I don’t know why it took about 40 years of reading the Easter story to suddenly be struck by this: Mary Magdalene calls The Risen Christ; “Teacher!” Having been delivered from demonic powers, I would have thought she would have cried out “Deliverer!” Having been forgiven, I would have thought she might have cried out “Saviour!” Having realised this was not the gardener but Jesus The Son of God raised from the dead, I would have thought she would have cried out “Lord!” After all she has just referred to Him as her Lord as she had been speaking through her tears and grief, believing He was dead and gone; but instead she cries out, “Teacher!”
To be honest I can only hazard a guess or two as to why she chose to hail Him in that way. Perhaps as the moment of spectacular deliverance passed she wondered if she would stay free, and Jesus had taught her how to walk in her freedom. Perhaps she still had to face disapproving looks and condemnation and taunts about her past, but Jesus had taught her about the face of His Father and hers, the Father who loved her. I am sure you can think of other explanations for yourselves and we may be right, half right or off the mark in our explanations: one day we will hear the full story; after all there will be an eternity for each one of us to meet her! Amazing!!
For the time being, I want to focus on that word “Teacher” as Sunday approaches once more.
If you are a teacher of God’s people never underestimate the honour of that. You share the first resurrection accolade afforded to Christ. Martyn Lloyd Jones, when anyone referred to how much he had given up as a doctor in order to follow God’s call as a preacher and teacher, used to say, “I gave up nothing!” He considered it the highest honour to preach God’s Word; there was no higher calling in his eyes. When I was on the conference scene as it were, I used to meet wonderful ministers who had faithfully built up a flock over decades who said almost with a sense of inferiority that they were just an ordinary pastor,or bible teacher, or parish minister, not some high flyer! Well, in being a “teacher’”you share a title of honour with the Risen Lord. What is more you share in the genuine calling of the first Apostles: “Feed my sheep.” If you are a teacher of God’s people never say, “ I am only…” as you compare yourself with other ministries. My calling to be a pastor and teacher of a local congregation trumped any call to speak at conferences, lead CLAN Gathering, speak to leaders here and in other countries etc. It is the calling that still remains, even if now my flock in the future is likely to be one “out there” somewhere in the ether that I cannot see!
If you are not a teacher of God’s Word and of The Way, then perhaps you can think of honouring those who teach you. Sometimes being a teacher can be rewarding, but often it can be a bit frustrating: “Is anyone getting this? Is this helping anyone? Is this getting through?” Please encourage those who teach you God’s Word. “Oh but it will make them big headed!” How Scottish is that? Any encouragement is seen as making someone big headed, any generosity is seen as “Spoiling the child!”
Teachers and taught, have a blessed Sunday this weekend.
God bless you, real good!
Thanks again Kenny for another really helpful blog – and for continuing your own teaching ministry in this way.