I remember one thing from the third grade: my teacher, Mrs. Howard, liked me. Although long-division was very difficult, I was willing to tackle it because I wanted nothing more than to please Mrs. Howard. One day, I showed up to third grade only to learn that Mrs. Howard had suddenly retired. I was crushed. While those mathematics lessons have faded from my memory, Mrs. Howard’s care for me as a person has stayed with me for a lifetime.
Twenty-nine times in the gospels, Jesus is addressed as “Teacher.” For those students willing to hear, the lessons He taught them would never be lost. In John 3, Nicodemus (a Pharisee in charge of people’s spiritual well-being) recognized that Jesus was a very different kind of teacher. Nicodemus approached Jesus at night and said to Him, “You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God was not with him” (v. 3). Nicodemus was compelled by what he had heard and seen of Jesus to risk the critique of his fellow Pharisees and interact with this teacher who he felt had “come from God” (v. 2). Jesus used this opportunity to teach Nicodemus a life-giving message: he must be born again.
The lesson was confusing at first, and Nicodemus struggled to understand what it meant to be “born again” (v. 3). His questions were sincere, but Jesus observed, “You are Israel’s teacher, and do you not understand these things?” (v. 10). Jesus challenged Nicodemus’s understanding of salvation. This lesson would have lifelong results, not just for Nicodemus, but for all those he would influence. If anyone needed to know truth so he could share it with others, wouldn’t it be “Israel’s teacher?”
>> Each of us has the opportunity to teach the most powerful life-changing lesson of all: “You must be born again.” You don’t need a teaching degree to share the good news that Jesus saves sinners. And you never retire from sharing the gospel!