A Disciple Like His Teacher


“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40)

The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 includes the words “…teaching them to observe all things I have commanded…” Disciple-making, clearly, revolves around imparting Bible knowledge, sound doctrine, and fitting application. Teaching, much like a spider, weaves a web of doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Focusing on Jesus Christ and his own teaching ministry gives insights about his role. As his disciples we are being trained to become like him our Teacher.

The crowds were astonished with Jesus because he taught with authority. That reference to his authority speaks of his method of teaching without having to quote the accepted rabbinic traditions of his time. So true. 

But there’s more.

He demonstrated faithfulness to be a student before his Father—his sinless life matched His words. Holiness as Teacher.

He quoted and exposited the Old Testament. He rooted his claims about his own person and work in the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. Submission to Scripture as Teacher.

He cried out at times in a loud voice to teach and to proclaim; and at times, he refused to answer a question. Conviction in his teaching. 

He taught during informal occasions—on mountainsides, at the waterfront, privately, at night, while walking, with crowds engrossed in their hubbub. Redeeming the time, in the ordinary, as Teacher.

He harnessed a range of methods—parables, illustrations, metaphors, lectures, handling objects, discussions, reviewing a lesson, preaching, scratching in the dirt, reading, citing quotes, referring to songs, comparisons, and direct confrontation. Engaged others according to their abilities to learn.

Jesus was known as Teacher—there are 45 times or more when people used that title to speak to him. 

Jesus carried out his own Great Commission. Watch what he covers:  physical needs (Matt. 6), the Sabbath (Matthew 12), the threat of materialism (Luke 12), the law (Matthew 5), the poor, wealth, and giving (Mark 10), the role of Satan (Luke 11), prayer (Matthew 6), atrocities and physical harm (Luke 13), the end of the Old Testament era (Mark 13), warnings about false teachers (Matthew 23), and much, much more. Moreover, he drives home the character of God by underscoring his benevolence and generosity, control of all things, lofty holiness, stunning power, abiding presence, penetrating truth, all-encompassing wisdom, and the coming judgment. And no question, Jesus highlights the love of God—it’s what enflames the heart.  We remember Jesus who gives ear to a Samaritan woman, washes the filthy feet of his close friends, receives and restores a companion who had flaked out by denying he knew him, heals the cast-out distressed cripple, and then there’s the ultimate of the self-abasing love as our substitute going to the cross to satisfy God’s justice regarding our sin. He spoke of love and lived it—that’s the mark of faithful teaching. His life matches his words.

Looking at the role of Jesus as teacher urges us to submit to him, to listen to his instruction, place our faith in him, and go the whole way of following him. As we listen and follow, we long to be fully trained in order to be like him.