They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law – Mark 1, verses 21-22.
“Teachable moments:” that’s a phrase I’ve heard a lot lately. It’s a favorite of a good friend of mine, who was saying it long before it was in vogue on the radio or TV. I know it isn’t one of Solomon’s proverbs, but I’m pretty sure King Solomon would agree with me that wise men look for and use every moment as a teachable one.
Do you like how, when Jesus comes back from the desert, He picks out His first disciples, then starts to teach? I think it’s reasonable to assume that Simon, Andrew, James, and John were with Him when He quietly went into the local church, sat down, and started to talk. He wasn’t talking like just anyone else. No, He sounded like He knew what He was talking about.
We instinctively know quality when we see it. For most people, excellence speaks for itself. There is a tangible, palpable difference in the ride between a Rolls Royce and a Chevrolet. Even untrained ears (such as mine) can tell the difference between quality music and bad music. It’s easy to tell the difference between a choice steak and a cheap one. You get the drift.
The people in that first synagogue knew it too, and they recognized that the Man from Nazareth was somebody special. He wasn’t a slick talker. It wasn’t that He recited the same old stories from Scripture. No, He talked about them in the context of life, and about what they really meant. He talked about them in such a way as to make the words themselves come alive, as if He was speaking from God Himself.
Because He was. They just didn’t know it yet.
But they knew quality when they heard it. And they realized that the rabbi with the new followers was using His time there as teachable moments. He was teaching them things about stories, hymns, and words they already knew by heart, yet He was teaching them things about them that they had never considered, or never truly understood. As if every moment with Him mattered. As if He considered each one of them – both moments and people – special and important as well.
Because they were.
Just yesterday in church, our new pastor said something that stuck with me. In a teachable moment, he said “people don’t’ care how much we know until they know how much we care.” Perhaps you’ve heard that truism before; I hadn’t and it resonated. It’s a way of looking at these verses from Mark 1. The people in Judea didn’t care that Jesus knew all these cool things…until they realized that He cared about them, about them knowing Him. When that realization came, things started to happen. We’re no different, especially those of us who don’t believe or struggle with belief. Faith and doubt walk hand in hand; that was another lesson from yesterday. So many people in our world struggle with knowing Jesus until they realize that He really, truly does care in ways nobody else does. And that He uses every moment in our lives in teachable ways to teach us more about His love.
Lord, teach me today, I pray. Help my unbelief.
Read Matthew 4, verse 23, and Luke 4, verses 16-22.