Jesus as the Master Teacher

As the master teacher, Jesus used a variety of methods and presentation styles but His course content was consistent; whether by parable, teaching, or preaching His message was the Kingdom of God.

Jesus knew who He was speaking to and used examples that were at His audience’s level. With the crowds, He spoke parables using examples that they saw every day. Yeast in flour, marriage feasts, and sowing crops are examples of things He used in parables to illustrate the Kingdom of God. His parables could be taken on multiple levels of understanding but I think the meanings were always hidden because Jesus wanted people to ask questions. Isaiah had talked about this fact when he said that they would be “ever hearing but never understanding”; just because you enjoy a story does not mean that you understand the symbolism and metaphors that are written into it by the author.  With the leaders, His meanings were still veiled but they knew when he was talking about them; the example here is the Good Shepherd vs. the hired help.

He used current events as part of His teaching like when he talked about the tower that fell or when Pilate mixed pigs’ blood into the sacrifice.

Jesus used various strategies for where He was and whom He wanted to reach. He talked to massive crowds, small groups, and even one-on-one when the people or persons needed that in order for His message of the Kingdom to be gotten out and understood.  He would launch a discussion question like, “Who do the people say I am” or He would ask a question and patiently wait for an answer like when the woman was about to be stoned for adultery. (Of course, that could be Him as a Master Judge also.)

He had chosen the disciples they got special treatment. He would explain parables to them but He knew that He would have to send the Holy Spirit (re-teach) because they were not progressing fast enough. They got quantity and quality time with Jesus and I think He even gave them tests. If I may, the teaching that God can provide was the feeding of the five thousand and their test was the feeding of the four thousand. (see Test Revisited)

The picture was taken at Houston Baptist University.

Test Revisited

Spiritual test like tests in school are tools that are used by the Master Teacher for our good.  Now, most students are fearful of tests.  So here are some thoughts about testing that may help rearrange our thinking.

1. A test show what we know.

2. A test show what we don’t know.

3. A test show what we need to learn. (It really is different than #2)

I think we associate grades or our worth with a number instead of viewing test, especially spiritual test, as a learning experience and not a symbol of failure and stress.  Jesus being the Master Teacher knows that if you cannot pass the test we should not move on but when we do pass He starts us on a whole new course of study.  So retesting is part of spiritual training. Ex. – John 21 when Jesus asked Peter three times about his love. (see Rock or Chip) So remember passing test are needed to move you to the next grade/level. (see Test, Attacks, and Storms part 1)

Depending on the translation of the Bible you read the word for a test is rendered in several ways: try, prove, examine, tempt, assay, investigate, know, challenge, etc.  I think there are four major groupings of the ideas prove/test or search /know.

1. Malachi/Meribah

2. Testing of Metal

3. Search and Know (the heart/mind)

4. Miscellaneous

Malachi/Meribah may seem like a strange pairing of verses but the same word for test/challenge is what ties them together.  The famous verse about testing God and open windows are in Malachi 3:10 but most of miss 3:15 where it talks about people who test God because they believe it is futile to serve Him.  But the intensity of that testing is reflected in Psalm 81:7, 95:9 and refers to Exodus 17 and Numbers 20 where the people wanted water and Moses was to speak or strike the rocks.

The comparison of us being tested as metals is used in a number of passages.  This was done with great heat and air.  The picture is that something pure is going to come from this type of testing. (see What Type of Metals Are You Part 1)

Psalm 11:4, 139:23 and 17:3 are verses that refer to God searching, knowing and testing us. (see Fight)

Other examples of testing are when Joseph tested his brothers in Genesis 42: 15,16 and God testing Levi in Deuteronomy 33:8.  (see Timeline)

I guess if there is a thought I want you to take away from this it would be; God tests us for our good so that He can promote us to better things and that tests are not attacks, storms or trials. (see Test, Attacks, and Storms part 2, part 3)