We cannot examine the principles of Jesus without recognizing his teaching style. His language was always simple yet well chosen, direct, and natural.
Compared with the scribes of the time, as noted in Matt. 7:29, Jesus manifested an exceptional and powerful conviction. With his infallible insight into the mind of God, Jesus astonished the people with his divine authority.
The scribes were simply mockingbirds who loved to cite some great name to prove that their teachings were not original, but approved by reputed philosophers.
But with Jesus, it was entirely different. Jesus didn't quote rabbis, he quoted scripture. Because of his omniscience and omnipotence, he didn't need to research or memorize anything. He knew exactly what to say and how to say it.
The multitudes who listened to Jesus, as well as the theologians down the ages who have studied his spoken word, testify that his speech was beyond compare.
As he captivated his audiences, Jesus was never rambling or long-winded, but made his points in such a way as to fascinate and draw in the listener. His examples and parables were from common experiences and easily understood.
Seated with hundreds on a hillside, walking with a few along the roadside, or in the temple, Jesus taught in such a way that those who heard him were "amazed at his understanding," (Luke 2:47).
Sometimes the scribes and Pharisees tried to trap Jesus with a saying or a question, and he would instantly recognize their trickery, and astound them with his foreknowledge and quick reply.
Remember what he said in Matthew 9:11-13, when he had dinner with many tax collectors and sinners, and the Pharisees asked why he sat with inferior people. His response shows how we should share the gospel with all levels of humanity, not just the rich, popular and powerful.
Or, in Luke 20:23, when they sent spies who pretended to be honest to ask Jesus if they could get by without paying taxes to the emperor. He said that as God's followers, we have lawful obligations to both God and the government.
With love as his personality, and peace as his very nature, and with the Bible, full of his simple, direct teaching, we have daily opportunity to examine all that Jesus puts before us about God.
The matchless and eternal words from the holy lips of Jesus surely applied the prophecy of Isaiah 55:11, "So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it."
Jesus came as the culmination of the revelation of God. If we want to know who God is, all we have to do is to study the ways and the words of his beloved Son. From his own precise teaching, we have the assurance that he alone is the vehicle of the revelation of God.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Claire Heiby at 376-5445 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.