I Cor.. 16:9 ‘For a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
September 15, 2012
Rabbi Jesus — Master Teacher
Figures of Speech
Figures of speech enliven a language. Jesus was masterful in using them. This style of His lends itself to learning. Think of His use of the following figures of speech that gave images to retain in the mind to learn from.
  • Simile – This says one thing is ‘like’ another. “How often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings…” Mt. 23:37
  • Metaphor – This makes a comparison by saying the one ‘is’ the other. “Go and tell that fox(Herod…”Lk. 13:32
  • Synecdoche – This figure puts a part for a whole or a whole for a part. We pray for “daily bread” but mean for everything we need each day.
  • Personification – This makes something like a person or possessing a personality. “The wind blows where it wills.” Jn. 3:8
  • Euphemism – This uses a milder term for a harsher one. “Sleep” is death. Mk. 5:39
  • Hyperbole – This is an exaggeration for an effect or an overstatement. Unless we understand how Jesus used this so often we can easily misunderstand. “You blind guides, that strain out a gnat, but swallow a camel!” Mt. 23:24
And there are more that He used to make His teaching a picture to be kept in mind. Of course His parables are extended similes. “No man ever taught like Him.” The thrust of so many parables was the kingdom of God, not an earthly kingdom, but a rule in the heart by our Lord. Do we try to do all we can to convey to our hearers the truths of His Word? We do not have the wisdom of God but we do have His Spirit through the Word. Do we try to use stories as Jesus did to convey simple truths? We are not the Master, though we can learn from Him.
The parables were right out of life. As you saw the life situation, it could then remind you of Jesus spiritual teaching. The parables helped in being hooks upon which He would hang a spiritual truth. For those who do not have faith they need to be explained by us. But for those who have the touchstone of faith we remember what the lilies, and birds were to convey. How many of His parables do you remember?
Our Lord taught with many parables.  We should assume that He also taught others. What about us? Do we try to use earthly stories to get across to people spiritual truths? As people see the things we talk about of this earth, they can then remember the spiritual truths we attached to these earthly things. We merely follow the example of our great Rabbi Jesus.
Rabbi Jesus – Master Teacher
His Sermons
There are three lengthy sermons or dissertations recorded for us: 1) The Sermon on the Mt. – Mt. 5-7, 2) The Mt. Of Olives Address – Mt. 24-25, 3) The Maundy Thursday Evening Teaching – Jn. 14-16(with His High Priestly Prayer in Jn. 17). To try to learn from these is like dipping a bucket into a lake and drawing out some water. There is so much more. This depth is a mark of His teaching also.
The Sermon on the Mount begins with the beatitudes which each start with the word for ‘happy’. This reminds us that our purpose is ultimately to give joy to people as we teach them the Word. This is not a happiness like the wicked world gives centered on self and riches.
In the sermon our Lord makes bold statements using the figure of speech – hyperbole. “When you pray you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to pray…go into your room and shut the door…” Mt. 6:5-6 Our Lord is not saying we should not pray publicly, but in contradistinction to the hypocrites He says this. And throughout His sermon He is attacking hypocrisy. It is like a hammer shattering glass. Nothing can remain intact. The personal lesson for each of us is to take the log out of our own eye before we help to take the spec out of our brother’s.
The Lord’s Prayer is succinct and to the point. It gives us a ratio we should well look to in our prayers of one petition for physical and material and six for the spiritual. He uses contrasts throughout: wide and narrow 7:13-14, light and darkness 6:22-23, God and mammon 6:24. His teaching of humility in alms, prayer and fasting is a solid standard. And He concludes His sermon with a parable of two houses that we can all easily remember. 7:24-27 In this brief perusal it is easy to see how the crowds were astonished at His teaching. Mt. 7:28
His Mount of Olives Address is during Holy Week. While He is near the end of His service on earth for us, He teaches of the end things through prophetic perspective. We of course cannot prophesy future events, yet from what He says we should reiterate. There would be those immediate judgments like the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. There would be the wars, famines, earthquakes until the end. 24:7-8 And ultimately there will be the final judgment. We need to be willing to tell it like it is. He tells of not only judgments but of tribulation and the spread of false teaching. We are to endure the one and combat the other.
The parable of the ten virgins says to be always ready for His return. 25:1-13 It is a black and white contrast with 5 and 5. In verses 14-30 He teaches that we should use what God has given us and then comes contrast again with on the one hand even more will be given and on the other even what one has will be taken away.
He relates the past with Noah to the future of the last days. The past is prologue to the future. Learn from it or repeat its mistakes.
In His Maundy Thursday Evening teaching He gives a behind the scenes look at how the Spirit will be at work. Jn. 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 16:7-11, 13-14 There is no fuller exposition on the theology of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament than here. What comfort for disciples then and now to know He gives us utterance. This long time of teaching is when He was about to go forth to arrest and execution. A lesson for us that if He would teach at such a time, so should we. What He would face personally would not get in the way of His teaching.
In 14:19 there is the clear warning of what His followers would face. Do we give such clear warning? In 15:1f. we have His parable of the vine which points up how we are totally dependent on Him as branches are on the vine. Do we give such stark pictures that all depends on our possessing God’s abundant grace and blessing in Christ? And then in chapter 17 we have His High Priestly Prayer with the spiritual uppermost. Do we pray before we teach, while we are teaching that we get through to people, and after that they remember?
In all of His teaching there are so many points to learn from Him. Here are just a few.
Really reach out with the Word to those beyond the ones who love you and in turn you love.
Pay attention to people and be interested. Why should they listen to you if you don’t listen to them?
Leave a clear witness with something to think about.
Study the Word and consider illustrations to get your points across.
Try to establish a common ground for a relationship and a willing ear.
End your teaching on a positive note if at all possible.
When condemning hypocrisy, don’t be hypocritical yourself.
Demonstrate your love in words and in deeds.
Work to change the conversation from the mundane to the spiritual.
Speak the law to convict of sin, and the Gospel to convince of salvation.
Build on the religious knowledge that the people have.
To the impenitent leave the law with its barbs.
Be clear in presenting the contrasts of Christ and mammon, etc.
Be patient knowing the Spirit will work in His own time.
And pray about the teachable moment, being specific, before, during and after.
Pastor David Koenig