SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS
Commentary by Walter Albritton
July 6, 2008
Learn to Sit at the Feet of Christ the Master Teacher
Luke 4:31-37; 20:1-8
Key Verse: They were astounded at [Jesus’] teaching, because he spoke with authority. – Luke 4:32
How wonderfully important are the teachers of our lives! When we were helpless babies our parents patiently taught us the rudimentary rules of living. We learned to speak by modeling the speech of our parents and siblings.
At age five or six we were put under the loving care of our school teachers. We were so impressed that most of us have an undying gratitude for teachers who inspired in us a love for learning with skill and compassion. Seventy years later there is still a special place in my heart for Mrs. Oakley Melton, the remarkable teacher of my first grade.
Many other teachers helped to shape my Christian worldview. I owe them a debt I can never repay. The best of them taught me by both “precept and example.” They practiced with their lives the faith they taught with their lips. A few of them stand out in my memory.
Brother Si Mathison was the pastor who introduced me to Jesus. I could embrace Jesus because Brother Si seemed to be an authentic disciple of Jesus. The love of Jesus felt real because the love of Brother Si was real. I fell in love with Jesus because Brother Si was in love with Jesus.
E. Stanley Jones became my next mentor not only through his books but especially through his sharing of the gospel. His teaching was remarkably Christlike. He cared deeply for the people to whom he spoke. He wanted them to find freedom and joy through surrender to Jesus. He made the ancient creed, “Jesus is Lord,” the password into a transformed life.
Elton Trueblood, the Quaker philosopher, was a gift of God to me as a friend and mentor. He taught the church, and he taught me, that “every Christian is a minister.” Trueblood was disciplined and gentle, devoted to Jesus, and uniquely gifted as a teacher of the faith. More than once he set my heart on fire as the Christ about whom he spoke came alive for me.
Kennon Callahan has been my mentor for the past 20 years. He has helped me see that the mission of the church is the mission of Christ. The purpose of the church is not to build and maintain buildings but to find and serve people in need, offering them hope, help, and healing in the name of Christ. As a pastor he helped me to move from a ministry of “commitment and challenge” to one of “compassion and community.”
What these wonderful teachers have had in common is that they taught me to sit at the feet of the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ. As the living Christ he still teaches those who will sit at his feet. He was in the First Century and remains the greatest teacher of the ages.
The people who heard Jesus teach were astonished at “the authority” with which he spoke. He did not quote the great rabbis of the past. He did not need to for he spoke as one sent from God. Indeed Jesus was God speaking! He was the very Word of God. His words were the authentic truth of almighty God. Little wonder people were astounded.
teachers of Jesus’ day did not want to share their authority with Jesus. They
had “a good thing going” and did not want Jesus to upset their applecart. But
when they tried to embarrass Jesus and turn the people against him, Jesus
confounded them with his own questions. They were no match for the Master
Teacher who often used their confrontations as opportunities to teach truth
Our world today is flooded with information and opinions. Hundreds of people want to be our teachers. They want us to buy their versions of truth and become disciples of their ways of thinking. We can become easily confused by the vast array of “teachers” who seek our allegiance. However, there is a solution, and that is to accept as our ultimate authority the Master Teacher, our Lord Jesus, and the gospels that contain his teachings.
Any “new” teaching must be tested by the teaching of Jesus. He is our authority for truth. Any teacher must be tested by how well his lifestyle compares to that of Jesus. Is a teacher’s proclamation authenticated by his own word and deed? It should be. If not, the teacher does not deserve to be heard or followed.
The longer I live the more I realize how much I need to sit at the feet of Jesus and allow his teaching to saturate my mind and heart. No other teacher is as worthy of my time and attention. Jesus is not only the Source of truth, he is the truth. Anything that contradicts the teaching of Jesus is false.
The more my life is aligned to the teaching of Jesus, the greater my sense of fulfillment and joy. When I allow him to be my guide, I have no fear of being lost for the Gentle Shepherd is leading me home. When I listen to Jesus, I hear God speaking! How wonderfully my teachers have served me by inspiring me to sit at the feet of my best friend, my teacher and my Lord! (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)