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Thursday: The Master Teacher’s First Pupils — 7 Comments

  1. I grew up on a small farm in New Zealand. We had a couple of hundred sheep and about fifty dairy cows (and a mean bad-tempered bull). There were a lot of creeks (small streams) intersecting the property, and a small river (Waimapu R) was our back boundary. Often those creeks were the "fences" for our paddocks. The idea being that cows and sheep do not like to swim and if the grass is good they will stay in the paddock. So on the flat part of the farm, paddocks would have creeks on three sides of them say, and an ordinary 7-wire fence along one side.

    One of my tasks after school was to go out to the paddock where the sheep were grazing and do a circuit along the creeks to see if any sheep had fallen in. Now sheep are incredibly stupid and they would find a blade of grass on the other side of the creek that they believed was better than on their side. They would lean across to get the blade of grass and fall into the creek. The creeks weren't deep enough for them to drown but they had steep banks that the sheep could not climb. Further, their wool would get wet and they would weigh a tonne.

    Now I could have walked along the banks of these creeks and called to the sheep to get out of the creek but a) they would not understand a word I was saying and b) they were simply unable to climb out themselves. Typically I had to get into the swampy water and push and pull the sheep until it was on dry land again and well away from the creek so that it did not fall in again.

    The significant part of the story of Jesus that underscores the whole plan of salvation is that he got down into the sin swamp to save us. He did not stand on the high moral ground and call us to be saved. He lived among us and became one of us in order to save us. He did not just tell us how to be saved. That is the big picture that should underscore (or override, depending on your point of view) our theology of salvation.

    For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. Rom 5:7-9 KJV

  2. The Master Teacher's first pupils goes back further than the shepherds doesn't it? Before His incarnation as the Seed of Abraham and son of Mary, He taught Abraham and Isaac how the promised Redeemer would take the condemnation of sin upon Himself, allowing Abraham's seed to be reconciled(If we are Christ's, we are Abraham's seed. Gal 3:28). Even before this the first two human sinners were shown the same sacrifice that would be made FOR them by the promised Seed of the woman. As Paul wrote: "For the grace of God which brings salvation has appeared to ALL men..."(Titus 2:11). Perhaps the shepherds of Bethlehem were among the first of Jesus' incarnation, but what did they believe about this Messiah? Would He save them from sin or the Romans? We don't know, but as His mission advanced by His teaching, it was clear that sin/self was the real enemy of our souls, not the Romans, or the Roman church. Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood.

    What the Master Teacher taught on the Mount of Blessings, was also taught from Sinai, and before this had been passed down by the patriarchs to each generation of the faithful. He has been speaking and still speaks to all through patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and poets.

  3. The thought question from the study guide:

    The Creator of all the universe, which is so big that we cannot grasp it – this God “humbled himself” by coming into humanity, lived as Jesus lived, and then died on the cross, bearing in Himself the punishment for our sins.

    Wow! Not all are teachers but we are all influencers - Jesus' by His life is showing us what that really means, being humble, caring first then guiding, wherever possible treating people with respect and dignity, being aware of the responsibility not to lead any astray by our words or actions.

  4. The lesson writer invites us to think about what the incarnation of Jesus means regarding the character of God. “The Creator of all the universe, ……, this God humbled himself by coming into humanity”, …..”.
    I suggest to take a step back and analyze/understand/give definition to who it is “who humbled himself and came into humanity”. I might be treading on thin ice with my suggested answer, but would appreciate if others consider my thoughts; after all, we are the Master Teacher's pupils.

    John 1:1-4 – tells us that the Word was in the Beginning, was with God and was God. What is this that can be *in*, *with*, and *is* God? From Scripture, we know it by the name Word.
    John 1:14 – tells us that the Word was also made flesh and dwelt among us. The second portion of this verse states that “we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.“
    This tells me that this *Word* has the ability to have a relationship like a Son with his Father; that of a Son reflecting the Father.
    This leads me to conclude that there is an Authority, which Jesus Christ refers to during His time of His earthly ministry as Father.
    John 14:1-7 – Jesus Christ, the Son beloved by His Father, speaks of Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life; (6)..“no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” What do all three hold in common? I suggest this to be the Spirit of God the Father.
    (7) “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.” Jesus Christ does not refer to them seeing the Father represented in His own bodily form, but he speaks to the Father being present, observable, in Him in His Spiritual Form - His Gospel Message.

    So, how can we understand, give form, to the *Word* in its relationship with the Father, and how are we able to see the Father in the Word?

    I believe that all relationships – Father – Son – Holy Spirit – Creation - and the Redeemed are bound together/related through the Trinity’s balance of creative, selfless, eternally present and working principle of the Spirit of selfless Love.

    This, *in the Beginning present, forming and maintaining* Quality is operational and defines the balance in all of Creation. I believe this to be the WORD, the Spirit in which we meet God in Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ meets the Father, and the Father meets us.

    So, my answer to who or what is the Word is: Ultimately, it is the authority vested in the creative power of the Spirit of the Trinity, and manifested for the Salvation-redemption of mankind in the form of the Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ!

    • Thank you Brigitte. In all our discussion of the nature of the Godhead, it is important to emphasise the idea of One God. God's unity is just as important as his trinity.

      My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:29-30 KJV

      • Yes, Maurice - in my understanding Trinity *is * unity. Each ‘one’ is essential to the existence of the Trinity. The identity of the Trinity is derived from each ‘one’ contributing its unique work - each in one God and God in all.
        KJV John10:24-30 - “I and my Father are one” would indicate the Son to be in the Father and the Father in the Son and both in unity with the Holy Spirit in the triune God.
        As I understand it, God the Trinity always engages in collaborating unity with itself.

    • “Think about what the incarnation of Jesus means regarding the character of God”
      What does it mean to me? It shows me that the Triune God wants to communicate with me and reveal Himself to me.
      In times past He sent His message through the prophets but now one of the three persons of the Godhead personally came down to walk and talk with humanity. Heb 1:1,2
      The Son of God became Jesus Christ - the Word – fully human and fully divine – the mystery now revealed to us. John 1:14, Rom 16:25
      Jesus shared with us the words of His Father. John 14:24, John 3:34-35, John 7:16
      Now that Jesus has ascended in His immortal human body to sit at the right hand of the Father He has sent the Holy Spirit to be with us and to continue to share His words with us. Heb 1:3, John 14:26, John 15:26, John 16:13

      Jesus Christ said: And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, so that He may be with you forever, (17) the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him nor know Him. But you know Him, for He dwells with you and shall be in you. (18) I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. John 14:16-18 MKJV


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