Skip to content

The Master Teacher

January 22, 2018

The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” Mark 1:22

Listening to a teacher who really knows a subject is a delight. A master teacher knows the material inside and out, welcomes questions, and is rarely stumped. He or she not only knows the basics of the subject, but also its history, relationship to other subjects, and the ramifications and implications of various aspects of the subject on the world at large. Such a teacher has complete mastery over the material. A master teacher is also an exceptional communicator.

Jesus was such a teacher.[1] In fact, he was the Master Teacher. Being fully divine, he was present at creation. He knows God the Father and Spirit as intimately as he knows himself.  As part of the Godhead, he created Scripture.  He inspired and was present when every word of Scripture was written by its human scriveners.  His communication skills were out-of-this-world.  So is it any surprise that the people were amazed at his teaching? “They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1: 21-22).  The Scripture lessons this week emphasize the superiority of God’s knowledge and wisdom, and what it means to us and how we live our lives. [2] The strength of Scripture is its authority. Jesus was credible because he spoke with authority. He spoke with complete mastery of his subject—the kingdom of God.

In his speech to the Sanhedrin before he was stoned to death, Stephen confirmed that Moses was referring to the Messiah when he wrote “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 7:37). This Jesus was the Messiah to whom the Israelites were instructed to listen.  The psalmist continues to praise the Lord’s knowledge, authority, and wisdom and encourages us to revere God and to follow the Master Teacher: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111: 10).  Follow the words of the Master Teacher as revealed in Scripture, and you can’t go wrong.  The wisdom that comes from the Lord is not imparted in textbooks or taught by professors.  It is revealed in his Word and through his Spirit within us.

In fact, Paul warns about an emphasis on the acquisition of knowledge to the exclusion of love: “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God . . . There is no God but one . . . for us there is but one God, the Father, from who all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8: 1-3, excerpts 4-6).  This is one of many times when Jesus emphasized love over knowledge.  Jesus tells us that loving your neighbor as yourself is the second most important commandment (Matthew 22:39). The “wisdom from above” does not displace love: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere” (James 3:17).

God’s wisdom encourages love for our fellow man.  His wisdom encourages us to love and take care of each other. Mother Teresa wrote: “Keep the joy of loving Jesus in your heart and share this joy with all you meet, especially your family.”


Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] Jesus was called rabbi, which is derived from the Hebrew word that means “master” or “great one.”

[2] The Scripture lessons for the Fourth Week After Epiphany are Deuteronomy 18: 15-20; Psalm 111; 1 Corinthians 8; and Mark 1:21-28.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: