The Master Teacher: Christ's Method

Christ’s teaching was simplicity itself. He taught as one having authority. The Jews looked for and claimed that the first advent of Christ should be with all the representations of glory which should attend His second advent. The great Teacher proclaimed the truth to humanity, many of whom could not be educated in the schools of the rabbis, neither in Greek philosophy. Jesus uttered truth in a plain, direct manner, giving vital force and impressiveness to all His utterances. Had He raised His voice to an unnatural key, as is customary with many preachers in this day, the pathos and melody of the human voice would have been lost and much of the force of the truth destroyed. 

The key of knowledge in Christ’s day had been taken away by those who should have held it to unlock the treasure house of wisdom in the Old Testament Scriptures. The rabbis and teachers had virtually shut up the kingdom of heaven from the poor and the afflicted, and left them to perish. In His discourses Christ did not bring many things before them at once, lest He might confuse their minds. He made every point clear and distinct. He did not disdain the repetition of old and familiar truths in prophecies if they would serve His purpose to inculcate ideas. 

Christ was the originator of all the ancient gems of truth. Through the work of the enemy these truths had been displaced. They had been disconnected from their true position and placed in the framework of error. Christ’s work was to re-adjust and establish the precious gems in the framework of truth. The principles of truth which had been given by Himself to bless the world had, through Satan’s agency, been buried and had apparently become extinct. Christ rescued them from the rubbish of error, gave them a new, vital force, and commanded them to shine as precious jewels and stand fast forever. Christ Himself could use any of these old truths without borrowing the smallest particle for He had originated them all. He had cast them into the minds and thoughts of each generation, and when He came to our world, He re-arranged and vitalized the truths which had become dead, making them more forcible for the benefit of future generations. It was Jesus Christ who had the power of rescuing the truths from the rubbish and again giving them to the world with more than their original freshness and power. 

As Christ presented these truths to minds, He broke up their accustomed train of thought as little as possible. Nevertheless a new and transforming economy of truth must be woven into their experience. He, therefore, aroused their minds by presenting truth through the agency of their most familiar associations. He used illustrations in His teaching which called into activity their most hallowed recollections and sympathies, that He might reach the inner temple of the soul. Identifying Himself with their interests, He drew His illustrations from the great book of nature, using objects with which they were familiar. The lily of the field, the seed sown by the sower, the springing up of the seed, and the harvesting of the grain, the birds of the air, all these figures He used from which to present divine truth, for these would remind them of His lessons whenever they should afterward look upon them. 1890, par. 11

He inculcated the idea into the minds of His disciples that the amount of divine care given any object in nature is proportionate to the rank which that object occupies in the world of God’s creation, and that His higher care for them shows the higher regard He has for man formed after the divine similitude. “If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven, how much more shall he clothe you, O ye of little faith?” [Matthew 6:30.] Man has not been forgotten of God. In the volume of His book the page given to man contains his whole history, even to the numbering of the hairs of his head. 

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Many truths necessary to be known are hidden like precious ore in the mines which must be diligently and perseveringly worked in order for the precious treasure to be discovered. Truths essential for us to know lie too deeply buried to be discovered by unaided human reason. God speaks to our senses in His created works. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” [Psalm 19:1.] The soul enlightened by inspiration can see the greatness and power of God in His created works. 

The Lord Jesus awakens an interest in man by encouraging him to draw nigh and become acquainted with His character. “This is life eternal that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3.] We do not contemplate as we should the character of God. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] 

Although Satan has misinterpreted God’s purposes, falsified His character, and caused man to look upon God in a false light, yet through the ages God’s love for man has never ceased. Christ’s work was to reveal the Father as merciful, compassionate, full of goodness, and truth. The character of Christ represented the character of God. The only begotten Son of God sweeps back the hellish shadow in which Satan has enveloped the Father, and declares, “I and my Father are one [John 10:30]; look on me and behold God.” 

Through every hour, through all ages, God’s love stands revealed as without a parallel. When the fullness of time was come, a suitable channel was prepared in Christ Jesus, through whom the streams of heavenly grace could be poured into the world. God so loved man that He made a gift to the world which defies all computation. That the abundance of His grace should be revealed, He could not give less than the fullness, nor was it possible for Him to give more. 

                               --Ellen G White, Manuscript 25, 1890