To have sat at the feet of Jesus, and to have heard Him teach, would have been a life changing event. Our Lord had a way of teaching that was different from every other person’s. On one occasion, certain officers who were charged with taking Jesus into custody acknowledged that “Never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). Likewise, after preaching the Sermon on the Mount, “…the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). Truly, the doctrine taught by Jesus was powerful and thought provoking. Yet, at the same time, the teachings of Jesus were very easy to understand. The Lord could communicate with an average working man, while also being able to silence the ones who were “educated”. Let us examine some of the profound, yet simple, teachings of Christ.
First of all, we will notice what has been called “The Golden Rule”. “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt. 7:12). How simple, yet how life changing! Can you just imagine what the world would be like if everyone practiced this “rule”? Each person would be more empathetic and sympathetic toward his fellow man. There would be a drastic decrease in murders, robberies, assaults, etc. Instead of looking for ways to take advantage of one another, mankind would be demonstrating the love that God desires for us to have (cf. 1 Cor. 13:4-8).
Next, let us examine a lesson about “greatness”. It has been said that the way up is down. This idea came from another one of the Lord’s instructions. “But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:42-45). There are so many people that want others to serve them, but unfortunately not nearly as many are willing to serve. Just like “The Golden Rule”, this lesson is so simplistic, but at the same time, it is life altering.
Now let us see how Jesus used questions to make His point known. On one occasion, there were ten lepers that pleaded for Jesus to “…have mercy on us” (Luke 17:13). Jesus told them what to do, and they were all cleansed of the dreaded leprosy. One of the ten came back to express gratitude for what he had received. The Lord then asked, “Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine” (Luke 17:17)? These two questions were easy and to the point. There is seemingly no way that His message could be misunderstood. The lack of thanksgiving was immediately brought to the forefront. This shows that the Lord gave men the opportunity to reason within themselves. Sometimes it might not take a direct statement, but rather a question to stir the thoughts of the listeners.
In one final example of the teachings of Christ, we will notice a lesson that He taught before His ascension. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16). Again, so simple, but so powerful! In order to be saved, a person must do the two things that Jesus said. A person must be a believer and must be baptized. That is straightforward and precise. In order for a person to be condemned, all that man has to do is refuse to believe. One would think that Christ’s statements were so easy that no one would struggle with understanding. Unfortunately, many different people have tried to change the simple plan that Jesus revealed. What we should do is take Jesus at His words (cf. John 12:48). There is power in His words, and there is loss in the words of men (Rom. 1:16).
Sometimes the most powerful things are some of the simplest. Jesus taught in simplicity, and at the same time, He taught so profoundly that people are still in awe of His doctrine almost two thousand years later.