I am a teacher. I spend my days working with students, trying to impart an understanding of the content I am required to teach. My job is to create an environment where students can learn. The students come to my class, I teach the lessons, and I pray that they learn it. But I cannot learn it for them. They must choose to learn.
I am in the midst of an ongoing conversation with a friend about Jesus. She refers to Jesus as a teacher, and to the Bible as His teachings. Now, Jesus did teach the people around Him. He taught His disciples. We can go to His Word for answers to questions. But He is so much more.
As I teacher, I sometimes wish that I had a superpower. I would love to be able to crawl inside the heads of my students and just write the material I am teaching on their brains. I would love to be able to learn for them. I would love to be able to ensure that every student, from every background, and every family, with every personality, and every style of learning, could learn exactly what I am teaching. But that would be a superpower, and not one that I will ever possess.
Christ, though, has that ability. If Christ only gave us His teachings, we would certainly fail. On our own, with our earthly ways, we would never be able to follow all His teachings. But Christ doesn’t ask us to follow all His teachings, He invites us to follow Him. When we follow Christ, and accept Him as Saviour, He imparts Himself into us. He changes us, making us be what we should be. As Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest, “But when I am born again in the Spirit of God, I know that Jesus Christ did not come to teach only; He came to make me what He teaches I should be. The Redemption means that Jesus Christ can put into any man the disposition that ruled His own life, and all the standards God gives are based on that disposition.”
The teachings in God’s Word are “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ” (Galatians 3:24). The teachings are a standard attainable only by God Himself, designed to show us that we need Him. Without Christ, we are held to the standard of the teachings of the Bible. With Christ, we are held in a bonded relationship to Jesus Himself, and He Himself changes us so that we can follow His teachings.
When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our hearts, changing us into who we should be and guiding our every step. Romans 8:5 tells us, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.” With the Spirit, living according to Christ’s teachings becomes natural. And with the Spirit in us we are held to Christ, not to an unattainable standard. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).
Yes, Jesus Christ taught, but He is so much more than a teacher. Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He died on a cross to pay for our sins out of His amazing love for us. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” When we accept Jesus as Saviour, we are bound to Him eternally. Sure, Jesus teaches me lessons every day, but He is also living in my heart and mind, writing His word on my heart, and supernaturally imparting His understanding and knowledge into my mind. He’s not just a teacher; He’s the Saviour who has made it possible for me to live a life of obedience to Him and His teachings. “For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37).