Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Thanks To The Absolute Best Teacher!

I want to say "thank you" to the best teacher that I know of. He deserves so much more recognition than he gets. In fact, on Teacher Appreciation Day, we probably don't even think about him as often as we should. To be honest, it hit me pretty hard tonight. He deserves so much thanks for all the teaching he does in our lives.

Listen to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:
"But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only teacher, and all of you are brothers. . . . Nor are you to be called 'Teachers,' for you have only one teacher, namely the Christ" (Matt. 23:8, 10). 
In order to delve a little deeper into the significance of the meaning of the word καθηγητής used in Matt. 23:10, I decided to check out Bruce Winter's "The Messiah as Tutor: The Meaning of καθηγητής in Matthew 23:10" in the Tyndale Bulletin (1991). Winter says this, "In verse 8 the relationship between Jesus, the Messiah, and his disciples brooks no intermediary Christian rabbis or schools. He is the διδάσκαλος, and they are all brothers--presumably from one generation to the next. This highly personalized relationship is even further defined in terms of a student to his καθηγητής, where Jesus, the Messiah, alone is to be the tutor" (157). Michael Wilkins points to the same idea, "a private tutor, which may point to the individual authority an instructor has over a student" (Matthew, NIV Application Commentary, 749).

Of course, the whole point of Matthew 23:8–10 is, in the words of Craig Blomberg, "such titles are not to be used to confer privilege or status" (Matthew, NAC, 343). But we need to remember who Jesus presented himself as. He is the one whose wisdom is greater than the wisest man who had lived up to that point. Isn't that the point of Matthew 21, of Matthew 11, and Matthew 13? Wisdom was given to Solomon. But Jesus is the Wisdom of God. We get this amazing, close, and personalized attention from our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus commands his disciples to not ever be called any of the titles found in Matt. 23:8–10, he anticipates their future ministries as his proclaimers of the gospel, apostles, and teachers. They needed to remember that they would always be brothers and sisters in the then yet-to-be built ἐκκλησία. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. Yes. But he is our teacher. No one compares to him.

Are you looking for someone to teach you? Wherever you are in the world, let me encourage you to think about the Lord Jesus Christ first and foremost. You'd be surprised what he can and will do in the life of someone who will sit at his feet, Bible open, with a heart wide-open. You know, you could sit in a seminary classroom for years and never learn from the Teacher of teachers. Did you know that? You could sit in a Sunday school class and never learn from the Teacher of teachers. You could listen to all the big names on radio ministries year after year and never learn from the Teacher of teachers. You can be a student of the book and never be a student of the Word. His instruction is quite distinct. There are no whiteboards. There are no overhead projectors, no Power Point presentations, no forum discussions . . . . He takes any and every applicant (Matt. 11:28–29). Every applicant, though, must have his blood applied to his or her life. He won't take a student that will not first humble his or herself, believe in what he accomplished on the cross as the payment for the sins of the world, and turn from their sin to follow him. But those who do will never have a "class" like the one they get enrolled in. He sends his Spirit, his personal representative and tag-team instructor in all things pertaining to life and godliness. His Word assures us that he doesn't just expect you to do things; he prepares everything you're suppose to do beforehand (Eph. 2:10). He doesn't just tell you to get busy with all the work he's got for you; he gives you all the strength you need to get done everything he wants you to do (Phil. 4:13). His life is the tutorial extraordinaire (1 Pet. 2:21; Phil. 2:5–11).

Thank you, Lord Jesus.

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