Luke 19:47-48 Every day Jesus was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. (NIV)
Jesus never missed an opportunity to teach people about God. Teaching was central to the mission that God had sent Him, so when He reached Jerusalem, Christ went to the national teaching center inside the temple grounds. Folks from all over Judea and traveling Jews from other nations were there, so Jesus taught all who were willing to listen in the hope that His words would be taken back to where the people had originated.
But not everyone was happy about this. The religious leaders felt that Jesus was stepping on their turf and spreading radical ideas. They had built up their power and reputation over centuries, so they were determined to keep control over the people. Instead of embracing His new ideas, they wanted to wipe out Jesus permanently. He was getting in the way of their power structures and religious rules. He had to be dealt with; He had to be annihilated.
At this point, however, Jesus was popular with the people. He brought fresh ideas to their faith and brightened their lives with His new insights. As the scriptures tell us, they hung on His words – they had never heard such things about God, faith, and life so clearly, so attractively, and so personally. As a teacher, Christ was conveying to them God’s gracious message of salvation in the heart of a holy place where grace was relatively unknown. Centuries of sacrifice had enslaved the spirits of the people to ritualism and legalism. Jesus’ words were like a breath of fresh air which opened up their spirits to a new way of understanding God, connecting to His love, and applying His will in their lives.
As Christians today, Jesus offers us the same message and teaching which can help us make better choices, live meaningful lives, and deepen our relationship with God. When we make time to read His words like today, we can receive blessings that will help us on our way and guide us through our problems. Christ’s teaching is just as relevant for us now as it was way back then, and like the people in the temple, we can alsochoose to accept His insights and be blessed with His instruction.
Point to ponder
How often do I allow Christ to influence my decisions? Which parts of His teaching can help me today?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your words have ways to reshape our lives. Your teaching about God can still transform us and bring us closer to our Creator. Help us to learn more about You, so that we may embrace the life-lessons that You offer us each day. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. You can read the church website at www.erinpresbyterian.org. You may also send John an email at Traqair@aol.com.