Jesus teaches his disciples in a wide variety of ways.
Jesus praises. “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven”(Matt 16:17). He praises Mary (more than once), the faith of the centurion (Luke 7:9), and the Syro-Phoenician woman (Matt 15:28). Praise is a way of encouraging attitudes and actions that align with God’s.
Jesus rebukes. “Bet behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but the things of man”(Matt 16:23). Even after his confession, Peter makes a serious mistake. Rebukes teach us when we are out of step with the Father.
Jesus warns. “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness”(Luke 12:15). “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy”(Luke 12:1). Jesus wants his disciples aware of the dangers present in everyday situations and the spiritual effects of our relationships.
Jesus heals. “And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God”(Luke 13:13). Many of those Jesus heals praise God; some become disciples. The blessing of healing is intended not merely to help, but to begin a new phase of a relationship with God.
Jesus reinterprets events. After Peter walks on the water (and begins to sink), Jesus questions him: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”(Matt 14:31). What appeared to be a spectacular event actually has spiritual dimensions. Following Jesus means learning to see life with spiritual eyes, framing all things as part of the great battle between God and Satan.
Jesus challenges. “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me’”(Mark 10:21). Very often Jesus confronts our greatest weaknesses and idols (see Luke 9:57-62). He calls disciples to full surrender.
Jesus promotes introspection. “And as they were eating, he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.’ And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, ‘Is it I, Lord?’”(Matt 26:21-22). I believe that Jesus’ statement is intended to get the reaction it does. “Pay attention to yourselves!”(Luke 17:3). Jesus wants us to thoughtfully apply his words to ourselves.
There are probably other ways we could detail from Jesus’ teaching. But the question is: what is Jesus teaching you this week? While not physically present with us, Jesus continues to work with his disciples. What lessons and methods is he working on with you right now? For me, I see him developing patience in me (mostly by me having to wait). I receive from him the blessing of seeing growth in myself and my family. I see the need for balance and perspective as I am easily angered and distracted. All of these growth areas and spiritual challenges are part of the work he is doing in me.
Jesus teaches his disciples in a wide variety of ways. What is he teaching you this week?