Some officers of the Jews admitted, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46). Amen! The Lord Jesus truly was the greatest teacher in history.

As a person, the Christ was sinless (Hebrews 4:15). As a communicator, His ability to connect with people and express the truth is unmatchable. We stand in awe of both His character and teaching prowess. What made Jesus such a great teacher?

 He used examples/illustrations to which people could relate. He spoke about birds (Matthew 6:26), sheep (Luke 15:1-7), a vineyard (Matthew 21:33- 41), and a father with two sons (Luke 15:11-32).

 He showed compassion on others, and people noticed it. His compassion helped Him connect with “real people.” He showed pity on a widow (Luke 7:11-13), a hungry multitude (Mark 8:1,2), the sick (Matthew 14:14), and lost sheep (Matthew 9:36). This was obvious: Jesus cared about people (Mark 10:21).

 He practiced what He preached: consistency of message and life. He taught and practiced the Father’s will (John 6:38; Luke 22:42). He taught and practiced “the Golden Rule” (Matthew 7:12). He taught and practiced loving your enemies (Matthew 5:44).

 He could relate to and connect with people from a wide variety of backgrounds/places in society. Common people heard Him gladly (Mark 12:37). He connected with a Jewish ruler (John 3:1- 7), a despised tax collector (Luke 19), and entire families (John 11:5). He reached out to and invested time with males (Luke 6:12-15) and females alike (Luke 8:2,3).

 He appealed to God’s word as the standard men should follow. He often asked, “Have you not read?” (Matthew 19:4,5). He said man should live by every word that proceeds from God’s mouth (Matthew 4:4). When a man asked Him about eternal life, Jesus asked him, “What is written in the law?” (Luke 10:26). At every turn, the Master emphasized the need to turn to God’s word for proper guidance and instruction.

 His ultimate goal/objective in teaching went beyond imparting information and having His listeners learn facts. Those two matters are part of the learning process, but there is more to it. The Christ wanted those who heard His doctrine to make the right choices so they could live with God forever! He appealed to them to take the path that leads to eternal life by doing the Father’s will (Matthew 7:13,14,21). He made it clear that if one gains the whole world but loses his soul, that is a failed life (Matthew 16:26).

 He was flexible/adaptive in His teaching, ready to teach in a variety of settings. We might say He had a portable classroom/pulpit. We see him teaching one person (like Nicodemus, John 3), teaching small groups, and teaching large crowds of people. He taught in the temple, in synagogues, on a mountain top, at the sea side, and in a boat. At times, He taught in every single village in a particular area (Luke 8:1). We see Him teaching in private houses: it could be a friend’s home, but it might be a Pharisee’s.

 He successfully used a wide variety of teaching approaches. In some cases, the Christ’s method of communication was like, “I talk, you listen.” At other times He taught via a back-and-forth conversation. He asked questions. He answered questions. He answered questions with His own questions. He spoke to people in general, but He also spoke to specific people. He employed symbolic language such as parables. In other cases, He spoke literally, as when He said God made humans male and female (Mark 10:6).

 He touched people’s lives. He was not merely an instructor . . . He made a difference in their lives. See how he touched the life of Peter’s mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14,15). People came to Him in non- classroom settings. He was a blessing to their lives.

He encouraged, even challenged His listeners to think/reason for themselves. He believed in folks’ ability to listen, digest, and reason. Remember when He asked about John’s baptism being from heaven or men? (Matthew 21:25).

 He took into account the learning level/ability of His listeners. He told His apostles that He had many things to tell them, but they were not ready to bear them (John 16:12). Effective teachers recognize that.

One final thought: our Lord always taught the truth, regardless of the audience or the possible responses people might have. In the spiritual realm, good teachers are committed to teaching God’s truth. And, good teachers strive to teach like Jesus did!

— Roger D. Campbell