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.
3 thoughts on “Holy Thursday: Teacher’s farewell”
I receive this email about once a week. Very informative. This is part of the most recent one.
“In the ancient land of India there is tangible proof of life beyond the grave. In this far eastern land, I saw a church?s foundations, and a cemetery full of Christian graves, that dated back to the first century. The government of India recognizes that these churches were started by Christ?s disciple, Thomas. India?s non-Christian government even honored the disciple with a ?St. Thomas postage stamp.? Historians agree that Thomas started the first-century churches in India.
Thomas got on a trade boat and sailed to the West Coast of India. He started four churches there and then traveled to the East Coast and started three more. There natives killed him with spears. A mountainside monument marks the spot today.
Here is the big question this raises: ?Why did Thomas leave his home, family and friends, travel to the far away land of India, start churches, and die a martyr?s death in poverty and dishonor??
This disciple is commonly referred to as ?doubting Thomas.? He refused to believe the other disciples when they told him Jesus had risen from the dead: The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe (John 20:25).
?Doubter? is not a strong enough word to describe Thomas. He had absolute resolve not to believe that Jesus had risen from the grave. All the teachings that he had heard and all the miracles that he had seen over three years did not convince him that Jesus could rise from the dead. The testimony of the other disciples did not convince him.
But something happened that instantly transformed this skeptic into a believer who would give up his life to tell people Jesus had risen from the dead. Only one thing could reasonably produce such a change?he saw the risen Christ: And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: Then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then says He to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God (John 20:26-28).
Thomas excited the rage of the pagan priests with his message of the resurrection. They surrounded him and thrust him through with spears. A monument rises on the spot testifying that Thomas would never have been there or died there if he had not seen a risen Christ.
This skeptic became a convinced believer, went to India and gave his life to tell people Jesus Christ had risen from the dead.”
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead…”
1 Corinthians 15:16-20
Hallelujah, Christ is risen!
Hey, Ted, thanks for stopping by. I’ve long been fascinated by the Thomas traditions of the Indian church. Glad news of it is spreading!
Hey Jon! Yeah, I’ve wanted to stop by and add my two cents for some time now. The above article is from moodynews.com. I forgot to include that…:)