Skip to comments.A Portrait of Jesus the Preacher and Teacher
Posted on 01/11/2018 7:54:48 AM PST by Salvation
As a priest, I am called to preach and teach. In this, I must look to Jesus Christ as my model. Scripture speaks of His renown as a preacher and the eagerness with which many heard Him.
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes (Mat 7:28).
Sent to arrest him the temple guard returned empty handed saying: No one ever spoke like that man (Jn 7:46).
And all spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth (Luke 4:22).
And the common people heard him gladly (Mark 12:37).
Lets consider some of the qualities of Jesus as a teacher and ponder the sort of balance that He manifests. What follows is not brief and I have compiled it over the years. Even if you just glance at the red highlights and read what interests you, I pray you will find some benefit.
I. His authority – The Scriptures often speak of the authority with which Jesus taught. For example, Scripture says of Jesus, he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Mat 7:29). Indeed, the teachers of Jesus time played it safe, quoting only reputable authorities in a wooden sort of way. Jesus, however, taught with authority.
The Greek word translated as authority is exousia, meaning to teach out of (ones own) substance, to speak to the substance of what is taught. Jesus would often say, You have heard that is was said but I say to you (cf. Mat 5 inter al). Jesus spoke from His experience of knowing His Father and from knowing and cherishing the Law and its truth in His own life. He brought a personal weight to what He said. He knew of what He spoke; He did not merely know about it.
This personal authority was compelling. Even today, those with this gift stand apart from those who merely preach and teach the safe maxims of others without adding their own experience to the truth they proclaim. Jesus personally bore witness in His own life to the truth He proclaimedpeople noticed the difference.
How about you? Each of us is called to speak out of the experience of the Lord in our own life and to be able to say with authority, I can verify that everything declared by the Lord and His Body, the Church, is true because in the laboratory of my own life I have tested it and come to experience it as true and transformative!
II. His witness – A witness is one who recounts what he has seen and heard with his own eyes and ears, what he himself knows and has experienced. Jesus said to the Jews of his time, If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word (Jn 8:55). He thus attested to what he personally knew. He was not just reciting things that others had said.
In a courtroom, a witness must attest to what he has seen and heard for himself; if he merely recounts what others have said it is called hearsay.
Jesus could witness to what He had heard and seen, of His Father and of us.
We cannot witness immediately to all that Jesus could, for He had lived with the Father from all eternity while we can speak only to what the Lord has done in our life and how we have come to know Him in conformity with His revealed Word.
III. His respect for others The Latin root of the word respect gives it the meaning look again (re (again) + spectare (to look)). Frequently in Scripture, especially in Marks Gospel, there appears the phrase, Jesus looked at them and said
In other words, Jesus was not merely issuing dictates to an unknown, faceless crowd. He looked at themand He looks at you and me as well. It is a personal look, a look that seeks to engage us in a very personal way. He is speaking to you, to me. His teaching is not just for the ancient crowd; it is for you and for me. He looks to you and He looks again. Are you looking? Are you listening?
Do you look with respect to those whom you are called to teach or to the children you are called to raise? Do you engage them by your look of respect and love?
IV. His love and patience for sinners Jesus could/can be very tough, even impatient, but in the end, He is willing to stay with us in a long conversation. One text says, When Jesus went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them at great length (Mk 6:34). Yes, He teaches us at great length; He stays in long conversations with us. He knows that we are dull of mind and hard of heart, so He persistently and consistently teaches.
Do we do that? Or do we quickly write people off? Jesus had a long conversation with a Samaritan woman who, frankly, was quite rude to Him at first (John 4). He had a long conversation with Nicodemus, who also was at times resistant and argumentative (Jn 3). He had long conversations with His apostles, who were slow and inept.
How about us? Are we willing to experience the opposition of sinners, the resistance of the fleshly and worldly? Do we have love and patience for those whom we teach? I have met some great Catholics who were once enemies of the Faith. Someone stayed in a conversation with them. What about us?
V. His capacity to afflict and console – Jesus said, Blessed are you, but just as often He said, Woe to you. Jesus comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable. Each of us falls into both categories. We need comfort but are often too comfortable in our sins. A true prophet fears no man and speaks to the truth of God.
For a true prophet (like Jesus) there are no permanent allies to please and no permanent enemies to oppose. The determination of every moment is based on conformity or lack of conformity to the truth of God. Jesus said to Peter, Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah (Mat 16:17), and gave him the keys to the Kingdom and the power to bind and loose. In the very next passage, though, Jesus says to him, Get behind me, Satan! (Mat 16:23)
No true prophet or teacher can say, Correct, or Blessed are you every moment because we all fall short of the glory of God. Jesus had absolute integrity when it came to assessing everything by the standard of Gods truth and Word. Do we?
VI. His parables – Stories are an important way to teach. A story that registers with us will rarely be forgotten. It is said that Jesus used more than 45 parables; some are full stories while others are just brief images. He used parables to link His sometimes-complex teaching to everyday life and to plant a seed of truth for our further reflection.
What stories and examples do you use? Teachings that consistently fail to make use of these risk being seen as merely abstract and can easily be forgotten.
That said, parables are somewhat like riddles. They admit of various understandings and interpretations. A good parable leaves its listener wanting more, seeking a definitive interpretation.
For example, a movie will sometimes have an ambiguous ending, stirring up hope for a sequel that will provide more information. Some stories and parables are compact and definitive; others are open-ended and ambiguous, almost begging for a definitive ending.
Consider that the Parable of the Prodigal Son is not really finished. It ends with the father pleading for the second son to enter the feast. Does the son enter or does he refuse? This detail is not supplied because you are the son and you have to supply the answer. Will you enter or will you stay outside sulking because if the kingdom of Heaven includes people you dont like then youd just as soon stay outside?
Parables are powerful, but for different reasons. Learn stories and learn to share them!
VII. His questions – Jesus asked well over a hundred questions in the Gospels. Here are just a few: What did you go out to the dessert to see? Why do you trouble the woman? How many loaves do you have? Do you say this of me on your own, or have others told you of me?
Good teachers ask questions and do not rush supply the answer to every question posed. A question is pregnant with meaning; it invites a search. The Socratic method uses questions to get to the truth, especially on a personal level: Why do you ask that?, What do you mean by this?, Do you think there are any distinctions needed in your claim?
This method makes a person look inward to his attitudes, prejudices, and presumptions. Good teachers ask their students a lot of questions; questions make people think.
Here is a list of one hundred questions that Jesus asked: 100 Questions Jesus Asked. Read them; they will make you thinka lot!
VIII. His use of focal instances – Jesus does not propose to cover every moral situation a person might encounter nor does He teach every doctrinal truth in a single afternoon.
For example, many today say that Jesus never mentioned homosexual acts and from His silence conclude that He must therefore approve of them. Really? He also never mentioned rape. Do you suppose that He approves of rape? Further, He did speak of homosexual acts, through His appointed spokesmen (the Apostles) who condemned them.
No teacher can cover every possibility or every scenario. So Jesus uses focal instances in which He illustrates various principles.
This is most obvious in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) where, to illustrate the principle that we are to fulfill the law and not merely keep its minimal requirements, Jesus uses six examples or focal instances. He speaks to anger, lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, love of enemies, prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In Mathew 25:31ff, the Lord uses the corporal works of mercy to illustrate the whole of the Law.
These are not an exhaustive treatment of the moral life. Through the use of illustrations, the Lord asks us to learn the principle of fulfillment and then apply it to other instances.
Good teachers teach principles because they cannot possibly envision every scenario or situation. Having instructed their students in first principles, they can trust that their students will make solid decisions in many diverse situations.
Good teachers teach students to think for themselves, not in isolation, but in ongoing communion with the principles learned, and through dialogue with authorities when necessary for assistance and accountability.
IX. His use of hyperbole – Jesus uses a lot of hyperbole. It is easier, He tells us, for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter Heaven (Mk 10:25). If your eye scandalizes you, gouge it out (Mat 5:29). There was a man who owed ten thousand talents (the equivalent of a trillion dollars today) (Mat 18:24). It would be better for you to be cast into the sea with a great millstone about your neck than to scandalize one of my little ones (Mat 18:6).
Hyperbole has memorable effect. Who of us can forget Jesus parable about a man with a 2×4 coming out of his eye who rebukes his neighbor for the splinter in his? I often tell my congregation, Go to church or go to Hell, which is my way of saying that missing Mass is a mortal sin.
