Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Advent Day 23: Jesus Came to Teach Truth

[37] Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world
—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
 (John 18:37 ESV)

Just about everywhere Jesus went, he taught.  That's what he spent the vast majority of his public ministry doing.  He was a teacher.  Yes, he healed lots of people and even raised some from the dead. But, if we were to try and calculate the amount of time he spent on any given activity, it seems that teaching wins by a long-shot.

Mark 6:34 tells us that when Jesus came to the shore he saw a large crowd and, in that moment, his heart was filled with compassion for them.  He saw them as sheep without a shepherd.  How does he respond?  Verse 34 says that he began to teach them many things.  Jesus' compassion drove him to teach.

Jesus was passionate about teaching because he held the words of truth we all needed to hear.  In fact, in John 18 Jesus says, "for this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth" (John 18:37).  Once again, we see that there were a multitude of reasons Jesus came to dwell among us.  It wasn't just to die on the cross, but also to spend three years teaching truth.

And, he taught like no one else had ever taught before.  At the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, we're told, "And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes" (Matthew 7:28-29).  His teaching wasn't dependent on any outside source.  He is the truth, therefore he doesn't need to footnote his sources.  He is the authority on every subject.

Jesus, being God, could have imparted information in any way he saw fit.  He could have miraculously transferred knowledge into the head of his followers with very little effort.  But, he came to make disciples by teaching.  God continues to desire that disciples be made in the same way: through teaching.  Therefore, the leaders of God's church must be teachers (1 Tim. 3:2). Ephesians 4:11-12 tells us that he gave teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry. 

Teaching is central to God's work on earth. Jesus proved this by spending three years teaching; for this purpose he came into the world.

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