Here is an excerpt from chapter four of Restoring the Ministry of Jesus concerning the ministry of teaching:
One of the most common titles given to Jesus in the gospels was “Teacher” because one of His most common activities was to teach. “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues…” (Matthew 4:23). “Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching” (Mark 6:6). Jesus taught in the temple, taught in the synagogues, and taught in homes. He also taught outdoors; on a mountain, in the wilderness, and in the marketplace.
When people heard Jesus teach, they noticed something different about Him. “And they were astonished at His teaching, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Mark 1:22). Jesus taught with authority. He explained and interpreted the Scriptures in ways that the people had never heard before. He spoke with certainty; there was no second guessing in His words. Obviously there was a big difference between the way that Jesus and the scribes taught, so much so that the people were “astonished.”
While preaching is a ministry of proclaiming truth, teaching primarily relates to explaining truth. The basic principles that I mentioned in the previous chapter on preaching certainly apply to teaching as well. But teaching has a specific purpose to it that makes it different than preaching.
One of the most famous passages to record the teaching ministry of Jesus is what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew 5-7. The very last section of this sermon tells us the intended result of His teaching:
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The purpose of teaching is to ground people in the Word of God. In order for this to occur, two things are needed: proper teaching and proper response to that teaching. Let’s first assume that the teaching is proper and in line with the ministry of Jesus and Word of God. Jesus would then liken the person who hears and does His words to a wise man who built a solid foundation for the house he was building. Because his house was built upon a solid foundation it was able to endure when a strong storm came through. On the other hand, the person who hears His words but does not put them into practice is compared to a foolish man who built a house on a weak foundation. The same storm that the wise man’s house withstood toppled the house of the foolish man.