Sabbath, May 18, 2013
“Christ was the greatest teacher the world has ever known. He came to this earth to shed abroad the bright beams of truth, that men might gain a fitness for heaven. ‘For this cause came I into the world,’ He declared, ‘that I should bear witness unto the truth.’ John 18:37. He came to reveal the character of the Father, that men might be led to worship Him in spirit and in truth.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 259.
The divine Teacher’s childhood
1. From whom did Jesus, the divine Teacher, receive His education?
Luke 2:51, 52 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
“The child Jesus did not receive instruction in the synagogue schools. His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother’s knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis. He needed not the education to be obtained from such sources; for God was His instructor….
“Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God’s word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God’s created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 70.
2. To what book did Jesus refer as being true and authoritative? What did He often use in His teaching?
Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 10:26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
Matthew 13:34, 35 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
“Beginning at Moses, the very Alpha of Bible history, Christ expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself….
“Thus the gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 796, 233.
“The Great Teacher brought His hearers in contact with nature, that they might listen to the voice which speaks in all created things; and as their hearts became tender and their minds receptive, He helped them to interpret the spiritual teaching of the scenes upon which their eyes rested. The parables, by means of which He loved to teach lessons of truth, show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature and how He delighted to gather the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of daily life.” –Education, p. 102.
3. Did Jesus teach only during meetings, or did He take advantage of many different opportunities? What was the objective of the divine Teacher?
Mark 2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.
John 4:7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.
Luke 10:38, 39 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
Matthew 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
“Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 151.
“In Him was found the perfect ideal.
“To reveal this ideal as the only true standard for attainment; to show what every human being might become; what, through the indwelling of humanity by divinity, all who received Him would become–for this, Christ came to the world. He came to show how men are to be trained as befits the sons of God; how on earth they are to practice the principles and to live the life of heaven.” –Education, pp. 73, 74.
4. What can be said about His teaching? What was His double key to success as a Teacher?
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 15:10, last part … Even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.
John 13:15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
“In His teaching were embraced the things of time and the things of eternity–things seen, in their relation to things unseen, the passing incidents of common life and the solemn issues of the life to come.
“The things of this life He placed in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that Heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares man better to perform the duties of daily life….
“He who seeks to transform humanity must himself understand humanity. Only through sympathy, faith, and love can men be reached and uplifted. Here Christ stands revealed as the master teacher; of all that ever dwelt on the earth, He alone has perfect understanding of the human soul….
“What He taught, He lived…. Thus in His life, Christ’s words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His own character. Not only did He teach the truth, but He was the truth. It was this that gave His teaching, power.” –Education, pp. 82, 78, 79.
The true Rabbi
5. What did Jesus instruct His followers to do to avoid attracting attention to themselves?
Matthew 23:7, 8 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
“‘But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ.’…
“He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honor indicating his control of their conscience or their faith.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 613.
6. Who were frequently in Jesus’ audience? How did His listeners often react?
Mark 12:37, last part … And the common people heard him gladly.
John 7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
Matthew 7:28, 29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
“He spoke not only for, but to, all mankind. To the little child, in the gladness of life’s morning; to the eager, restless heart of youth; to men in the strength of their years, bearing the burden of responsibility and care; to the aged in their weakness and weariness–to all, His message was spoken–to every child of humanity, in every land and in every age.” –Education, p. 82.
“Of Christ’s teaching it is said, ‘The common people heard Him gladly.’ Mark 12:37. ‘Never man spake like this Man’ (John 7:46), declared the officers who were sent to take Him. His words comforted, strengthened, and blessed those who were longing for the peace that He alone could give. There was in His words that which lifted His hearers to a high plane of thought and action.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 260.
7. Although the multitude were amazed by Jesus’ teaching, how did some react, and why?
John 7:14-17 Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.
“On the first day of His presence at the feast, the rulers had come to Him, demanding by what authority He taught. They wished to divert attention from Him to the question of His right to teach, and thus to their own importance and authority.
“‘My teaching is not Mine,’ said Jesus, ‘but His that sent Me. If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ John 7:16, 17, R.V. The question of these cavilers Jesus met, not by answering the cavil, but by opening up truth vital to the salvation of the soul. The perception and appreciation of truth, He said, depends less upon the mind than upon the heart.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 455.
“The teaching of Christ was the expression of an inwrought conviction and experience, and those who learn of Him become teachers after the divine order. The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality. When one has received the truth in the love of it, he will make this manifest in the persuasion of his manner and the tones of his voice. He makes known that which he himself has heard, seen, and handled of the word of life, that others may have fellowship with him through the knowledge of Christ. His testimony, from lips touched with a live coal from off the altar, is truth to the receptive heart, and works sanctification upon the character.
“And he who seeks to give light to others will himself be blessed.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 142.
For personal study
- 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
“It was by personal contact and association that Jesus trained His disciples. Sometimes He taught them, sitting among them on the mountainside; sometimes beside the sea, or walking with them by the way, He revealed the mysteries of the kingdom of God. He did not sermonize as men do today. Wherever hearts were open to receive the divine message, He unfolded the truths of the way of salvation.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 152.
“Christ always used simple language, yet His words tested the knowledge of deep, unprejudiced thinkers…. Thus Christ addressed the crowds that pressed and thronged about Him; and all, learned and unlearned, were able to comprehend His lessons….
“He had come to seek and to save the lost, and He would not permit Himself to be turned from His object. He revealed truths that had been buried under the rubbish of error, and He freed them from the exactions and traditions of men, and bade them stand fast forever. He rescued truth from its obscurity, and set it in its proper framework, that it might shine with its original luster. What wonder that crowds followed in the footsteps of the Lord and gave Him homage as they listened to His words!” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, pp. 261, 29.