I love the way Jesus taught. To the pride-filled and arrogant who felt threatened by Him the Lord did not pull any punches. He let them know exactly how He felt about their self-seeking ways. Jesus would spell out the truth to them even though that would only stir up more hatred against Him, He would not compromise the message merely to stroke their egos.
Jesus also didn’t hesitate to address the lack of understanding His disciples often displayed. I can relate to the Twelve in this regard. Like me, Jesus had to help them in their confusion many times. I greatly appreciate that the Lord would always do this in love, yet making sure His point was made.
When teaching larger crowds, Jesus often spoke in parables. By doing this, the Lord used things familiar to His audience that would help them to better understand what He was teaching about. In this way, Jesus brought the very kingdom of God to folks in everyday terms they could best relate to.
I could go on, but you get the idea: Jesus, though never changing the truth of what He taught, spoke in ways that intentionally targeted His audience. From my personal experience, I have learned much because of the easy-to-relate to teaching style the Lord employed. I strive to bring this same approach when I am blessed with opportunities to share the Good News.
As awesome as Jesus is, to say He is the only one who teaches within the Scriptures would not be accurate. The follies, struggles and successes of the characters mentioned in the Good Book all provide us much to learn from. The list is far to extensive to get into here, suffice it to say almost anywhere you look in the Bible, you can find a person experiencing feelings or going through something similar to what we all have felt or gone through at one time or another.
With this myriad resource material available to us, we might be tempted to say, ‘this ought to be enough, no need to look any further.’ Yet if we stop here, we miss another important lesson; this time from a demon! The Gospel of Mark, Chapter 5 verses 6-7 are a case in point:
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? (NIV)
A brief background of what is going on here: After miraculously calming the rough seas they were on; Jesus and His disciples had just come ashore in the region of the Gerasenes. The ‘he’ mentioned in verse 6 is a man described as having an evil spirit. He lived alone in the tombs above where they had landed their boat. This man was reportedly violent and extremely strong as the bible says that no chains could hold him.
Looking again at the two verses above from Mark, I see at least four things I (we) can learn from this disturbed soul’s actions. First, he saw Jesus from a distance and recognized who He was. Maybe he had witnessed the miracle of the sea suddenly becoming calm from his vantage point, or perhaps the demon within him knew intuitively who Jesus was. Either way, he acted in a way I would like to think I would if I saw the Lord; that is to run to Him. He didn’t stroll or amble, he beat feet to come before Jesus.
The next teaching moment comes when this man reaches Jesus: he falls on his knees in an act of homage. Though more powerful than any human, this supernatural being is fully aware of the greatest power there is and reacts accordingly. The demon’s act of respect is a strong reminder for all of us that no matter where we ‘make it’ to in life, we must always pay the respect due or Creator, without whom we would never achieve anything eternally worthwhile.
Thirdly, this evil entity proclaims aloud who he knows Jesus to be: Son of the Most High God. For those reading this verse closely, you’ll see that he makes this proclamation at the top of his voice. I’m not saying we all have to go around shouting to the world who we know Jesus to be, but I will suggest that as we do share this awesome news, we do it with some excitement in our voice. This is no hum-hum announcement appearing on your news feed, rather it is the telling that the Son of God is indeed alive and still saving souls. Shouldn’t that raise our decibel levels some?
Lastly for this time, our demoniac asks Jesus a question that ought to be on every believer’s lips each day: “What do you want with me, Jesus?” I realize that the man in question asked this selfishly, but why can’t we use this same query in our times of prayer? It is a fitting conclusion to all we have seen so far: Recognize who Jesus is, run to Him, fall down in reverence before Him proclaiming to all who He is. This puts us in the perfect posture to then ask of the Lord of Lords what His will is for us today, be it in the moment or season of life. For me, I know I am best able to hear from Him when I am most fully aware of who I am in relation to Him. That is, created to Creator. I need and want Him and my desire is to live this out each day. Confused about what God’s will is for you? Ask: What do you want of me today Jesus?
I conclude today with a shout-out to all the teachers recorded in the bible (including the demon-possessed). Thanks for sharing your life and experiences with me, the lessons have been helpful thus far and I look forward to learning so much more in the days to come!