I hope you will let me tell you a little about the greatest teacher I’ve ever known with the most astonishing results in the history of our world and from whom I’ve discovered so much. Now, from the outset, let’s be clear that no-one can ever be all this alone but we can all learn from His example, being amazed, inspired and shaped by His brilliance.
Firstly, He prioritised self-development but this was targeted to what He could actually put into practice, not just skimming and skipping onto new topics, but going deeper and working out from what He already knew. He took time to learn from His colleagues and those much older than Him, whilst sharing openly His own insights and questions. Thus, wisdom and compassion, when offered to others, returned back to Him in many unexpected, yet wonderful, ways.
He sought out the best role models and teachers of His generation – those who answered His questions with patience, an open-mind and a determination to never be overwhelmed by evil. When He was ready, He started to teach publicly on the topics that mattered for His day. He did not rush into battle unprepared for combat, but took time to equip Himself fully for the day ahead. Being creative, He told many stories and used everyday illustrations that helped people to understand more of the world around them.
Realising that His time was short, He built around Him a community of people, from all different backgrounds, so that His Good News would endure. He was patient and welcoming with all different levels of ability, willing to go out of His way to defend and bring people back. Knowing his students, He neither overloaded them with too many demands, nor tolerated any behaviour that could lead to their own destruction, by causing division and harm. He encouraged, supported and corrected, as and when, necessary.
Above all, he instructed His friends to forgive each other’s mistakes and offences – this was the key to their growth that opened doors to beautiful reconciliation and healing. Although other people tried to copy His methods, He was content to focus on the task set, providing they did not oppose His priorities. Collaboration triumphed over competition, but He faced stern critics who tried to trip Him up. He knew that He always risked being misunderstood, misinterpreted or even worse, but He still kept striving to do what was good. He was fully assured of the Father’s love – the mysterious, amazing grace that lifts lost souls up out of despair, brings new mercies our way each day, and sustains us during difficulties.
He encouraged people to work in pairs and teams because He knew that each person needed to be involved to bring out the best in terms of learning experiences and impact on those they sought to reach. Unlike the Marines who accept only the fittest and strongest, He flung open the gates to anyone and everyone to come, just as they were – with those rough edges – and worked to polish them into diamonds. He enthused them with vision and purpose, taking time to find out their potential and affirming what they would one day be. Some needed much tender care and some stern warnings to keep them on track, but always His kindness shone through. At times, He thought upon those He loved as little children – needing serving, structure and guidance, someone to get alongside them, listen to their problems and offer the sound advice that He’d picked-up over the years. Someone to rescue them, especially if they started to sink in their zeal to follow Him…
He was a fixer and doer, without rushing between jobs or letting daydreams cloud His judgment. He soon found out what language worked with each student by varying and simplifying His vocabulary, making as many possible connections with other people’s experiences and aspirations. Finally, He showed the full extent of love in His willingness to suffer and die for all humanity. Astonishingly, however, this was not the end of the story…
His followers spread out in numerous different directions. In many ways, His Spirit still moves unexpectedly today. However, we all need to keep discovering Christ Jesus afresh or to find Him for the first time ourselves. So, let me tell you: He’s the source of my strength and life – the One who turns my life right-side up when it’s toppled over. He lifted me up out of despair, gave me hope and purpose, makes my spirit sing. He strove to connect with all kinds of people, so that by whatever possible means He might help as many as possible, especially those most needy. He reminds me that I’m writing to real people with complex issues that can be discussed and worked through together, not hidden away. He’s not scary, but very welcoming and just takes time to get to know. If you want the world around you to brighten up, then learn from the one Man who truly never put a foot wrong and yet still did much that was very good. So, please ask me about Him anytime, read about Him in the gospels and come along to a Christianity Explored event (www.christianityexplored.org/). Come, see and meet Him for yourself.
PS – Jesus told stories – parables – ways of helping people to understand timeless truths. In some ways, the above is a story of who He was, but it is also amply backed-up by evidence. I’m being creative and describing the details as you would today… for a certain audience. What an amazing story and even better that it’s based on truth and you can know this King Jesus for yourself.