You should not call anybody Rabbi, for one is your instructor, namely the Messiah, and you are all brothers. (Matthew 23:8 Author’s Translation)*
For, the grace of God (the salvation of all men) has appeared, training us, so that, renouncing ungodliness and worldly desires, we would live wise, righteous, and godly lives in this present age. (Titus 2:11 Author’s Translation)
Jesus and Paul agree. Jesus came to instruct people in God’s ways. He came to do more, but he never intended to do less. I have no intention of dealing with the tension of Scripture concerning God assigning some to be teachers in the church, but I do want to show that Jesus came to teach God’s ways to man.
For anybody to live under Christ’s rule, they must, absolutely must see him as their Teacher.
This means that learning from Jesus Christ matters. He is our instructor and teacher, he desires to train his people, but not merely with information or facts, but with the daily practice of living under his rule. This requires these things (among others):
- To believe Jesus Christ, not merely about him, not merely in him.
- To learn from Jesus Christ, not merely about him, but what he said and modeled for us.
- To be trained by Jesus Christ, not merely in knowledge, but in the experience of obeying him in the mundane details of our lives.
- To realize when we fail, or worse sin against him, that though we want him away from us for we are sinners, he still says, “Follow me. (Luke 5:8-10)” In other words, he not only trains us in righteous, but that he is our righteousness.
To learn from Jesus is the project of the whole church, but it is also the project of the individual. No rule or authority in life is absolute except that of Jesus Christ, we would do well to be his students.
*I am aware of the text variant, but I cannot think of a good reason to add, “the Christ” there, the context makes it too evident for somebody to gloss it. But an omission because it seems redundant with the next sentence makes sense. Either way, the meaning is preserved.