PastorRodney’s Weblog

Preaching from the Pulpit of Ephraim Church of the Bible

Disciple-Making Disciples; How Did Jesus Teach?

01/16 What did Jesus teach – about the Scriptures? (how did Jesus teach?)

We’ve been looking at Jesus’ final command to his followers before he left the planet, with a view to how we can carry it out.

Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Jesus commanded that we all be disciple-making disciples of him. We are to pass on information, character and passion that results in a transformed life. We are to have content, character and conviction that is contagious to those around us. We’ve been looking at what that means. We’ve looked a little at what some of the content is. We looked at what Jesus taught us about God. We examined some of the things Jesus told us about his Father. We looked at what Jesus taught us about himself. And we looked at what Jesus had to say about the Holy Spirit. If we are going to be followers of Jesus, we must embrace everything he taught. If we are going to make disciples of all nations, we need to know what to teach them about God.

All Disciples are called to Teach

But we also need to know how to teach. If the primary method of disciple-making is teaching, and if we are all called to be disciple-making disciples, then we all need to be equipped by Jesus to teach. I want you to feel the weight of this. I come over to you this morning during the last song and lean over and whisper in your ear ‘I’m feeling really sick and I need to leave. Will you teach God’s people this morning?’ What are you feeling? What’s going through your head? Now some of you might be secretly thinking ‘oh, I wish that would happen! I would love to have the opportunity to get up in front…’ Those of you who think that way – you scare me. You’re probably the ones I would not ask – for that very reason. Most of you however, would probably be thinking ‘I’m not feeling too well either. Where’s the nearest exit?’. That may not be a very plausible illustration. So lets get more down to earth.

*A member of a religious organization comes to your door wanting to indoctrinate you with their religious beliefs. How do you talk to them?

*A co-worker has been observing your character for the last 10 years and they come to you and say ‘okay, you’ve earned the right to speak. Tell me about this Jesus stuff’. Where do you start?

*A friend from church is facing some painful circumstances and they call you and ask ‘why is God letting this happen in my life?’ What do you say?

*Or one of your kids comes to you and says ‘Dad, I’ve been talking to some of my friends at school. How can we be so sure that what we believe is right?’. How do you instruct them?

Those are all real examples that I have faced personally, and I expect that you could add to the list of daily opportunities we are all given to teach and to make disciples. In Colossians 3:16, we are instructed to:

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Whether we have a specific role that requires teaching or not, we are all called to teach one another. I take the time to say this, because I don’t want anyone tuning out at this point saying ‘this is about teaching and I’m not a teacher so it doesn’t apply to me.’ Every follower of Jesus is to be a disciple-making disciple, and teaching is essential to the disciple-making process.

How Did Jesus Teach?

So this morning I want to look at how Jesus taught. My focus today is not on the content of what Jesus taught, but his method of teaching. Now we might be tempted to look at Jesus’ use of parables and stories, object lessons and illustrations, probing questions and in your face rebuke and confrontation, and that might be helpful and instructive, but I want to go even deeper than method. I want to try to get behind how he taught. I want to try to get inside his head and his heart and see how he thought that motivated how he taught. Or to ask it another way, what was the foundation of his teaching?

Scripture the final authority in personal moral decisions

To give us some help seeing what was foundational to his life and teaching, we’ll start with his private conversation with the devil at the outset of his public ministry. Turn in your bibles with me to Matthew.

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”’ 5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple 6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.”’ 7 Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.”’ 8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”’ 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Although Jesus was not intending to disciple the devil and make him his follower, this passage has huge implications for teaching. Disciple making is training in making life decisions as well as training in truth and doctrine. In fact the two must be one. Our life choices must flow naturally from the truth we embrace. And we see this in Jesus’ personal life as he faced temptation from the devil. He was faced with moral decisions and he made those in light of the written word of God. Three times in this passage, Jesus replies with the phrase ‘it is written’, and he quotes the Old Testament Scriptures. In fact, quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3, he articulates our utter dependence on God’s words in all of life. “It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus based his every life decision on God’s word.

Now I may be making an assumption, but I don’t think that when he was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness he stopped by the local synagogue to grab a Torah scroll. In the moment of temptation he didn’t whip out his pocket scroll and start spinning through it to find where it was written. This seems to indicate that he was deeply familiar with the words of scripture, that he had listened intently to God’s words read in synagogue each week, that he had studied and meditated on God’s words, that he had followed the advice of the Psalmist, when he says:

Psalm 119:11 I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

There are implications we could draw from this passage about memorization and church attendance and personal study, but we will leave that for another time. It is clear from the way our Lord responded to the devil, that he appealed to the written word of God as his final authority in his own moral decision making.

Every little Word

Because of Jesus’ radical new teaching, many thought that he contradicted and discarded the scriptures, but he made it clear that this was not so. He says in Matthew 5:17:

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

In Jesus’ day ‘the Law’ or ‘the Law and the Prophets’ were ways of referring to what we now know as the Old Testament. Jesus explicitly states that he does not intend to abolish the Scriptures, but to fulfill them. He points us to the least stroke of a pen and says that it will not pass from the written word until all is accomplished. Jesus tells us that even the smallest parts of the letters that make up the words are significant. Not one part of God’s written word is trivial or unimportant. If God bothered to say it and have it written down and preserved for us, then every bit of it deserves our careful attention and study. Jesus tells us there are deep consequences for disregarding God’s word, but there is great reward for all who obey it and teach others to do the same.

Scripture the foundation of his own teaching.

