We are continuing in our message series in which we have been looking at the Gospel of Mark. In chapters 4-6 we notice that Jesus sets up for us a pattern of teaching, testing and doing.

In chapter 4 Jesus uses a number of parables to teach his disciples about the Kingdom of God, culminating with the teaching of the mustard seed. But, Jesus is not just some run-of-the-mill teacher who just likes to hear himself talk. In this chapter Jesus uses parables to teach. The interesting part is that the disciples get done hearing him teach and they ask him to explain it because they didn’t get it. If the disciples aren’t getting it, I am pretty sure the rest of the people there are probably a little confused. Listen to what Jesus says is the purpose of parables:

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,  “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

What a great teacher, right? Teaching a lesson that he never intends on them understanding. Brilliant! Wait…if you have a child and they come home and tell you that their teacher is teaching lessons that they do not want the class to understand, how would you respond? I tell you what I would do, go to the teacher and ask what this nonsense is all about. That’s why it is going to sound crazy when I say it but, this is why Jesus is such a genius teacher. Let me explain.

A parable is a story with earthly elements, elements that people would have understood in their context. The parable also has a heavenly meaning attached to it to try to teach them about whatever the subject that needs to be taught. For example; Jesus says the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed and then talks about the seed. Now, he doesn’t explain why the Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed but it gives them something to think about.

I don’t know if this is a good or bad way to look at parables and Jesus teaching of them but it’s my way. I remember in High School chemistry my teacher would do an experiment and then write a bunch of equation stuff on the board. I understood the experiment but the equation I could never understand. I have to tell you that it would have been really easy to give up, but I was intrigued by the process even if I was confused by the numbers. This process is what made me come back even when I was confused. Jesus left some people confused and that is precisely what made people come back again to hear what else he had to say.

Jesus as a great teacher also takes his disciples to the side later and explains it all to them. Jesus doesn’t just preach a good sermon, he also gives some real life examples or application to his teaching. He then follows up with a test! That’s right, he allows their faith to be tested when a storm comes up while they are all in the boat together. The storm hits and they believe they are going to die. Jesus asks them, “…Do you still have no faith?”  Then in Chapter 6 the rubber hits the road and he sends the disciples out 2×2 to preach, to teach, to disciple. A great teacher is able to teach, apply and equip; Jesus is a great teacher.

But if that is all Jesus is then I could take it or leave it. In these same passages we find that Jesus is sooo much more than a great teacher. At the end of chapter 4 Jesus shows that he has authority even over the wind and waves as he calms it with three simple words. Chapter 5 Jesus shows that he has power over the demons and at the end of the chapter he has power even over death. A great teacher doesn’t have the power or authority to do any of this. That is why Jesus is a great teacher but has also proven himself to be an even greater Savior.

Have you been challenged to view Jesus as just a great teacher? What have you done to help others see that he is so much greater than a teacher? Do you have concrete examples in your life that Jesus has proven to be more than just a teacher?

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