Jesus did not only save sinners, he was a teacher
Although we know that Jesus came into the world primarily to save sinners, to the people of His day, Jesus was primarily known as "Teacher." Many, many Scriptures tell of people addressing Him as such.
Nicodemus said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God." (John 3:2.) Even those who did not believe in Him called Him teacher.
His teaching was powerful because He uttered words of sober truth, and the people recognized that. Matt. 7:29 says, "The crowds were amazed at His teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."
The Jews marvelled, saying, "How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but His that sent me," John 7:15-16.
His teachings were full of local color: shepherds, farmers, fishermen, vine dressers and merchants. His examples and parables could easily relate.
He taught on a mountain, in the temple, by the seaside, in homes and in synagogues.
He was great at telling parables, simple stories of events people could relate to. Stories that dealt with the important issues of life. Stories so powerful that people could remember them for years.
He used no chalkboards, projection systems, books or notes but spoke from the heart. He taught one person or thousands, often asking a person what they thought, so as to draw out of them their thinking. He gave special attention to teaching His disciples, for they were to carry on His work after He was gone.
The four Gospels contain 38 parables. Undoubtedly, there were many more, but only these got recorded. The Good Samaritan teaches that we should be concerned for our fellow man; The Treasure Hid in a Field teaches us that the most important things in life are our relationships with God and a serious consideration of the life hereafter.
The unjust judge teaches persistence in prayer. The parable of the Lost Sheep explains God's concern for every living soul. Perhaps the most memorable parable was that of the Prodigal Son - a story of God's unlimited grace to those who seek Him and his forgiveness. Mark Twain called that parable the greatest short story ever written. The moral issues He taught have been the guiding light for many nations.
One main consideration of His teachings is His emphasis on the Kingdom of God. The gospel of Matthew is sometimes called the Gospel of the Kingdom; in it, the word Kingdom occurs 50 times. If the eternal kingdom is at hand, we need to be prepared for it.
Those teachings given 2,000 years ago are still valid today. We are closer now to the Kingdom than ever. His words echo across the years - "Come unto Me and learn from Me" is still His call.
Many in America are ignoring them. As our national morality continues to decline, we are seeing social chaos and the family breaking down. Are we listening?
Raymond Smith is a lay minister and for mer President of Strong Families of Victoria.