught in some form or another – it might be teaching others how to do a job at work, helping someone take up a new hobby or bringing kids up.
There is a difference between teaching (when knowledge is imparted) and learning (that soaking up of knowledge). And it’s the cavern between the two that leads to frustration on both sides! I remember being really pleased when Charlotte picked up her times table but I will also never forget the weary face of my Dad after he spent an afternoon teaching me how to tell the time!
A friend of mine told me that she has changed her prayers from ‘Lord teach me’ to ‘Lord help me learn’ because she felt she was being the taught the same thing repeatedly but wasn’t learning from it!
Jesus is an amazing teacher.
‘No-one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards declared. John 7:46
He taught in ways people could understand – he told parables about everyday things – that he is like a good shepherd tending his flock (John 10), that we should build our house on rock (Matthew 7), that seeds should be sown in fertile soil (Matthew 13). These were everyday things that people then and now could relate to and they were memorable. I just had to write a couple of words and your mind played through the whole parable didn’t it?
Jesus was a carpenter by profession and yet he taught at the temples.
‘The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?”
Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do Gods will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. John 7:16-28 (NIV)
He taught them with wisdom. He taught well and when Pharisees tried again and again to trip him up with theology he answered with integrity and made them look foolish. They could find no reason to persecute him.
When they brought an adulterous woman he taught them ‘Of any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her‘ (John 8) and they all left in shame.
He taught directly by the way he lived his life. A faultless life which drew people to him, Jesus didn’t just have 12 disciples, he had 72 disciples (Luke 10:1) spreading the word and healing the sick. And his teaching drew in the crowds – we know He fed 5000 people (6 full Eden Courts!) His teaching was infectious.
He taught with authority and told his disciples and others of what would happen in the future – that Peter would deny him (John 13:31.) He explains his coming death ‘now the prince of the world will be driven out. But I when I am lifted up from, the earth will draw all men to myself’ (John 12:21-33). He needed to teach these things so that people could look back and see he had prophesied his death and resurrection.
We can learn so much from Jesus life – the way he lived it and what he taught. We are supposed to read the Bible, meet with Christians and talk about the Bible, listen to ministers and drink up all the knowledge we can. And once we have it we can be teachers ourselves – in how we conduct ourselves, in telling others about God, in teaching each other what we have learnt from the Bible.
Thank you for sending your Son to die for us and to teach us in a way we can understand. Thank you for the accessibility of the Bible and the simple truth of the parables. Lord, as I understand what I am being taught, please show me how to pass it on to others,