Sunday, July 8, 2018

Reflection - Instructed by Christ - Learning from Jesus

Source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Eight, Question 1, Page 136.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


What important lessons have you learned personally from Jesus?
PHOTO: What important lessons have you learned personally from Jesus?
Luke 19:48 describes how the crowds "hung on his words". To hang on His words is to value them more than any other words, to pay careful attention to His Word, to trust it, and to rest all that is dear and important to us on His lessons and promises. It is like hanging everything on a solid wall peg, knowing that it will never give way.

Jesus' words are a peg that will never give way. He said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35, emphasis added). It is thus critical that we carry Jesus' lessons in our hearts, so that we can stand firm to the end.

But there is still nothing like hearing Jesus' voice directly - through taking time to read the Bible. We have seen how the best way to learn is to read the Bible regularly and prayerfully, so that Jesus will help us understand the text and discover new insights. When we read a familiar biblical text, we may not think much about it. We need to slow down and let Jesus teach us from that text, until the words almost glow with divinely inspired insight, and our hearts become "strangely warmed", as John Wesley put it.

How did you come to learn these lesson?
The Hebrew word for "disciples" is limmud, and it can also be found in Isaiah 50:4, where it has been translated as "like one being instructed".

For this to be effective, our ears have to be opened by God. Isaiah said about God, "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away" (Isaiah 50:4-5, emphasis added). The disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had their ears and hearts opened as He taught them: even though they did not yet recognise Him, their hearts were touched and set ablaze (Luke 24:32). Later, when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, He "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45, emphasis added). A disciple of Jesus seeks to have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind.

Why is personal knowledge of the Teacher important for learning our lessons well?
One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system. Craftsmen throughout history usually learned their trade by becoming apprentices of older, skilled practitioners. There were few formal schools that taught professional skills - such expertise, whether in surgery, carpentry, metalworking, or farming, was acquired through observing a master and learning from him. Pastors were trained in the same way before the advent of modern universities and seminaries. Even later on, some pastors would augment their academic learning with apprenticeship to a wise and experienced pastor.

This is also applicable to the Christian life. We often neglect the importance of seeing the Christian life as an apprenticeship to Jesus. This means spending time with Him and watching Him work so that we can learn from Him. It also means growing a personal relationship with Him, for only when we know the Teacher can we really begin to learn from Him. And it also means sticking with Him.

Many of us forget this truth. We neglect to spend time with Christ, or we are distracted by our to-do lists. Jesus wants us to spend time with Him, so that we can observe and learn from Him, in the same way as He taught His twelve disciples.
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What important lessons have you learned personally from Jesus? How did you come to learn these lesson? Why is personal knowledge of the Teacher important for learning our lessons well?

What important lessons have you learned personally from Jesus?
Hang On to His Words [1]
In the previous chapter, we learned that Jesus speaks to us primarily through the living Word of God. Unfortunately, many of us read our Bible a little too cursorily to hear the voice of Christ. To hear Him, we must be willing to let Him speak; He seldom speaks to us in a hurry, for the best lessons are learned through patience. Luke 19:48 describes how the crowds "hung on his words". To hang on His words is to value them more than any other words, to pay careful attention to His Word, to trust it, and to rest all that is dear and important to us on His lessons and promises. It is like hanging everything on a solid wall peg, knowing that it will never give way.



Luke 19:48 describes how the crowds 'hung on his words'.
PHOTO:  Luke 19:48 describes how the crowds "hung on his words". To hang on His words is to value them more than any other words, to pay careful attention to His Word, to trust it, and to rest all that is dear and important to us on His lessons and promises. It is like hanging everything on a solid wall peg, knowing that it will never give way.
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Isaiah 22:20-25 talks about a godly man named Eliakim, whom God would put into a position of responsibility. He was to be driven "like a peg into a firm place" (Isaiah 22:23), so that people could hang on him in hope. Eventually, however, even this peg would give way, overloaded by the weight of responsibility (Isaiah 22:25).



