Teaching is a noble profession. The molding of young, impressionable minds sets the moral and professional direction of children’s lives. Teaching in a structured setting is difficult. Teaching takes preparation. It takes dedication to the subject and dedication to the student. I applaud those who are willing to serve in this capacity. Not all teaching is done in a classroom or from a podium. We are all teachers. Patient explanations for the barrage of “whys?” coming from a toddler and tying shoes for the first through 100th time are examples of situational teaching. The transition from brushing teeth and combing hair to choosing modest clothing and making moral choices is the norm for the godly parent. Consistent message with consistent practice is the best model. With, or without, words, we are setting an example that is burned into the psyche of our children.
Jesus is called the master teacher. How can that be? Some have argued that His success rate at converting souls to His cause is quite low. Others criticized His lack of funds and social status. Compensation is the hallmark of expertise after all. Some criticized His choice of companions. Whatever the criticism, the description of “master teacher” is accurate because it describes the teacher, in this case Jesus, and has nothing to do with His audience or His critics. Jesus was the master of situational instruction. His knowledge of the subject matter was flawless. His knowledge of the audience, from their level of understanding to their attitude, was absolute. His delivery was always perfect.
Jesus was the master teacher because He taught the vital message of salvation and reconciliation. Not every subject carries the same weight. “Art appreciation” just doesn’t resonate as strongly as love, mercy, and grace. Why is it that we are willing to pay for college courses, invest years in our education yet barely take time to invest in our salvation?
Jesus was the master teacher because He stuck to the message, His Father’s will only. His deference to the Father was evidence of the divine source and the truth of the message. Despite His lack of formal education, Jesus had a profound effect on those who heard Him. (John 7:14-18)
Jesus was the master teacher because His teaching was relatable and memorable. His primary method of teaching was in parable form. Common situations housed greater spiritual concepts. The message became obvious to the spiritually minded but remained obscured to those of a worldly bent. (Matthew 13:10-11)
Jesus was the master teacher because He always spoke with bold authority. The teaching of the religious elite was sharply countered by “But I say to you …” Audiences were astonished. Even those sent to arrest Him early in His ministry abandoned the effort when they heard Him speak. (Mark 1:22, John 7:46)
If we are going to send our children in a spiritual direction (Psalm 127:4, Proverbs 22:6), if we are going to influence their future for good, if we are going to be instrumental in saving their souls, we too must master situational instruction. Do you take advantage of opportunities when they present? Does your example teach the value of the eternal or affection for the frivolous? What are you teaching your children?