Theology 101 — Jesus: Came to Teach Truthcomment (0)
February 27, 2014
By Jerry Batson
As we have considered in previous weeks, the apostle John, whom God used to pen the fourth Gospel, opened his witness about Jesus by calling Him “the Word.” In so doing, the Gospel of John elaborates by telling us that the divine, eternal and living Word became flesh both to reveal God and redeem sinners. Thus by way of review, we affirm that Jesus came as the incarnate Word to make God known and came as the Lamb of God to redeem us by taking away our sin.
Today we go further to affirm that Jesus came as the “Teacher come from God,” the heaven-sent Rabbi. John 1:17 tells us that “the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Having come as the bearer or channel of truth in His own incarnate life, Jesus both demonstrated truth in His life and taught truth by His words.
Such was the impact of Jesus’ words that people who heard Him teach began referring to Him as the Teacher. Some even concluded, “No one ever spoke like this man” (John 7:46). Remember Nicodemus, whom Jesus described as “the teacher of Israel” (John 3:10)? “The teacher of Israel” called Jesus a “Teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Two close friends of Jesus were the sisters, Martha and Mary. When Martha announced Jesus’ arrival during their period of mourning their brother’s death, she phrased it, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you” (John 11:28). “Teacher” was a role Jesus accepted and endorsed, saying to the disciples, “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am” (John 13:13).
Jesus’ reputation as a teacher was due not merely to His eloquence or His method, although both were present. His eloquence was not that of flowery, high-sounding phrases or of extensive vocabulary, but the eloquence of clarity. His method was to couch truth in everyday images, illustrations and parables, thereby putting divine truth within the grasp of ordinary people.
However, what caused people to marvel over Jesus as the Teacher more than anything else was the fact that they heard the ring of truth in His words. His words had a different sound to human ears and hearts than did the teaching of the scribes. He spoke with clarity and authority. He put truth down at street level where common people understood His teaching. What made Jesus different from all others as a teacher of truth? He embodied the truth He taught.
In a way that no other person has duplicated so completely, Jesus was the embodiment of truth before He became its Teacher. Recall again His famous claim about being “the truth” (John 14:6). As truth incarnate, Jesus was the consummate Teacher of truth. He came to be truth in order to teach truth with authority and accuracy. Who Jesus was in the days of His flesh gave credibility and force to what He said.
Therein lies a valuable principle for all who would speak of the things of God: we speak best when we speak out of lives that exemplify the truths we seek to communicate. Words of truth backed up by a life that lives the truth are infused with life-giving energy and power. Jesus put it like this: “The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63). Eloquent words without the power of a godly life become rather lifeless words.