How Did Jesus Teach?
The teaching mode of the Savior was varied.
One of His most common was story telling. These stories are often called parables. Jesus used parables to reach people on different levels. Jesus often used the story to hold His audience’s attention. After the story was told, it was frequently explained. Other times He used them to keep those who did not come with honest intent from learning things He may have wanted to keep spiritual.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Jesus Christ also taught through sermons, as do ministers today. He would gather those who came to hear Him, or sometimes just a select few, and teach them important truths using a variety of methods—stories, sayings, instruction, and warnings or promises. He never tiptoed around the truth during these sermons.
Jesus also taught spontaneously or arranged an informal teaching moment. For instance, when He came upon the woman taken in adultery, He was able to teach a lesson in only one sentence, when He suggested that the person who was without sin be the first to stone this woman for her own sin. The men understood the message and went away, ashamed of themselves.
However, Jesus wasn’t finished teaching. He then spoke with the woman. He told her He didn’t judge her, giving her an important message about her worth before God. Then He instructed her to give up her sins.
When Martha and Mary had Jesus as a guest in their home, Martha fussed in the kitchen, making a special meal for their honored guest. She became frustrated because her sister, instead of helping, sat at Jesus’ feet, being taught the gospel. Martha asked Jesus to intervene, and He most likely startled her by suggesting that at this particular moment, Mary was choosing the better part.
He wasn’t undermining the need to feed people or care for the home. He was teaching a lesson about choosing your priorities based on the moment. Jesus didn’t care about a fancy meal. He generally lived simply.
These powerful lessons were delivered without planning, as the moment arose. He demonstrates to us the importance of being ready to teach at a moment’s notice, taking advantage of what is going on at a given moment.
Jesus’ most powerful teaching might be the lessons He taught by example. He made a point of living the way He wants us to live. When He was asked why He would be baptized, when He was perfect, He reminded them that everyone was to be baptized. He never exempted Himself from the everyday laws of the gospel.
When a group of children were brought to see the Savior at the end of a busy day, the apostles wanted to send them away, because Jesus was tired. However, the Savior called them over and spent important time talking to them and blessing them. He demonstrated through his actions that children mattered, and that a parent or a teacher, no matter how tired or busy he might be, needed to find the time to spend with the children, and most particularly to find time to teach them the gospel.
Another way Jesus taught was through miracles. His miracles demonstrated He really was sent by God, but they often taught a lesson, as well. He healed people no one else bothered to respect or worry about. He healed lepers, who were kept away from others. He healed the blind, who, in those days, were generally relegated to begging. He healed the poor and the rich alike.
Through these healings of people considered unimportant, He taught us how to treat others. He helped us to understand our responsibility isn’t just to those in our social circle or economic class, but to everyone. By doing so, He gave dignity and importance to those who are often overlooked.
These teaching methods demonstrate many of the ways we can teach others in our own lives. Jesus was the master teacher, and His stories are made available to us as an example to follow.