Isaiah 22:20-25 talks about a godly man named Eliakim, whom God would put into a position of responsibility.
PHOTO: Isaiah 22:20-25 talks about a godly man named Eliakim, whom God would put into a position of responsibility. He was to be driven "like a peg into a firm place" (Isaiah 22:23), so that people could hang on him in hope.
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But Jesus' words are different - they are a peg that will never give way. He said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35, emphasis added). It is thus critical that we carry Jesus' lessons in our hearts, so that we can stand firm to the end. A powerful sermon, for example, will be effective only if we hear the voice of Jesus in our hearts; otherwise, we will only hear a human preacher's voice, and the lesson will not penetrate deeply into our souls. The preacher himself must remember that he remains an imperfect instrument, and that the act of preaching the Word of God is a sacred moment when the Lord speaks to His people. If these truths for both the pulpit and the pew are forgotten, then the sermon is more noise than voice.


Jesus' words are a peg that will never give way.
PHOTO: Jesus' words are a peg that will never give way. He said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Matthew 24:35). It is thus critical that we carry Jesus' lessons in our hearts, so that we can stand firm to the end.
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But there is still nothing like hearing Jesus' voice directly - through taking time to read the Bible. We have seen how the best way to learn is to read the Bible regularly and prayerfully, so that Jesus will help us understand the text and discover new insights. When we read a familiar biblical text, we may not think much about it. We need to slow down and let Jesus teach us from that text, until the words almost glow with divinely inspired insight, and our hearts become "strangely warmed", as John Wesley put it.



The best way to learn is to read the Bible regularly and prayerfully, so that Jesus will help us understand the text and discover new insights.
PHOTO: The best way to learn is to read the Bible regularly and prayerfully, so that Jesus will help us understand the text and discover new insights. We need to slow down and let Jesus teach us from that text, until the words almost glow with divinely inspired insight, and our hearts become "strangely warmed".
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The Bible is more than a source of information; it leads to transformation. It is not a source of entertainment; but is for our edification (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).


How did you come to learn these lesson?
Ask for Open Ears [1]
The word "disciple" is not found only in the New Testament. In Isaiah 8:16, for example, God said through the prophet: "Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God's instruction among my disciples" (emphasis added). The Hebrew word for disciples is limmud, and it can also be found in Isaiah 50:4, where it has been translated as "like one being instructed". What makes us disciples of Jesus? It is the experience of being taught by Him.



The Hebrew word for 'disciples' is limmud, and it can also be found in Isaiah 50:4, where it has been translated as 'like one being instructed'.
PHOTO: The Hebrew word for "disciples" is limmud, and it can also be found in Isaiah 50:4, where it has been translated as "like one being instructed". What makes us disciples of Jesus? It is the experience of being taught by Him.
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For this to be effective, our ears have to be opened by God. Isaiah said about God, "He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears; I have not been rebellious, I have not turned away" (Isaiah 50:4-5, emphasis added). The disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had their ears and hearts opened as He taught them: even though they did not yet recognise Him, their hearts were touched and set ablaze (Luke 24:32). Later, when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, He "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45, emphasis added). A disciple of Jesus seeks to have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind.

 

A disciple of Jesus seeks to have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind.
PHOTO: A disciple of Jesus seeks to have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind. Our ears have to be opened by God. The disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus had their hearts touched and set ablaze (Luke 24:32). Later, when Jesus appeared to the other disciples, He "opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45).
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Why is personal knowledge of the Teacher important for learning our lessons well?
Be an Apprentice to Jesus [1]
One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system. Craftsmen throughout history usually learned their trade by becoming apprentices of older, skilled practitioners. There were few formal schools that taught professional skills - such expertise, whether in surgery, carpentry, metalworking, or farming, was acquired through observing a master and learning from him. Pastors were trained in the same way before the advent of modern universities and seminaries. Even later on, some pastors would augment their academic learning with apprenticeship to a wise and experienced pastor.



One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system.
PHOTO: One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system. Pastors were trained in the same way before the advent of modern universities and seminaries. Even later on, some pastors would augment their academic learning with apprenticeship to a wise and experienced pastor.
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This is also applicable to the Christian life. We often neglect the importance of seeing the Christian life as an apprenticeship to Jesus. This means spending time with Him and watching Him work so that we can learn from Him. It also means growing a personal relationship with Him, for only when we know the Teacher can we really begin to learn from Him. And it also means sticking with Him. When two of the disciples of John the Baptist were curious and awed by Jesus, they followed Jesus - literally - and stayed with Him to learn form Him (John 1:35-39). When Jesus called the Twelve, His purpose was that "they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach" (Mark 3:14, emphasis added).



