“So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. 28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:26-28
One of my friends has found herself in an unexpected teaching opportunity. She and her husband were active participants in a Bible study held at my house for about 5 years. My observation was that he wasn’t progressing in his faith journey. He seemed a bit stuck. He was definitely a man of faith and attended church regularly. But he kept listening to the world’s half truths about Jesus.
A year passed after that study group disbanded and my friend came to me asking about doing another study group. She was particularly concerned about her husband. They were no longer attending the same church and with the study group having disbanded her husband was without the counsel of other Christians. We decided to start a new group but it would be just women this time around and it left her concerns about her husband unanswered.
Over the course of last year my friend has made amazing strides in her faith progression. Just last week I listened to her as she was able to answer a difficult Bible study question with a great analogy – making it all clear to the rest of us! Like the glee I had while watching one of my Girl Scouts successfully learn to build a fire I jumped for joy at my friend’s insight! I loved it!
And God has answered her prayers about her husband. It wasn’t the answer she was expecting. You see, the teacher he needed was her. Her husband has watched her transformation with awe. She is living out the Word. And he started asking her questions about Jesus. After church (their new one) they go for breakfast and sit and discuss the sermon. He relies on her for further insight and instruction.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.” 1 Peter 3:15-16
My friend’s teaching opportunity was close at home. And at the start of Jesus’ ministry, He too started close to home. The first recorded teaching by Jesus was to His cousin, John the Baptist. Jesus asks John to baptize him but John recognizes Him as the Messiah and tries to convince Jesus it should be the other way around.
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. Matthew 3:15
Jesus knew His audience. As a devoted man of God, John was well practiced in what it meant to achieve holy righteousness. And so he accepted Jesus’ reasoning.
When you follow along Jesus’ teaching path, you’ll find it to be not only slow and patient but tailored for each person or group of people He encounters. And that’s the joy in teaching. No matter what we teach it’s important to know the delivery method. At first, Jesus reached out to His cousin, then His cousin’s followers and their friends. And the tipping point, after performing quiet acts of healing and word of them spread, was the Sermon on the Mount.
But even after He preached to large crowds, He would encounter individuals and specifically set aside time to teach them. To tell them about the glory of God and the forgiveness of sins.
To the learned He spoke with confident knowledge of Moses and Isaiah. To the poor and lame, He taught through love and compassion. To the average man and woman, He used parables containing everyday elements like farming and relationships. And to the disciples He opened their eyes to the mysteries of the Kingdom. Each time He sought the “ah ha” moment for which every teacher longs. The moment when the light comes on inside.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
I once was leading a small Bible study and the topic of “evangelizing” came up. It usually makes people squirm. One participant said she just didn’t feel ready to talk to people about God. And yet she’s been a Christian for about 50 years. What if we erase the word “evangelize” and replace it with sharing or teaching? What if instead of picturing ourselves standing before the Pharisees or Sanhedrin we picture ourselves sitting with our children or a friend? And sharing how Jesus has brought us peace and joy in times of trouble. That should at a minimum be expected of us.
My friend I mentioned at the beginning has come a long way. About a year ago, her adult son started asking her questions about God and Jesus and she felt unprepared. She had prayed for many years that her son would turn to Jesus. And now he was asking her questions. So, what did she do? She sought instruction, she prayed, and she was bold. And at her next opportunity to teach a family member, her husband, she was ready.
“Our lives should reflect the love and goodness of Jesus but we should pray that the Lord would give us opportunities to share the gospel with people who come into our lives.”Pastor Adriel Sanchez, Core Christianity Podcast
Jesus didn’t want to keep His life offering amongst a small group of people. So yes, He lived a good and faithful life but He didn’t stop there. He reached out to people. He shared through teaching the most important lessons we will ever learn. He prepared for this task. And when His time came, He was ready.
The question is, are you ready?
Your role as teacher may be needed right now. For your children, your spouse, your neighbor, a struggling believer or searching non-believer.
Have you worked on the other steps so you can teach, like Peter says, with gentleness and respect? Have you put yourself in positions to be a humble servant and therefore interacting with non-believers in positive ways? Are you studying His Word so when confronted with half-truths or outright lies about God you can stand firm like a warrior? God has already tested you in all these areas. He’s tested me. What is your report card? In what areas do you need to ask for God’s help today so you can be ready?