Vol. 8, No. 4
~ Page 11 ~
Scripture amply demonstrates that Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher, to whom we should go for instruction, which instruction should mold our lives. Jesus Christ excelled beyond comparison in everything that he did; Jesus Christ is preeminent as the Creator, as God Incarnate, as Sacrifice on Calvary's Cross, as Savior, as King, as Judge--as well as Master Teacher. There is no one else to whom we can turn who is a more able Teacher than Jesus Christ.
What, though, does it mean to be a teacher? Primarily two Greek verbs express what it means to be a teacher. First, didasko means "to give instruction (e.g., Matt 4:23; 9:35; Rom 12:7; 1 Cor 4:17; 1 Tim 2:12; 4:11" (Vine's). Second, matheteuo means "to teach...Matt. 28:19 [28:20 = didasko]; Acts 14:21" (Vine's). In addition, synonyms as well as related nouns and adjectives in the New Testament express what it means to be a teacher.
God is man's Teacher. God was man's teacher under the old covenant; "God himself is described as a teacher. He taught Moses (Exod. 4:15)" (Daugherty 131). God, likewise, promised to teach mankind under the new covenant (Isaiah 2:2-3). It should be no surprise, then, that when Jesus Christ came to earth in the flesh, he was the Master Teacher.
Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher. A primary feature of the short ministry of Jesus Christ was teaching (Matthew 4:23; 5:2; 7:29; 9:35; 11:1; 13:54; 21:23; 26:55). Jesus, the Master Teacher, frequently used figurative language in his teaching (i.e., the Power Point, etc. of his day). For instance, "Jesus, the Master Teacher, reveals the mysteries of the kingdom through the teaching of parables" (Ridgeway 38). With word-pictures depicting their everyday lives, the Master Teacher used circumstances with which they were familiar to teach them spiritual truths about which they knew little or nothing. Bruce Daugherty emphasizes that Jesus Christ taught more than lessons, but he instructed people, often individuals besides great audiences (Mark 4:1).
Jesus is the Master Teacher because he taught people, not just lessons. Notice how many individuals are listed in the Gospels: Nicodemus (John 2:1), Peter (Luke 5:1-11), the Samaritan woman (John 4), Zaccheus (Luke 19:1-10) and the woman of Syro-Phonecia (Mark 7:24-30). This ability to see individuals, especially those emarginated by society, distinguished Jesus as the Teacher come from God. (Daugherty 133)
Jesus Christ possesses the authority to be the Master Teacher (Matthew 28:18-20). According to Jesus (Matthew 21:23-27), "there are only two sources of authority, heaven or men"(Craft 5-6). "Officers" or "Temple guards" (NIV) sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to seize Jesus came back empty handed because they were awed by the Master Teacher (John 7:32, 45-46). As Denver Cooper put it: "The Master Teacher dared to be different. He spoke with authority" (59). That heavenly authority rested on the revealed Word of God.
Jesus is the Teacher without equal because of his trust in the Word of God. Jesus placed great emphasis on the Scriptures (Matt. 4:4; 22:29,31; John 5:39). In contrast, the teachers of Israel did not know the Scriptures (Matt. 22:29; John 3:10,12). Teachers today must emphasize the Scriptures in their lessons. In a day in which some Bible classes imitate television talk shows, we must return to the Scriptures. The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). It is able to build up Christians (Acts 20:32). It alone tells us of Jesus (John 5:39; 8:31-32, 47). (Daugherty 133)
Jesus Christ was the Master Teacher because he always taught what people needed (not wanted, 2 Timothy 4:2-4) to hear. Unlike us, Jesus as Divine was the "incomparable Teacher because he knew what was in man (John 2:23-24)" (Daugherty 132). Like Jesus, we need to teach God's Word so that it has an impact on people's everyday lives.
Jesus is the teacher without comparison because he taught people in their everyday situations. For many people, religion is separated from their daily life. Not so for Jesus. He taught in parables and stories drawn from daily life. Maybe this is why the common people heard him gladly (Mark 12:37). Jesus demonstrated the impact of Scripture on every day life (Mark 7:1-13). Because of his connection to everyday living his teaching stood in stark contrast to the teaching of the Pharisees (Luke 11:46, 52; Matt. 23:3-4). (Daugherty 133)
Jesus Christ practiced what he taught (Acts 1:1). Jesus Christ is the Master Teacher, in part, because, unlike the Pharisees (Matthew 23:3-5), he practiced what he preached (Matthew16:24). The most important model on the planet is the one who personifies the Word of God.
Finally, Jesus is the Incomparable Teacher because he modeled what he taught. Jesus is our model for everything, including obedience (John 13:17; Heb. 5:8-9; 1 Pet. 2:21). The apostle Paul considered himself a role model for his converts (1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1; Phil, 3:17). Paul praised his Thessalonian converts for having become imitators of their teachers and the Lord (1 Thess. 1:6-7). As teachers of God's word today, we must have the goal of obedience as we teach (Matt. 7:24-27; Rom. 2:17-21, 25). But to call for obedience means that we ourselves must first be obedient. We cannot lead where we will not go. We cannot give what we do not have first for ourselves. ...We are not simply imparting knowledge as we teach, but we are to be modeling behavior that can be imitated." (Daugherty 134)
The teaching of Jesus Christ demonstrated his Deity. None of our Lord's enemies were able to triumph over him in their verbal confrontations with him--evidencing the Deity of Jesus Christ. "As various groups of Jewish leaders tried their best to discredit Jesus in the eyes of the people, the Master Teacher silenced them one by one" (Board 270).
