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Education, education, education

Life's big questions:

What does Jesus teach us about God?

Jesus' disciples asked him to teach them how to pray

WE may not remember much about our school days, but favourite teachers are easy to recall. Perhaps they made learning a pleasure, rather than a pain­ful experience. Or perhaps they took an interest in our progress and encouraged us to do well.

When Jesus began his preaching min­istry, he quickly became many people’s favourite teacher. He talked about God in a way so unlike the other Jewish teachers that it caught people’s imagination and deepened their religious understanding. He used everyday illustrations to teach about love, forgiveness and the fatherhood of God.

He also encouraged people to discover the truth about God for themselves. It was not unusual for Jesus to answer a question with another question.

When asked about eternal life by an expert in Jewish Law, Jesus answered: ‘What is written in the Law?’ (Luke 10:26 New International Version).

The man quoted the commandments: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:27).

Jesus also told people that if we don’t forgive someone for what they have done to us, God will not forgive our wrongdo­ings (see Matthew 6:15).

Jesus constantly spoke of God as ‘Father’. Some of his very last words as he died on the cross were: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit’ (Luke 23:46).

When his disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave them this ‘model’ prayer – the Lord’s Prayer – which begins, ‘Father, hallowed be your name’ (see Luke 11:1–4).

For some people, the word ‘father’ can be difficult to use because of unhappy past experiences in family life. But Jesus taught that the fatherhood of God is all-loving, all-understanding and all-encompassing – that if God knows when even a humble sparrow falls to the ground, we can be sure that each human being is far more precious and valuable to him (see Matthew 10:29–31).

And that’s a lesson worth learning.

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