In this day and age, when a person desires to learn something new or become skilled in a particular field, he will seek some form of educational institution, be it a college or technical school, master’s program or certification. Years are spent, reports are written and book after book is studied, all to gain the desired knowledge.
But in ancient times, a different form of learning took place. Students lived with their teachers, learning directly from watching their lives, pulling valuable lessons and asking necessary questions from daily events. The home was the classroom; the textbook was living examples and events of the day.
Look through the Gospels and you will see that this is the way Jesus taught His disciples. Through everyday events, Jesus revealed what the Father God was like. Whatever came His way became His teaching material—a child’s illness, a crowd of hungry people, the woman caught in adultery, the disciples’ dusty feet or a confrontation by the high priest’s troops.
Jesus’ reason for taking 12 men to be His disciples was to teach them—through His example and the events of life—how to live like Him and do what He did. And the Bible shows how effective He was in that. Consider the time when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them: “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray . . .’ ” (Luke 11:1, NIV). And Jesus taught them!
But the teaching was not an end in itself. It was not knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but rather to spur them into action. And that’s just what happened—“Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits . . . . They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them” (Mark 6:7, 12–13, NIV).
Up until this point, all the disciples had known were fishing nets and village life. Yet now they were doing the very works of Jesus! Later, in the book of Acts, we see how these ordinary men went on to evangelize their entire world, suffering great persecution yet enduring until the end. Think of where they began. How were they able to do what they did and make such an incredible impact on their world? I believe it is only because they saw Jesus. They walked with Him. They watched His life. They saw His passion. They saw His humility and His great love portrayed in so many ways, time and time again. And they were changed by what they saw. Changed forever.
Jesus desires the same for us today. We are given the accounts of Jesus’ life not just for the sake of knowing how He lived, but so that we, in seeing Him, might be changed— changed into the very image of Christ. Then we, like the disciples, can go and live for Him, suffer for Him and make a lasting difference on our world.
If your heart is open and you desire to journey with Him, He will teach you who He is and His ways through the very events of your own life. Receive His invitation today.
© 2003, 2004 by KP Yohannan, the president and founder of Gospel for Asia. It was written with the intention of encouraging and edifying the Body of Christ. To learn more about Gospel for Asia or to receive additional free resources, visit Gospel for Asia’s website.