2000 years hasn’t begun to exhaust discussion of who Jesus was, and what his life means for us. During this time, it’s traditional to reflect on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus. However, during most of the rest of the year, many Christians spend more time reflecting on Jesus’ day of suffering, than on his three years of teaching. I’ve become convinced that in addition to everything else he was, Jesus was above all, Teacher.
A true teacher cares about nothing so much as helping their students discover truth. Although teachers are rare, true students are too. It’s hard to understand a Master who has seen beyond the appearances of the world, who knows God as his own Self. And it is hard for them to communicate the Kingdom they live in. Certainly Jesus and the disciples shared this difficulty.
The Teacher taught “whosoever” would come to him, yet out of thousands who would come to hear his lessons for a day, only a dozen or so would dare to commit themselves to his instruction for three years by living with, and traveling with him. And in spite of their dedication, they didn’t “get” his teaching very well. After months of being with the Teacher of unconditional love, two of his disciples wanted supernatural powers to call down fire upon those they didn’t like! And the Teacher himself learned that he could not teach in the conventional religious arenas of the day. His first teaching in a synagogue was such a hit, the listeners tried to throw him off a cliff!
Jesus was awake. He was awake to love, awake to God, awake to his true Being, awake to all. To prove that his teaching wasn’t idle words, he performed miracles, most often of healing, but sometimes simply to show “the glory of God.” Yet when he did, too often people focused on the miracles instead of the message. He tried to explain that miracles were not the point at all, and that even his wonder-working would be exceeded; although he and the Father were one, he said his students would do even greater things (John 14:12).
Continually tuning in to God, his Father, his Source, he realized that going to Jerusalem and challenging Religion directly was what he needed to do. And he would definitely be killed for doing so. On his last night with his beloved students, he shared the Passover meal with them, and urged them to not forget him, but remember him in the sacred meal. And above all, to remember and follow his teaching. The teacher is the teaching.
Although condemned by man, he was vindicated by God, and given the power to fulfill his love by being with all who call on him. He meets everyone where they are, yet as a teacher, he calls them to take the next step further. That’s what teachers do.