Was Jesus a Good Teacher? (Y1.T1.D39)
Updated: Jan 21
In my previous post, we considered how C. S. Lewis emphasized that Jesus shouldn't be identified as just a "great moral teacher." Lewis' point didn't diminish Jesus' ability to teach but instead emphasized the Savior was that and more—specifically, God incarnate.
Since the Bible has already presented evidence of Jesus being God, we are free to examine what makes the entire world recognize him as a great teacher.
At first, I thought people respected Jesus because of what he taught, like the Golden Rule. Problem is, "love you neighbor" wasn't first taught by Jesus but by Moses. The new ideas Jesus brought to the world were more exclusive than the modern world wants to accept. He taught, "No one comes to the Father, except through me" (John 14:6).
In fact, when Jesus was alive, "many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66) because he said:
Most certainly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you don’t have life in yourselves. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father; so he who feeds on me, he will also live because of me. This is the bread which came down out of heaven—not as our fathers ate the manna, and died. He who eats this bread will live forever. (John 6:53–58).
So it’s not what he taught but how he taught that the world approves of. He's the one instructor whose walk never deviated from his talk. Great teachers lead by example.
He said he didn't come for the righteous, so he instructed sinners. (Matthew 9:13)
He said he could raise the dead and Lazarus stepped out of the grave. (John 11:43–44)
He said not to judge, and he forgave his friend, Peter, who betrayed him. (John 21:15–17)
And this is a short list. John's Gospel reminds us, "There are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they would all be written, I suppose that even the world itself wouldn’t have room for the books that would be written" (John 21:25).
While many choose to separate the teacher from his lessons, the more we read what he said, the harder it becomes to deny his deity. In fact, I've come to believe the reason everyone connects themselves in some way to Jesus—regardless of the label they give him—is evidence that he's the God their souls long to connect with.
The good teacher’s lesson is as important today as it was when he instructed Pharisees to go “learn” what Hosea said about God’s desire for “mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6).
Ultimately, he desires a people who will call on him (Hosea 7:7). And when I’m in the presence of a teacher as great as this one, it only makes sense to believe every word he said, not just the instruction most comfortable to me.
Teach Me More
10 Listen, my son, and receive my sayings.
The years of your life will be many.
11 I have taught you in the way of wisdom.
I have led you in straight paths.
12 When you go, your steps will not be hampered.
When you run, you will not stumble.
13 Take firm hold of instruction.
Don’t let her go.
Keep her, for she is your life.
14 Don’t enter into the path of the wicked.
Don’t walk in the way of evil men. (Proverbs 4:10–14)
13 He went out again by the seaside. All the multitude came to him, and he taught them. (Mark 2:13)
1 “Come! Let’s return to Yahweh;
for he has torn us to pieces,
and he will heal us;
he has injured us,
and he will bind up our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us.
On the third day he will raise us up,
and we will live before him.
3 Let’s acknowledge Yahweh.
Let’s press on to know Yahweh.
As surely as the sun rises,
Yahweh will appear.
He will come to us like the rain,
like the spring rain that waters the earth.”
4 “Ephraim, what shall I do to you?
Judah, what shall I do to you?
For your love is like a morning cloud,
and like the dew that disappears early.
5 Therefore I have cut them to pieces with the prophets;
I killed them with the words of my mouth.
Your judgments are like a flash of lightning.
6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they, like Adam, have broken the covenant.
They were unfaithful to me, there.
8 Gilead is a city of those who work iniquity;
it is stained with blood.
9 As gangs of robbers wait to ambush a man, so the company of priests murder on the path toward Shechem, committing shameful crimes. 10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing. There is prostitution in Ephraim. Israel is defiled.
11 “Also, Judah, there is a harvest appointed for you, when I restore the fortunes of my people.
1 When I would heal Israel,
then the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered,
also the wickedness of Samaria;
for they commit falsehood,
and the thief enters in,
and the gang of robbers ravages outside.
2 They don’t consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their own deeds have engulfed them.
They are before my face.
3 They make the king glad with their wickedness,
and the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers.
They are burning like an oven that the baker stops stirring,
from the kneading of the dough, until it is leavened. (Hosea 6:1–7:7)
Thank You for the desire You put in my heart to know You. I entered our relationship both weak and foolish, yet You granted me wisdom and righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:26–31). Wherever my thoughts have turned to pride, I ask you to humble them (1 Peter 5:6). In the midst of my busy day, help me sit at Your feet and learn (Luke 10:39). Thank You not only for teaching me by example but for every word You speak.
Is this the first time you're reading a blog from The Mosaic Bible Experience? Click to learn more.
To receive more content, remember to click Like and Subscribe.