IN THIS QUARTER
Most of us probably remember a great teacher who made an impact on our lives, whom we admired and appreciated. Some teachers transcend their own times and continue to influence subsequent generations. Outstanding teachers have decisively impacted life and thought and are often universally recognized. Jesus, of course, was the greatest Teacher of all.
His contemporaries acknowledged Him as a Teacher, for He exhibited the general characteristics of a first-century rabbi. As was the practice, He would sit down to teach. He often quoted the Scriptures and then commented on them. Finally, Jesus had a group of disciples who attentively listened to His words and followed and served Him. These were the basic attributes of teachers in His time and place.
Fundamental differences between Jesus and the other teachers, however, did exist. While the latter concentrated mostly on the intellectual aspects of a subject, Jesus addressed the whole being of His audience and invited them to make a decision in favor of God. Besides, those who heard Jesus "were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark 1:22, NKJV). Christ's authority gained credibility by the fact that He practiced what He taught. But above all, the source of His authority was His own Person. He taught the truth, because He is "the Truth." As God incarnated, He said, "Thus says the Lord," yet would then later add "but I say to you."
This quarter we will study some of the main teachings of Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels. As we do, let us picture ourselves among His attentive listeners at the mountainside, by the sea, or in the synagogue. Let us pray for spiritual discernment to understand His message and to grasp His unfathomable love manifested on the cross.