BROOKS: Jesus serves as the teacher of life

Published 10:02 pm Monday, August 7, 2017

By Michael Brooks | Brooks is the pastor of Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster and a weekly contributor to The Selma Times-Journal.

The reformer Martin Luther said his mother would wake him up for school when he was a boy by knocking on one of the posters on his high poster bed. “Martin,” she said, “get up. It’s morning.”

Luther later said this is what will happen on resurrection day. Jesus will knock on his casket and say, “Martin, it’s morning. Get up.”

My mother did something similar, but wasn’t quite as theologically profound as Mrs. Luther. She’d come in singing, “School days, school days, dear old golden rule days.” I grew up hating those lyrics.

I have appreciation for wonderful teachers I had in those school days. All of us have fingerprints on our souls left by teachers who taught us the metrics of life, but also taught us the meaning of life. Jesus was the master teacher. The Jewish people called him “rabbi” which means “teacher.”

He said, “Come to me and learn from me” (Matthew 11: 28-30). Jesus came to teach us about God. The greatest question humanity asks is “what is God like?” And our greatest quest is “how can I find him?” The Christian message is that God took the initiative and came to us.

“The word became flesh and dwelt among us,” said the gospel writer John (John 1:14). And Jesus said, “He that has seen me has seen the father” (John 14:9). Jesus came to teach us about life. Most of his teaching had to do with everyday living.

He taught about choices, exhorting us to seek God’s kingdom first and trust that God will make everything else fall into proper order (Matthew 6:33). He taught us about forgiveness, making our forgiveness from God dependent on the forgiveness we offer to others (Matthew 6: 14-15). And he taught us about service, telling us that the greatest is not the one with many servants, but the one who serves (Matthew 23:11). We serve others because we love God and want to follow the example of Jesus.

Jesus came to teach us about heaven. He said surprisingly little about the physical nature of heaven. It is John in Revelation who gave us photos of heaven: gates of pearl, walls of jasper, streets of gold and the fountain of life-giving water. Jesus seemed not as concerned about this.

He basically taught that heaven is where God is. Our innate search for God is finally satisfied through being with him in eternity.

Jesus further taught that he himself is the way to heaven (John 14:6).

Peter may or may not be the gatekeeper, but Jesus is the key. Without him we have no hope of heaven. We follow him safely into eternity.