Confrontational Christ Brethren we are in a war with the devil and we must not forget it. The Lord is described as both a lamb and lion in the scriptures. ...The basic lesson must be this: when the Lord is personally attacked he does not seek vengeance-He does not retaliate (1 Peter 2:22-23). ...But, when an attack was made upon His teaching-His doctrine-it was a different matter, He fought back, and He fought hard. He refuted, He condemned. (Matthew 23:15, 25, 27-28) (Craft 14-15)
No other teacher in history has had a more profound and lasting affect on humanity than Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher.
Jesus' teaching ministry only lasted three brief years. He wrote no books. He held no university chair. He did not travel extensively from his humble birthplace. Yet, through the men he trained, Jesus has impacted the world like no other teacher. This was because his teachings reflected his divinity. (Daugherty 135)
Jesus Christ taught others to be teachers. Jesus, the Master Teacher, purposed to teach his disciples so they in turn could teach others; he told his disciples he would make them "fishers of men" (Matthew 4:18-22). Likewise, the apostle Paul also instructed Timothy to teach those who could teach others, too (2 Timothy 2:2).
God has placed Teachers in the Lord's church. Most of the offices of responsibility in the primitive church pertained to teaching and subsequent edification (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). First Cor. 12:28 lists "apostles...prophets...teachers." Ephesians 4:11 lists "apostles...prophets... evangelists...pastors [elders]...teachers." Preachers, elders and teachers must arm themselves with God's Word to be the most effective teachers they can possibly be.
Two of the three divinely given missions of the Lord's church involve teaching. Evangelizing the world involves teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost (Matthew 28:19-20). Edification or building up the church in the holy faith involves teaching (1 Corinthians 14:12, 26). Every Christian has a responsibility to learn God's Word thoroughly enough that we can instruct others in it (Hebrews 5:11-14; 1 Peter 3:15).
Bruce Daugherty well summarizes Jesus Christ as the Master Teacher.
Teaching was a prominent feature in the ministry of Jesus (Matt. 4:23). The Gospels are composed of a great amount of teaching material. The Sermon on the Mount, the Parables and the discourse on the Mount of Olives are all indicators of the importance of teaching in Jesus' ministry. The reaction of the people to Jesus' teaching also indicates that Jesus was the Master Teacher. The Bible says that the people were astonished at his teaching (Matt. 7:28-29; 13:54). They also marveled at his teaching (John 7:15, 32, 44-46). It was teaching that helped set Jesus apart from the other teachers of his day and it is the teaching that also helps demonstrate his Deity. (Daugherty 131)
T. Pierce Brown emphasizes that every Christian who teaches, and especially preachers, need to teach with the purpose of making a real difference in the lives of those who audit our words. "Most of us who spend our lives in this business of teaching believe that Jesus is the MASTER TEACHER, and it is our business to strive to teach in such a way that, as Paul puts it in Galatians 4:19, 'Christ be formed in you'" ("Closing"). "Religion that makes a difference is a religion that is seen Monday through Saturday, not just on Sunday!" (Daugherty 133).
We can best learn to be successful as teachers by imitating the teaching methods and subject material of Jesus Christ; "The method and message of the Master Teacher and his inspired followers should be ours" ( T. Pierce Brown "Sneak").
Jesus is the Master Teacher because he taught to change men according to the will of God. There are teachers who have great intellectual content to their lessons. There are also teachers who touch the emotional heartstrings of their audiences. But the will is also important in our teaching. Jesus taught to reach the will of man (Matt. 5:48; 7:21-23; 19:16-22; 22:37-40). The intellect deals with knowledge, information and facts. The will deals with direction, motivation and change for life. As a Teacher, Jesus gave more than information. He gave teaching that resulted in reformation and repentance. Teachers, do our lessons give information that leads to a response? Does it call for a decision? There is a great need to have Bible studies and classes that are directed toward the decision making process. We must call for a submission of the will of man to the will of God! (Daugherty 134)
With Bruce Daugherty we exclaim: "May we ever be disciples of Jesus, the Master Teacher" (135).
Jesus Christ, the Master Teacher, has not left us to wonder about salvation. Jesus taught that every believer must be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). The apostles John and Peter emphasized that the blood of Jesus Christ is available to Christians who sin, too, upon their penitence and prayer (1 John 1:7-10; Acts 8:22).
Board, John. "Opponents of the King." The King and his Kingdom in Matthew. Louis Rushmore, ed. Moundsville: West Virginia School of Preaching, 2003. 264-271.
Brown, T. Pierce. "Closing."
- - -. "Sneak."
Cooper, Denver. "The Far Country." 55-61.
Craft, Eddy. "The Master Teacher & His Authority." What Jesus Taught About5 West Jefferson: West Jefferson Church of Christ, 2005. 5-18.
Daugherty, Bruce. "Jesus--The Incomparable Teacher." Christian Evidences. Louis Rushmore, ed. Moundsville: West Virginia School of Preaching, 2005. 131-136.
Ridgeway, Jason. "The Parable of the Soils." The King and his Kingdom in Matthew. Louis Rushmore, ed. Moundsville: West Virginia School of Preaching, 2003. 38-46.
Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson,1985.