One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system.
PHOTO: One traditional model of learning is the apprenticeship system. This is also applicable to the Christian life. This means spending time with Him and watching Him work so that we can learn from Him. It also means growing a personal relationship with Him, for only when we know the Teacher can we really begin to learn from Him. And it also means sticking with Him.
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Alas, many of us forget this truth. We neglect to spend time with Christ, or we are distracted by our to-do lists. As pastor and theologian William Griffith Thomas said so aptly, "We cannot make up for failure in our devotional life by redoubling energly in service . . . We shall never take people one hair's breath beyond our own spiritual attainment." [31]

During His thriving ministry, Jesus made sure to leave the clamouring crowds from time to time to be with His disciples; teaching them was always a high priority. "Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples" (Mark 9:30-31, emphasis added).



During His thriving ministry, Jesus made sure to leave the clamouring crowds from time to time to be with His disciples; teaching them was always a high priority.
PHOTO: During His thriving ministry, Jesus made sure to leave the clamouring crowds from time to time to be with His disciples; teaching them was always a high priority. Teaching through real practical experience. What makes us disciples of Jesus? It is the experience of being taught by Him.
Painting by Howard Lyon

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Jesus wants us to spend time with Him. Are we too busy and distracted to do so?



Dear Lord, Please help us to 'hang on Jesus' words' to value them more than any other words, to pay careful attention to His Word, to trust it, and to rest all that is dear and important to us on His lessons and promises. This is because His words are a peg that will never give way. We need to carry His lessons in our hearts, so that we can stand firm to the end. Help us  to slow down and let Jesus teach us from the Bible's text, until the words almost glow with divinely inspired insight, and our hearts become 'strangely warmed'.<br><br>We need your help to become Jesus' disciples who have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind, so that we can become 'like one being instructed'. Help us not to neglect the importance of seeing the Christian life as an apprenticeship to Jesus. This means spending time with Him and watching Him work so that we can learn from Him. It also means growing a personal relationship with Him, for only when we know the Teacher can we really begin to learn from Him. And it also means sticking with Him.<br><br>Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!
PHOTO: "Dear Lord, Please help us to 'hang on Jesus' words' to value them more than any other words, to pay careful attention to His Word, to trust it, and to rest all that is dear and important to us on His lessons and promises. This is because His words are a peg that will never give way. We need to carry His lessons in our hearts, so that we can stand firm to the end. Help us  to slow down and let Jesus teach us from the Bible's text, until the words almost glow with divinely inspired insight, and our hearts become 'strangely warmed'.

We need your help to become Jesus' disciples who have open ears, an open heart, and an open mind, so that we can become 'like one being instructed'. Help us not to neglect the importance of seeing the Christian life as an apprenticeship to Jesus. This means spending time with Him and watching Him work so that we can learn from Him. It also means growing a personal relationship with Him, for only when we know the Teacher can we really begin to learn from Him. And it also means sticking with Him.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!
"
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Reflection - Instructed by Christ - Learning from Jesus
Question fron source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Eight, Question 1, Page 136.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Reference
[1] From "Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, Copyright © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-709-5, Part III: LEARN FROM ME, Chapter Eight "Learning from Jesus: Instructed by Christ", Page 122-126

[31] Warren W. Wiersbe, 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Spiritual Giants of the Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2009), 264.

New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Timothy+3%3A16-17&version=NIV

Isaiah 8:16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+8%3A16&version=NIV

Isaiah 22:20-25 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+22%3A20-25&version=NIV

Isaiah 22:23 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+22%3A23&version=NIV

Isaiah 22:25 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+22%3A25&version=NIV

Isaiah 50:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=+Isaiah+50%3A4&version=NIV

Isaiah 50:4-5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+50%3A4-5&version=NIV

John 1:35-39 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+1%3A35-39&version=NIV

Luke 19:48 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+19%3A48&version=NIV

Luke 24:32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24%3A32&version=NIV

Luke 24:45 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+24%3A45&version=NIV

Mark 3:14 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+3%3A14&version=NIV

Mark 9:30-31 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A30-31&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Matthew 24:35 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+24%3A35&version=NIV

Romans 15:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+15%3A4&version=NIV