Once, one of my seminary professors signaled me that I was giving an incorrect and heretical answer to a complex theological issue by saying, Charles, you are on the edge of an abyss. His response made me stop immediately and give the correct and orthodox answer!
Good teachers use hyperbole at the right moments.
X. His use of servile fear – Jesus made frequent use of fear-based arguments. He warned of Hell, of unquenchable fire, and of the worm that does not die. His parables feature many summary judgements in which people are found unprepared, are excluded from Heaven, or are cast into darkness. One parable ends with a king burning the town of those who failed to accept his invitation to his sons wedding banquet (Mat 22:7). Another has a king summoning those who rejected him so that they could be slain before his eyes (Lk 19:27). Jesus warns of the wailing and grinding of teeth. He also warns of a permanent abyss between Heaven and Hell that no one will be able to cross.
Many people today are dismissive of fear-based arguments, but Jesus used themHe used them a lot. So Jesus never got the memo that this is a poor way to teach. While the spiritually mature can respond to loving arguments, many are not that mature; thus a healthy dose of fear imparted by the threat of unending regret is often necessary.
We ought not to exclude, as many do, the myriad verses in which Jesus warns in vivid language of the consequences of repeated, un-repented sin. He is not playing games; He is speaking the truth.
To teach as Jesus did is to include warnings of judgment and of Hell.
XI. His anger and zeal – Jesus does not hesitate to express His anger and grief at the hardness and stubbornness of many. One day He said, You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? (Matt 17:17) In Marks Gospel we read, And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was furious and said to them, Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them (Mk 10: 13-14). Another day, in the synagogue, Jesus expressed anger at their unbelief: After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, Stretch out your hand. And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored (Mk 3:5).
Yes, Jesus memorably cleansed the temple and drove out iniquity there. He engaged in heated debates with the Jewish leaders and with unbelievers. He did not hesitate to call them hypocrites, vipers, liars, and the sons of those who murdered the prophets.
This is another teaching moment that renders what is taught memorable and meaningful. Parents who never react with anger risk misleading their children into making light of or not being serious enough about wrongdoing, disrespect, or stubborn unrepentance.
We must be careful of our anger, though. We do not have the kind of sovereignty over it that Jesus did; neither are we as able to see into peoples hearts as He was.
There is a place for anger. Jesus used ita lot, actually. Anger signals an important teaching and rebukes a lighthearted response.
XII. His refusal to compromise – There was in Jesus very little compromise about the serious teachings of doctrine or those issues related to our salvation. He said that either we would believe in Him or we would die in our sins (Jn 8). Jesus also said that He was the only way to the Father and that no one would come to the Father except through Him. He declared that no one who set his hand to the plow and looked back was fit for the reign of God. Jesus said that no one who would not deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Him was worthy of Him. We are told to count the cost and decide now; we are warned that delay may be deadly.
Much of this is countercultural today, a time of uncertainty in which there is an inappropriate sort of pluralism that thinks that there are many ways to God. Many insist on a softer Christianity, in which we can love the world and also love God. Sorry, no can do. A friend of the world is an enemy to God.
Jesus teaches His fundamental truths in an uncompromising way because they are truths for our salvation. Following these truths vaguely or inconsistently will not win the day. Some disciplines need to be followed precisely.
To teach as Jesus did involves insisting that the fundamental doctrines of our faith be accepted fully and wholeheartedly.
XIII. His forgiveness – Forgiveness may not at first seem to be an obvious way of teaching, but consider that teachers often have to accept that students dont get everything right the first time. Teaching requires a patient persistence as students first acquire skills and then master them.
A good teacher does not compromise the right method or the correct answer; He assists students who fall short rather than immediately excluding them. In an atmosphere where there is no room for error, very little learning can take place.
Forgiveness does not deny that which is correct; it continues to teach what is correct. Forgiveness facilitates an environment in which learning can thrive and perfection can at last be attained.
Jesus, while setting high standards, offers forgiveness, not as a way of denying perfection but as a way to facilitate our advancement by grace and trust.
XIV. His equipping and authorizing of others – Good teachers train new teachers. Jesus trained the Twelve and, by extension, other disciples as well. He led and inspired them. He also prepared them for a day when He would hand on the role of teacher to them. We who would teach need to train our successors and inspire new and greater insights.