Jesus then goes on to base his moral teaching on the precepts of the Old Testament Law, pointing us beyond the external keeping of the letter of the law, to the true goal of transformation of heart and desires. Six times in this passage on issues of anger and insult, lust, divorce, taking oaths, retribution and hatred, Jesus says “You have heard that it was said to those of old… But I say to you…” (Matt.5:21, 27, 31, 33, 38, 43)

So we see that Jesus used the scriptures as the basis for his own moral decisions and as the foundation of his moral teaching. He explicitly says that he did not come to do away with the written word, but rather to bring it to fruition.

Scripture the final authority in controversy with religious leaders

Let’s look at how Jesus handled the scriptures when he was in conflict with the religious leaders of his day.

Matthew 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”’

Jesus held up the commandment of God over against the tradition of men. He quotes the scriptures and says ‘God commanded… but you say’. He accuses them of making void the word of God for the sake of human tradition and he says their worship is worthless.

Listen to how Jesus talks. Jesus said things like:

Matthew 12:3 … “Have you not read …

Matthew 12:5 Or have you not read in the Law …

Matthew 19:4 …“Have you not read …

Matthew 21:16 … have you never read,

Matthew 21:42 …“Have you never read in the Scriptures…

Matthew 22:29 … “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.

Matthew 22:31 … have you not read what was said to you by God:

Mark 12:26 …have you not read in the book of Moses,

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures …and it is they that bear witness about me,

John 7:38 …as the Scripture has said, …

John 10:35 …––and Scripture cannot be broken––

John 13:18 …But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘…

Luke 11:28 …Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

John 8:55 … I keep his word.

John 17:14 I have given them your word,…

John 17:17 …your word is truth.

Mark 2:2 …And he was preaching the word to them.

Mark 4:33 …he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.

Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,…

Jesus appealed to the scriptures as the final authority in his controversy with the religious leaders of his day.

Scripture is historically reliable

I think it’s appropriate to ask a question here. We’ve seen that Jesus used the Scriptures as his rule for faith and practice. He anchored his own moral decisions and his teaching in the Scripture. He argued from the scriptures with the religious leaders of his day. But did he believe the scriptures? Let me clarify what I mean by the question: Did he view the bible accounts as true history, or as religious myth and fable designed to teach a spiritual truth? Jesus himself spoke sometimes in parables – fictitious stories that he used to communicate a moral or spiritual truth. In what category did Jesus place the Old Testament? Let’s look at a few examples.

Jesus refers to the Genesis account of the creation of mankind by God and the first marriage and assumes that it is true and factual (Matt.19:4-6). He refers to the prophet Jonah being swallowed by a great fish, (Mat.12:38-41) and to the wisdom of Solomon (Mat.12:41-42). He refers to Noah and the ark and the destruction of the world by the flood (Lk.17:26-27) and to Lot and his wife who turned into a pillar of salt and the fire and sulfur that God rained down in judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah (Lk.17:28-29, 32) as if they were real people and actual historical accounts. Jesus anchored his arguments on the historical events.

So Jesus took the bible to be true history, he took it as the final authority in religious controversy, as the basis for his teaching and as the compass to guide moral decisions.

Scripture a guide to Jesus’ Messianic office

Jesus also claimed the prophetic scriptures must be fulfilled, and that they were fulfilled in him.

John 5:39 You search the Scriptures …and it is they that bear witness about me,

Luke 4:21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’

Joh 12:14 And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,

Mr 14:27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away, for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

Mt 26:24 The Son of Man goes as it is written of him,…

Matthew 26:54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”

Matthew 26:56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.

Mark 14:49 … But let the Scriptures be fulfilled.”

Luke 22:37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”

John 10:35 …––and Scripture cannot be broken––

John 13:18 But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

John 15:25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’

John 17:12 … not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.”

Jesus believed himself to be the fulfillment of prophetic scriptures. He took the bible not only as a guide in his moral decisions, but also as a guide in his Messianic role.

Jesus’ view of his own teaching

So Jesus believed the stories of the bible to be true and factual, and that it was the final authority in moral and religious issues. But Jesus’ bible was what we know as the Old Testament. Can we say anything about what Jesus thought about the New Testament?

We do know what Jesus said about his own teaching, and that he claimed to speak God’s words. He claimed that his teaching was absolutely true. He frequently said things like:

John 5:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

John 5:25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 6:47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

Those who heard him were amazed at his teaching.

Mark 1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

Luke 4:36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”

Matthew 7:28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Jesus even claimed the same kid of Old Testament permanence for his own teaching.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Jesus’ view of the New Testament

But Jesus didn’t write any books. How do we know that his followers got it right? We know from any honest historian that the four gospels are considered to be accurate and reliable historical documents. But does Jesus have anything to say about what his apostles would write? Jesus told his disciples that they would bear witness because they had been with him.

John 15:27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

He promised them supernatural power to be his witnesses, in fact he promised the Holy Spirit to be their constant teacher and to remind them of what he had taught.

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 16:12 “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

So Jesus believed that the Old Testament was reliable and authoritative, and he believed his own teaching was on the same level, and he ensured by the power of the Holy Spirit that his disciples would accurately bear witness of him and speak with his authority.

If we want to be followers of Jesus, we will embrace what he taught us about the bible. We will embrace the bible as true and trustworthy, as the authority for life and faith, and what we speak and teach will be rooted in and saturated by the very words of God. As Paul said to Timothy:

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Pastor Rodney Zedicher ~ Ephraim Church of the Bible ~

January 16, 2011 - Posted by | occasional, podcast | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. thank GOD so much for your great page.God Bless you.

    Comment by Tammy Mojar | February 17, 2013 | Reply

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