Teaching for Jesus
Matthew 28:16-20 contains the most familiar version of the passage commonly referred to as “The Great Commission”, but there are versions in all four gospels. In Luke, we see our Lord opening the minds of the disciples, promising them power from on high, and instructing them to preach repentance and forgiveness. In John’s account, Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit on them and gives them authority. But it is in Matthew’s account that Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Why is this so significant?
Do you think of Jesus as a teacher? His disciples did. Other words may come to mind – Lord, Redeemer, Master, Savior – but of the 90 times his followers addressed him directly in the gospels, 60 times he was called Teacher. This was the word the multitudes used, and Jesus himself used that title to describe himself. As he washed the disciples’ feet he said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.” John 13:13 When Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night, he said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” John 3:2 After Jesus finished delivering the Sermon on the Mount, scripture tells us the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.
Then, when Jesus had finished his work on earth, he handed off this important task. Over 2,000 years later, his teachings have multiplied as generation after generation of teachers have accepted the commission and carried on Jesus’ teaching. I would imagine the number of students who have heard the teachings of Jesus number in the billions, and there can be no doubt that Jesus was, and is, the greatest teacher that ever walked the earth.