“At dawn he went to the temple again, and all the people were coming to him. He sat down and began to teach them.”
To Teach and To Learn
I had a friend in college who had a knack for using appropriate metaphors and similes to express his point. As an aspiring preacher and teacher, I was envious of his uncanny ability. In my own life, I experienced the yearning to learn from him as my friend.
It did not occur to me at that time in my life that my friend, whether he knew it or not, was emulating the greatest teacher the world has ever known, Jesus of Nazareth.
A Change in Our Hearts
More than a third of the words recorded in the gospels from Jesus (the red letter words) are in parabolic form. In using parables, Jesus is seeking to help paint a picture that would connect with the hearer and help get across the point. This indirect form of teaching sought to go beyond the simple transfer of information producing knowledge.
Jesus sought to affect not only the hearers’ minds, but their wills and affections as well.
For The Coming Kingdom
So as Jesus sits down and begins to teach, the large crowd gathered around Him. Imagine Him knowing, in His divinity, that His growing reputation would ultimately lead to his capture and arrest. The people who gathered likely felt that pressure as well, sensing that danger could come their way if they continued to demonstrate their fealty to Him. Yet they still came.
This seems to show that their wills and their affections were being stirred as he told them, even indirectly, about the kingdom that was coming.
With Fervor In Faith
Have you noticed how Jesus uses this indirect style of communication in His teaching? Have you sensed your affections and your will stirred by Him? If not, I pray that you will.
I pray you are able to read Jesus’ teachings with the same fervor these folks demonstrated by gathering with Him in the temple–experiencing that same yearning to learn from Him as they did.
Choose any one of Jesus’ parables to read. Choose one from the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). Does Jesus’ use of narrative and metaphor help you situate yourself within the story? And what do you think is the main point Jesus is trying to convey?