Lesson 2 - Jesus-The Great Teacher
A woman sits in front of a 1st century well in Nazareth.
Nazareth. Nazareth was of so little significance at the time of Jesus' birth, there is no mention of the town in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, rabbinic writings, or Josephus' recprds. As a result, some doubted its existance in New Testament times. However, excavations of recent years have removed every doubt. Cisterns, silo hewn from rocks, tombs and town inscriptions have been uncovered that clearly date back to New Testament times.
Years of Preparation
Baptism. Jesus' baptism had unique significance and purpose. For one, He had no occassion to repent. Jesus declared the main purpose and meaning when He said "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." (Matt. 3:15)
Carpenter. The original Hebrew and Greek words for "carpenter" are very general terms which could include one who worked in masonry, metal, or wood.
Disciples. The four gospels unanimously testify to the core of Twelve who were called by Jesus into a special relationship with him. Although the twelve are disciples, examples of what it means to be a believer in Jesus, they are also named as "apostles.". The twelve are: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (the son of Alphaeus), Simon and Judas Iscariot .
Jesus Learns About People's Needs
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a city of anywhere from 500 to 1200 people in the province of Galilee. It was a stopping place on a great highway between Jerusalem and the seaports of Tyre and Sidon. Vice and crime were so common that people said: "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" Jesus saw the sinfulness: the selfishness, corruption, cruelty, and rebellion against God. He saw that men and women were slaves of sin.
As Jesus worked with Joseph as a carpenter, He heard the men discussing their desire for freedom from the Roman government. But Jesus knew that political freedom would not solve their problems. What the people needed was freedom from the sin that ruled their lives. He had come to the world to bring them this freedom. His name, Jesus, means Savior. The angel had told Joseph:
"You will name him Jesus because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)
Jesus Learns God's Word
Jesus studied God's Word as he prepared for His life's work. When He was twelve years old He understood God's Word better than His teachers. He loved and obeyed it.
Anointed for God's Work
Jesus is Baptized
When Jesus was thirty, He left Nazareth to go from town to town teaching God's Word. God sent Him to where John the Baptist was preaching. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. And a voice from heaven said,“This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.” ( Matthew 3:16-17)
Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed with oil to show that the Holy Spirit would help them work for God. The promised Savior was called the Messiah or Christ. Both names mean "anointed." Isaiah the prophet wrote about Him in Luke 4:18-19:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Isaiah's prophecy came true in Jesus. He went everywhere preaching the good news. He touched sick people and made them well. The blind could see again. Captives of sin found liberty. Jesus said about Isaiah's prophecy: "This passage of Scripture has come true today."
Jesus Teaches a Village Woman
A Trip Through Samaria
Jesus chose twelve men to be His helpers. We call them His disciples or students. Two of them, Matthew and John, wrote about Jesus' life. John tells about visiting Samaria.
The shortest road from Galilee to Jerusalem went through the province of Samaria. Many travelers took the long way around because they hated the Samaritans. They looked down on them because they were of a different race and had different customs. But Jesus did not feel that way toward the Samaritans. He loved everybody. God had promised to send the light of salvation to all nations. Jesus went through Samaria to take God's salvation there too.
The Water That Satisfies
At the village of Sychar Jesus sat down by the well while His disciples went to buy food. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus asked her for a drink. She was surprised that Jesus would speak to her. John 4:10-14
When our body needs water we get thirsty. Our spirit needs something just as much as our body needs water. Until we find it we are unsatisfied and spiritually thirsty.
The Samaritan woman had tried to find satisfaction in love. She had been married five times and was living with a man who wasn't her husband. Jesus knew all about her as soon as He saw her. He knew she would never be happy until her sins were forgiven. So He told her about her sins. The woman admitted that it was just as Jesus said.
The Samaritan woman realized that Jesus was a man of God, a prophet. She was sure that He could help her. She asked about how to worship God. Memorize Jesus' answer:
"God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."
Jesus answered her, “If you had known the gift of God and who it is who said to you, ‘Give me some water to drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” “Sir,” the woman said to him, “you have no bucket and the well is deep; where then do you get this living water? Surely you’re not greater than our ancestor Jacob, are you? For he gave us this well and drank from it himself, along with his sons and his livestock.”
Jesus replied,“Everyone who drinks some of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever drinks some of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:24)
Jesus also let her know that He was the Messiah. How happy the Samaritan woman was to meet the Savior! From then on her life would be different. She ran to tell her friends about Jesus. They too needed this living water.
and because of his word many more believed. They said to the woman, “No longer do we believe because of your words, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this one really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:41-42)
People try to find happiness in: material possessions, love, sex, drugs, alcohol, education, power, religion, good works, or withdrawal from life. None of this really satisfies. Only Jesus and His salvation can quench your thirst.
God, you made me and you know what my thirsty spiritual needs are. Please forgive my sins. Give me this living water that will satisfy my thirst. Teach me to worship You in spirit and in truth. Let me meet Jesus and know for myself that He is the Savior of the world.
Did you pray this prayer?
Jesus Teaches a Rich Man
Once a rich man came running to Jesus, knelt before Him and asked: "Good teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?" He was trying to be good enough to get into that beautiful home in heaven. The rich man hadn't killed anybody or committed adultery. He hadn't stolen, lied, or cheated. He honored his parents.
He was a good man, yet he lacked something. No one is good enough to get into heaven. His sin was selfishness. He thought more of his own comfort than he did of helping others. He loved money more than he loved God. He needed salvation just as much as the Samaritan woman. To have true happiness and eternal life we must put God first.
As Jesus looked at him, he felt love for him and said, “You lack one thing. Go, sell whatever you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)
Jesus would have given him what he was looking for, eternal life, but the poor rich man went away sad without it. He chose riches on earth rather than riches in heaven.