Cutting down trees can sometimes be a dangerous job. Those who hire a person to do the job give him the authority to do it. He then sets a goal of putting the tree on the ground. There is a right way to cut it down to make sure that it falls the way he wants it to go and does not fall on a house.
Jesus had the authority to teach God’s truth. He showed this authority when He taught. He also had a goal and methods for reaching the goal. This is the example He left for us to follow.
As you study this final lesson, ask Jesus to help you learn from Him. Let Him lead you to someone this week whom you can teach. And follow the best method in teaching that person.
Jesus Taught with Authority
In the time of Jesus, the priests were the teachers of the Law. But when Jesus taught, the people saw right away that His teaching was different. Mark writes, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22).
The teachings of Jesus showed He had the authority or power. He had been given this authority from the Father, and He knew what He taught was truth. The people who heard Him saw this and listened to Him. Even the guards who were sent to arrest Jesus returned to their leaders alone, saying, “‘No one ever spoke the way this man does’” (John 7:46).
Jesus did not teach like the priests. They taught only what teachers of the past had taught. Jesus taught the people what God’s law meant to them in their everyday lives and how He had a plan for them. He also helped them to understand that He loved them and they in turn were to love each other.
Jesus had this authority because He was the Son of God. When the Jews asked Jesus who He was, He told them:
“When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.” (John 8:28)
Elsewhere when Jesus said, “‘I am who I am,’” He used the name that God gave himself when talking to Moses by the burning bush in Exodus 3:14. The Jews who followed Jesus knew the source of His authority
Jesus had a Goal
Jesus had one goal in His ministry: to lead individuals into knowing and accepting God’s truths. He told the crowd of people that followed Him:
“I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.” (John 6:38–40)
Jesus’ life and ministry was spent in teaching, preaching, and working miracles. Altogether these activities were meant to lead people to believe on Him as their Savior. Everywhere He went, He preached and taught the good news. Mark tells us, “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God” (Mark 1:14).
A little later we see Him telling His disciples He had to go on to other villages to preach. When He came to the shore of Lake Galilee, a crowd of people were following Him, “and he began to teach them” (Mark 2:13). As we follow Jesus’s life through the four Gospels, we see Him preaching and teaching the good news everywhere He went.
Jesus Used Methods
Jesus not only knew what to teach—He also knew how to teach. He used the same methods we talked about in our last lesson. Look at each one again. But this time we will also look at how Jesus used these methods.
1. Jesus gave lectures. There are several good examples of these lectures in the Gospels. One of them was the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5–7. (Read it now.) Notice also in Matthew 7:28–29 that when He finished speaking, “the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.” Jesus knew how to use lectures.
2. Jesus used storytelling. His stories were called parables. There are 61 of these parables of Jesus in the Gospels. The parables were about things, plants, animals, or people. They were stories about situations that could have happened to almost everyone. The parables were meant to teach spiritual truths, and each parable taught one truth.
An example is the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30–36. This story was given in answer to a question that was meant to trap Jesus. The parable taught a spiritual truth without causing an argument.
3. Jesus used questions and answers. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, He used this method. He also used it when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. By doing this, He helped His listeners understand the full meaning of His teaching. When telling them not to worry about their daily sustenance, He asked, “‘Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?’” (Matthew 6:25).
Another time Jesus wanted to teach His disciples about civic responsibility. He asked them several questions, including one that was directed to Peter. (See Matthew 17:25.) Jesus did not need Peter’s opinion, or his thoughts on taxes, but He wanted Peter to think about the subject. This was an important part of Peter’s learning.
4. Jesus used discussions. One of the best examples of this was the discussion He had with the woman at the well in Samaria (John 4). Jesus began by asking the woman for a drink of water. He gently guided her as she tried to get off the subject until she learned who He was and what He wanted to teach her.
When Jesus’s disciples found Him talking to the Samaritan woman, Jesus said to them, “‘My food, . . . is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’” (John 4:34). Jesus knew His responsibilities and how to fulfill them. As you study His life, look at how He ministered to different people by using various methods of teaching.
Jesus also told His disciples: “‘Do you not say, “Four months more and then the harvest”? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest’” (John 4:35). He was talking to them about the harvest of souls. It is not a long way off, but people are ready now to believe in Jesus if someone will teach them.
Who lives next door to you? Have they ever heard about Jesus? What do you talk to them about? Do they know you are a Christian? Use what you have learned from this course to teach them and others. There are many souls to be harvested. Why not be God’s harvester by using your teaching ministry?
Now that we have come to the end of our study about the teaching ministry, perhaps it would be good for you to think about how the teaching ministry can be a part of your life. We have given you some things to consider in the chart below. Put an X in the box in the column that indicates your answer.