Jesus, the Teacher

Jesus teaching from an illustrated Bible in Urdu, Sindhi and Parkari. Picture by Sr M Claire, The Catholic Diocese of Hyderabad / Pakistan

Matthew 11:1 (NRSV)
Now when Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and proclaim his message in their cities.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
-William Arthur Ward

The joy of teaching is more than “leaving a legacy”—a phrase which keeps the focus on the teacher and what he or she passes on. The joy of teaching is seeing students come into their own, experiencing God’s creative grace in their time and place. It is the joy in remembering (and seeing) that God is every bit as original with them as He has been with us. – Steve Harper, More Than a Legacy

Luke 20:21 (NRSV)
So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are right in what you say and teach, and you show deference to no one, but teach the way of God in accordance with truth.

Jesus is not a philosopher laying out a new system of disembodied belief. Jesus was a teacher whose life taught what he preached. We love and follow Jesus not simply because of what he said, but because of the way his lived, died, and was resurrected.
Willimon and Hauerwas, Lord Teach us

To put it simply, we need to let Christ, our living teacher, transform us from within, thereby changing our habits and automatic responses in the reality of this present world. The inner transformation of the “command center” of our being happens as we embark on a learning journey with rabbi Jesus, who remains alive and present in our midst. We ask the ever-living Christ to be our teacher. We immerse ourselves in his life, allow his words to shape us inwardly, and live out of his revelation as faithfully as we can.
– Trevor Hudson, Hope Beyond Your Tears

Being guided by God does not guarantee we will have perfect families, perfect jobs, perfect health, with no problems or challenges. But genuine guidance does mean we will experience basic fulfillment and renewal. It means we will feel vitally alive in our giving and receiving. It means that our lives will not be barren but fruitful. We will not be left empty, desolate, depleted. Abundance will be present at our center. The word abundance means an overflowing fullness. The root of the word is associated with undulation, a rhythmic, wavelike motion, like the flow of tides in an ocean. When we walk in God’s guidance, a full, rhythmic flow of life pulses within us.
– Flora Slosson Wuellner, Enter by the Gate

Extended quote from Jesus Manifesto by Leonard Sweet and Frank Viola
Jesus cannot be separated from His teachings.
Aristotle said to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.”
Socrates likewise said to his disciples, “Follow my teachings.”
Buddha said to his disciples, “Follow my meditations.”
Confucius said to his disciples, “Follow my sayings.”
And Muhammad said to his disciples, “Follow my noble pillars.”

But Jesus says to His disciples, “Follow Me.”

In all the religions and philosophies of the world, a follower can follow the teachings of its founder without having a relationship with that founder. But not so with Jesus Christ. The teachings of Jesus cannot be separated from Jesus Himself. Christ is still alive, and He embodies His teachings. This is what separates Him from every great teacher and moral philosopher in history.

John 18:37 NRSV
Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Truth is finally not something we can possess and it’s not some flimsy idea narrated by personal preference, nor is truth simply the most legitimate idea, concept or doctrine. Truth isn’t something that belongs to you. Truth is something you belong to … or more accurately someone you belong to. What is revealed in the Gospel of John is that finally Truth is a person … the way the truth the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
– Nadia Bolz-Weber,
Sermon on Thanksgiving at Pontius Pilate’s Mom’s House and Where We Belong


For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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