Several years ago a study was done in Colorado in which 3000 high school seniors were asked about their best teachers. From their responses this four-fold composite was drawn.
The ideal teacher….
(1) is genuinely concerned and interested in students as individuals;
(2) requires students to work;
(3) is impartial in dealing with students; and
(4) is obviously enthusiastic about teaching.
These characteristics remind me a quote by William A. Ward who wrote, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
By any definition the greatest of all teachers was Jesus Christ. Over 40 times in the Gospel accounts Jesus is called “Teacher.”
Jesus’ goal as a Teacher was not his own self-aggrandizement, but he was focused on molding and mentoring his followers into faithful disciples. In Luke 6:40 Jesus said, “A student is not above his teacher but every pupil when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Jesus desires for his disciples to become like him. To adopt his ideas. Character. Attitudes. And behaviors.
Training is necessary is to become like “The Teacher.” “Bill Hull said that discipleship is “the intentional training of disciples, with accountability, on the basis of loving relationships.” While there is a personal accountability for our growth, there is also a collective obligation. But this takes time. Effort. Energy. Study. It’s not accidental. Or haphazard. It’s done on purpose. With intentionality.
When we are trained to be His disciples at least seven things should occur.
(1) We learn. Jesus said, “It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught of God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me” (Jn 6:45). By definition a disciple is “one who is a pupil or learner, the adherent of the doctrines of another.” A disciple is a student who is a constant and continual learner.
(2) We follow. The call of Christ to Philip was “follow me” (John 1:23). This was the same appeal to Peter. Andrew. James. And John. A faithful disciple follows the object of his discipline. Spiritual disciples who call themselves Christians, follow Christ.
(3) We humbly serve others. Jesus admonished his disciples, “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:26-28).
Disciples serve. Minister. Get on their knees if necessary. Get their hands dirty. And don’t worry about who’s the greatest!
(4) We love one another. Following the last Supper Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
How did Jesus love? Selflessly. Sacrificially. Unconditionally. Patrick Morely was right when he wrote. “The height of our love for God will never exceed the depth of our love for one another”
(5) We are Committed to Christ. How committed? To what extent? Jesus plainly teaches in Luke 14:23-26 that our commitment must be complete. Total. Absolute. Committed above possessions. Committed above family ties. Committed above trials. Even committed above one’s very own life.
(6) We bear fruit. Jesus’ discourse, on the way to the cross, about the vine and the branches clearly teach that He expects us to be more than faithful. We must be fruitful. He said,“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, so you will be my disciples.”
(7) We train Others. Jesus taught his disciples to become mentors to others like he was to them. The principle was passed on by Paul to his young protégé Timothy. “The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”(2 Tim. 2:2)
Be Jesus’ disciple. Let him mentor you. Mold you. And make you what He wants you to be. Then pass it on.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman