Names of God: Teacher

by Lea Gibson

The majority of the time when Jesus is addressed in the gospels, he is addressed as “teacher” or “rabbi”.

As a first year teacher this academic year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means for us as Christians (and me as a teacher) for Jesus to be called teacher. Jesus is the perfect teacher, and we can learn from his example as we strive to teach others about him.

As a teacher, Jesus:

Tells it as it is.

He tells the truth even when (especially when) it’s controversial. He wasn’t afraid to address the Pharisees and how they had misinterpreted the law, or to call out his disciples on their misconceptions of his role as Messiah.

Meets people where they’re at.

He makes his teaching relevant and relatable to his students. Parables are a great example of this. He took stories, concepts, or traditions the Jews were familiar with and changed them to fit his purpose. This had an impact on those listening because they were able to relate to what he was saying, and it stuck out to them when he changed a familiar story (such as the story of the prodigal son).

Has compassion for the broken.

Jesus’ ministry was focus on the sinners and outcasts, and that included his role as teacher. He gave love to those who didn’t know love.

As Christians, we are all teachers of some sorts. We all are teaching others about the gospel, whether it’s our children, friends, or unbelievers. We can learn from Jesus in how he approaches his role as teacher. We are called to tell the truth, even though it is contradictory to the ways of the world. In order to do this, we must meet people where they’re at. We must be approachable and relatable and use examples familiar to our students.

Lastly, and most importantly, the role of a teacher is to love. We need to love everyone, but especially those who aren’t getting the love elsewhere. Jesus loved the Pharisees and the teachers of the law-but where did he spend his time? We must do the same.


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