Celebrating Gifts Given: Teachers of Life

Have you ever had a teacher who was convinced he or she knew everything? I know I have. I recall a professor who taught us out of a book and then proceeded to tell us that most of the book was wrong. She based this only on her own experience, not on research she had done or read. And if any of her students tried to debate this with her, she shut them down immediately.

In John 3, we see a meeting of teachers. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, someone who knew the Scriptures intimately and did his best to keep them and be an example for others. He was curious about this man named Jesus, someone who taught with authority the likes of which no one had ever seen. Unlike other Pharisees, he did not try to point out how much was wrong with what Jesus taught. He simply wanted to learn. It was quite astonishing, really – this person who could recite Scripture by heart was willing and eager to learn from Jesus.

And Jesus did not disappoint. Our reading begins with this: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (verses 14-15). Here, Jesus is building upon the biblical knowledge Nicodemus already had. He goes on to say, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (verse 16). This famous passage of Scripture was revolutionary to Nicodemus. As a Pharisee, he would have been very focused on rules and regulations. The idea that all salvation required was belief would have shocked him.

Nicodemus, a teacher, realized that even teachers need to be taught. True teachers, like Jesus, rely on God’s Word. Who has been your teacher? Who has brought you to the light, like Jesus, or has reminded you that you needed the light, like Nicodemus? Thank God for them today, and think about how you can pass on that teaching to someone else.