9 Characteristics of Jesus as a Teacher
When Jesus began his earthly ministry, he introduced to the world a mission that focused on three basic principles. Christ came into the world not only to be the Savior, but he also came to be
The New Testament is very clear about the characteristics of Jesus.
Here are 9 characteristics of Jesus as a teacher, as they are recorded in the Gospels.
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Taught With Power
Jesus began his ministry by engaging people in the synagogue as a public teacher. This was an activity open to any layman who was competent to teach.
Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. – Matthew 4:23
The public teaching of Jesus, in the Gospel of Matthew, was surrounded by his healing ministry. During his teaching ministry, Christ also healed the multitudes of every kind of problem. This teaching/healing ministry also addressed the spiritual world of the demons.
In all of his teaching and healing exercises, the main foundational truth that Jesus was promoting was a simple one.
“Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them.” Matthew 4:23-24
Jesus Was a Teacher Whose Teaching Was Unique
The Sermon on the Mount is one of the New Testament’s greatest leadership lesson plans.
When Jesus was speaking to this mass of people he was reflecting upon the group dynamics. (connect to Sermon on the Mount). Jesus had the ability to share a lesson that could be understood by adults and children alike.
The teaching style of Jesus held the attention of those he was speaking to. Matthew wrote,
“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching…” Matthew 7:28
The teaching style of Jesus drew the attention of massive crowds. His style was also one that showed he had authority.
“The common people were astonished. He was not a scribe. He had no religious credentials. Yet he spoke like a king. His sayings were a new Sinai. The scribes quoted authorities; he spoke with authority. They loved tradition, and no rabbi won a hearing unless he could prove that his word was based on past wisdom; so the scribes drew stale water from closed cisterns. But the words of Jesus were like a spring, clear, fresh, with power to slake the soul’s thirst.” (The Interpreter’s Bible, New Testament Articles, Matthew and Mark, page 335)
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Taught at Various Places to Various People
The ministry of Jesus was one that covered a variety of territories. Those areas included Galilee, Judea, Samaria, Perea, and Decapolis (“ten cities”).
His ministry was forced to move away from his hometown and into other areas due to a lack of faith, trust and belief in him. Matthew tells about this event in his Gospel (Matthew 15:38). However, Mark tells it in a much stronger fashion.
“Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.” – Mark 6:1-6
The Gospel writing Luke also speaks of Jesus’ traveling ministry.
Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. – Luke 13:22
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Taught With Compassion
Legalism and living by the letter of the Jewish law were powerfully present during the ministry of Jesus. Compassion took a second place to the law. However, this was not the strategy of Jesus. His ministry was one of compassion.
Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”
Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.
He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus. – Mark 3:1-6
Jesus did not separate his compassion from his ministry or his teaching.
“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. – Mark 6:34
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Could Teach Scholars
The parables of Jesus are strong examples of how Jesus had the ability to teach to the young, simple and uneducated. His ability to teach was also recognized by the highly educated teachers of the first century.
“One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick.” – Luke 5:17
Jesus Was A Teacher Who Taught by Placing People First
“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” 13 Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue leader said to the people, “There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.”
The Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?”
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” – Luke 13:10-17
Jesus Was A Teacher Who Challenged His Followers
“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
“Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” – Matthew 14:22-33
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Taught With Authority and Purpose
On several occasions Jesus was approached and questioned about his authority as a leader. Jesus was questioned about his authority in the Gospel of Luke.
“One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him. “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things,” they said. “Who gave you this authority?”
He replied, “I will also ask you a question. Tell me: John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ all the people will stone us, because they are persuaded that John was a prophet.”
So they answered, “We don’t know where it was from.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” – Luke 20:1-8
Jesus Was a Teacher Who Taught His Disciples to Talk to God
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1
In the Gospel of Luke and Matthew, Jesus teaches his disciples how they should pray to God. Here is the familiar “Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew chapter 6.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9-13)
This prayer that Jesus taught his disciples had 6 foundations to build upon
- Honor the God of Creation
- Ask for God’s Kingdom to come to earth
- Request God to supply today’s needs
- Ask to be forgiven of acts of sin with a qualification: As we forgive those who sin against us.
- Direct us away from temptation
- Protect us from evil
These 9 characteristics of Jesus, as a teacher, can encourage and inspire anyone who finds themselves in a leadership role. His example of teaching can help everyone from a parent to a CEO.