First, Jesus is an excellent example of an outstanding teacher. He was called a teacher by His disciples, by His opponents and by the people in general. Jesus “went about allGalilee” – from “the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues” to “the mountain” where he “taught them” (Matt 4:23; 9:35; 5:1). Nicodemus referred Jesus as the teacher. He said “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent from God” (Jn. 3:2). There was no doubt that Jesus was a teacher come from God because He taught with authority. This was the verdict of the people. He needed not to quote Gamaliel or Hillel, because the conscience of His hearers said, “He speaks the truth”.
Jesus taught His disciples by delegating important work to them. The best example of that is to be found in Matthew 28, in which Jesus is seen committing to His disciples the Great Commission. They were far from perfect at that time. In fact, Matthew records, “And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some were doubtful” (Matt. 28:17). It was to those doubting, fearful, imperfect disciples of His that Jesus gave the Great Commission. He had confidence that they would be able to carry out that “mission impossible”. Nothing will help a student to learn faster or to seek to implement his teaching in a better way than to know that his teacher has confidence in Him. Jesus not only gave them the command, He promised them His own presence, and He promised them the direction and the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe that what God the Holy Spirit has done in our lives, He is able also to do in the lives of those whom we teach.
Second, consider the early church’s response to Christ’s “teaching” commission. The apostles and other followers of the risen Christ responded in a variety of ways to his commission to “go… and make disciples of all the nations… teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:19-20). Their responses ranged from Luke’s writing the Gospel, in which he “dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1), to the Pentecost converts who “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings …” (Acts 2:42) to Barnabas and Paul who “for a whole year … met with the church (at Antioch), and taught a large company of people” (Acts 11:26).
It is worth noting that inAntiochthe disciples were for the first time called “Christians” As the church grew and developed they were bombarded by other faiths and ideologies, values and life styles – all competing for their loyalties. The teaching in the New Testament church thus played an important to discriminate between true and false teaching.
Third, you may not be a teacher. But in actual practice you are always teaching. Every relationship or contact with someone is a teaching session or opportunity. We teach by what we do and how we do it as much as by what we say. According to James B. Ashbrook, “We cannot not teach. People read us without realizing it. We instruct them without knowing it. They are learning from us all the time. Their “lesson” comes from what we unexpectedly “give off” more than from what we consciously “intend”.