One of the most effective evangelists in history, Billy Graham, believes, “The central message of the Bible is Jesus Christ.”
But who is Jesus?
Over the next couple days I am going to focus on the question of “Who is Jesus” based on the Gospel of Matthew and my own personal experience with Jesus Christ. After studying the book of Matthew and reflecting on who Jesus is to me, I believe that Jesus is a leader who teaches, equips, and serves through sacrifice.
First, let us see how Jesus taught throughout the Gospel of Matthew.
When reading the Gospel of Matthew, I can’t help but notice that Jesus is a teacher. The Gospel of Matthew quickly moves through Jesus’ family heritage, how and where He was born, His baptism from John the Baptist, and the three temptations He faced. As soon as Jesus finishes his 40 days in the desert facing the three temptations, Jesus hears that John the Baptist has been arrested, and Jesus travels to the Sea of Galilee where Matthew tells us, “From then on Jesus began to preach.” Up until this point in time, Jesus has not preached or performed any miracles.
The first action of ministry that the Gospel of Matthew records is that Jesus begins to preach. Matthew gives us a glimpse at Jesus’ first preached message which is only one sentence, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven in near.” After this short one-sentence message, Jesus goes out to recruit His disciples. Jesus knows that He will need a group of devoted followers who will carry on His message after He is no longer on earth. We will discuss this topic later in more depth of how Jesus equipped His disciples through His teaching, so I don’t want to go too deep into that here.
We can make five observations of why Jesus is a teacher: 1) He teaches large groups (such as the Sermon on the Mount); 2) He teaches small groups (such as the 12 disciples); 3) He is always alert for teaching opportunities (often using people’s questions as an opportunity to teach about more deeply rooted spiritual issues); 4) He teaches individuals (such as the many people who came up to him to ask him questions); and, 5) He teaches wherever he goes (such as the top of a mountain, on a sea shore, and from a boat). That is the context of where Jesus teaches through his three years of ministry. He teaches many people in many areas with a mission to prove He is God’s son, heal the sick, and teach people how to get to heaven.
Now knowing that Jesus is a teacher who teaches many people in a variety of contexts, we can look closer at what He teaches and how it is structured throughout the Gospel of Matthew.
(Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and continue our conversation about why I believe Jesus is a leader who teaches.)
Question: Based on your experience and knowledge of Jesus, do you think he is a teacher? Why or why not?
 Matt. 4:17 (New Living Translation)
 Matt. 4:17
 Dr. D. Edmond Hiebert, “Jesus the Master Teacher,” in Called to Teach, ed. David Ewert (Fresno, CA: Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, 1980), 22-23.