THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST
by Wayne S. Walker
Homer Hailey wrote in Internal Evidences of Christianity (p. 38), "Jesus Christ stands before us as the great Miracle of the ages….The whole of Christianity rests, not upon a philosophy or body of dogmas, but upon a Divine person, the Christ Himself. Jesus assigned to the moral evidences of His divine mssion the first place in point of importance, and to what are commonly designated His miracles the second place….In these lessons we are considering characteristics and peculiarities of Jesus which set Him apart from other men, convincing us that He is the Christ, the Son of God in an extraordinary sense. In this article we consider His peculiarities as a teacher, which differentiate Him from men." Thus, this article will examine the teaching of Jesus as evidence that He was more than a mere man because He was the greatest teacher who ever walked this earth (Mark 1:21-22).
Jesus’s method of thought differences Him from men. Consider how men work in their teachings. The philosopher looks at the wisdom of the ages, but the Bible warns us against human philosophy (Colossians 2:8). The psychologist looks inwardly to study the human mind, but the Bible says that God’s thoughts are not man’s thoughts (Isaiah 44:8-9). The scientist looks at the facts of our physical universe to develop theories some of which have been true while others false, but the Bible cautions us against that which is falsely called science (1 Timothy 6:20-21). The theologian looks at the various religious traditions of earth to learn from them, but the Bible says that traditions often transgress God’s will (Matthew 15:1-3). However, Jesus never worked in any of these ways, but simply pointed men to God and to His divine revelation (Matthew 11:25-27).
Also, Jesus’s method of teaching differences Him from men. He did not resort to rigorous logic to prove His points, but simply pointed to illustrations that confirmed the truth of God, as when He talked about the lilies of the field and the birds of the air as evidence of God’s providential care for us (Matthew 6:25-29). He did not use big words that would make Him sound erudite but spoke with simplicity so that even the common people could understand Him (Mark 12:37). And He possessed a divine calm as He taught. Many of us, when our beliefs are challenged, become excited, even sometimes to the point of getting upset and angry. But Jesus merely spoke the truth from God with assurance and then walked away rather than become involved in a verbal brawl (see John 8:56-59).
Then, the nature of Jesus’s teaching differences Him from men. He taught with authority because, unlike the rabbis who appealed to tradition, He always appealed directly to the scriptures and, through them, to God (John 5:39). He was never at a loss or appeared hesitant because He knew His mission (Luke 19:10). Also, He knew the hearts of men (John 2:24-25). And He knew all of this because He knew God in the fullest and most complete sense (John 5:17-18). In addition, His teaching was complete, providing everything that man needs (John 1:16-18). Furthermore, His teaching was not merely an intellectual exercise, but was directed toward the conscience of man in preparation for the final judgment (John 12:48). Most important of all, unlike any other man, His life fully measured up to His teaching (John 8:46).
Therefore, based on the evidence that we have available to us, we must conclude that the teachings of Christ are different. He did not spend a lot of time and effort philosophizing about the origin of God or of evil or of other such things to satisfy the curiosity of mankind. He simply revealed the will of God, telling us what God wants us to do to overcome evil. Just teaching truth does not prove one divine, because other inspired men taught truth through the power of the Spirit. However, Jesus also claimed to be God’s Son, so the truthfulness of His teaching supports His claim. Atticus Haygood wrote in The Man of Galilee (p. 22), "But in these respects, as in so many others, Jesus is utterly unlike the philosophers and scientists and theologians. He does not in the least seek the end that mere men seek." As all colors combine to make the pure white light, so the teachings of Jesus combine with all the other evidences to convince us that He is the divine Son of God. (—taken from With All Boldness; March, 2001; Vol. 11, No. 3; p. 5)