Teach me, Lord, by your example, to teach as you taught and to preach as you would have me preach.
No video today.
Monsignor Pope Ping!
Hyperbole here....but not John 6?
The inconsistency of Roman Catholicism.
“Portraits” like those described in Romans chapter 1 - or - the authentic Christian kind, Jesus instructed to be rendered for His eyes and ears?
Where is the hyperbole in John 6?
Why is this hyperbole and John 6:53 not?
54He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day
Six times he tells us to eat his body and drink his blood. He uses the Greek word meaning for an animal to gnaw, R.I.P. with his teeth. Many of his disciples leave him. Compared to the hyperbole in other verses/parables, this is about Him and not others. I could go on but a true intimate and physical relationship with Jesus calls me to the Eucharist several times a week. This is not a parable. It is repeated by St. Paul.
Why didn't the Jews immediately seize Him and begin to gnaw/RIP Him with their teeth?
Why at the Cross did the disciples not rush to catch the blood and drink it? Or rip the flesh and begin to consume it?
What Paul recorded?
23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me. 25In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. 26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lords death until He comes.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 NASB
Roman Catholicism would have us believe He ate and drank His own flesh and blood.
It appears that some people do not understand the word — transubstantiation —
trans = transfer
substantiation — substance
The substance of bread and wine are changed through Christ’s words to his Body and Blood on John 6. (And also changed by the priest’s words that repeat those of Christ’s in each and every Mass.)
Every word in John is there for a reason; he was writing theology after all the synoptic Gospels.
No...we understand it.
It's just not what the NT says is happening.
It’s exactly what John writes in John 6. It is as it happened through Christ’s words.
Is there some reason you don’t believe Christ’s words?
Just the opinion of non believers....
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat? 53Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. 54Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
The Scriptures often speak of the authority with which Jesus taught. For example, Scripture says of Jesus, he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law (Mat 7:29). Indeed, the teachers of Jesus time played it safe, quoting only reputable authorities in a wooden sort of way. Jesus, however, taught with authority.
35Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst John 6:35 NASB
If you want to interpret the John 6 literally then are we to understand you're not eating and drinking any longer?
I see a lot of Roman Catholics eat and drink every day.
So which is it? Literal or not? Let's see if your consistent.
What say you to the questions?
The teachers who Jesus condemned for their tradition had bound up the Jews in a hopeless web of rules which were impossible to keep....ummmm....sounds like a group we know today.
You do not believe the very words of Jesus!
Too bad that your very firm non-beliefs about direct teachings from Jesus about His Body and Blood in the Eucharist may prevent you from eternal salvation.
Deal with this specific teaching of Jesus, do not try to change the subject.
Roman Catholicism would have us believe He ate and drank His own flesh and blood.
Well, he said he did. I believe him.
But to be clear....
The context of John 6...and context is the key to understanding this passage in relation to the remainder of John and the NT, is about faith/belief in Him.
28Therefore they said to Him, What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?
29Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.
30So they said to Him, What then do You do for a sign, so that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform?
31Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, HE GAVE THEM BREAD OUT OF HEAVEN TO EAT.
32Jesus then said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven.
33For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.
34Then they said to Him, Lord, always give us this bread.
35Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.
36But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe.
37All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
38For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
39This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.
40For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:28- 40 NASB
The Jews didn't understand, much like Roman Catholicism, that we come to Christ through faith.
When Jesus visited with Nicodemus and the woman at the well He did not say a word about having to eat/drink His flesh and blood. Did He lie to them? If we are to believe Roman Catholicism's understanding of the scriptures we'd have to say yes.
However, He did say it was through belief in Him.
Paul, in Romans, did not once say we had to eat/drink His flesh or blood. Did Paul err? No. Because he understood it was about faith in Christ.
24Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24 NASB
What Roman Catholicism would have us believe is this:
Prior to John 6:52-58 and after that Jesus, and the NT writers, all write about the necessity of faith in Christ for salvation....Rome has focused on six verses out of the NT that aren't about faith in Him. Like the unbelieving Jews, including many of His disciples, they did not understand the message.
We appropriate Christ through faith.
>>Six times he tells us to eat his body and drink his blood.
And where exactly does He assign the dominion of distributing that to those who’ve assumed it?