Matthew 28: 16-20
(Pentecost 15 & Christian Education)
“We Teach Christ Jesus”
He was the master educator of all things. He demonstrated didactic skills above all others. He mastered the use of illustration and methods that brought the truths of his Father to the heads and hearts of his students. They called him “Rabbi” which means “Teacher.” Now that Teacher was ascending to the place where he belonged. There was to be one last lesson. The class setting was on the hills in northern Galilee. He gave his students their teaching assignments. They have passed that torch to us: parents, educators, missionaries, grandparents, god-parents, church leaders … Confessional Lutheran Christians. We Teach Christ Jesus!
Because He is our Savior-God
Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me …”
He earned it. It was his to have from the beginning. He is the very Voice of God through whom all things are called into existence. He left the glories of his throne in heaven. He gave it up for the great necessity of winning souls for his Father.
This need is our need. We are desperate for a Teacher who can not only teach but also substitute. We are spiritual “dunces” by birth. We are spiritually uneducated. We are steeped in the sinful state of unbelief, foolish mischief, deserving of eternal abandonment from the Teacher, Jesus. He is not only Master Rabbi Teacher. He suffered our punitive damages. He took our place in the corporal punishment for sin. He endured the wrath of our just God on the cross at Calvary. Then he rose out of death victorious. He is our Savior-God!
Because of that, “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for his church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1: 22-23). “He became obedient to death, even death on a cross … therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2: 9-10).
That is reason number one why our education is centered on Jesus. This is why we teach Christ Jesus. He is Lord over all and, where he rules with his Word and blessings is where we all want to be … doing the very thing he commanded us to do.
Because He Told us To
“Go and Make Disciples … Baptizing and Teaching”
There are two imperatives and two participles in this sentence: We “GO” and we “Make Disciples” (the word carries the notion that we place souls under the learning care of the Holy Spirit and Jesus). We do that among ALL nations. Christian Education is for everyone. Christian Education is for every soul. We “Go” and we “Make Disciples.”
How do we Go and Make Disciples? By “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Through baptism the Holy Spirit creates faith. In baptism God washes away our guilty stains. In baptism the Lord Jesus gives us strength to drown out our sinful appetites. In baptism Jesus gives us the new clothes of his perfect life for us. So we Go and Make learners for Christ (disciples) by baptizing, young and old, to all who desire it. As Peter said “repent and be baptized every one of you for the forgiveness of your sins … this promise is for you and your children” (Acts 2: 38-39).
How do we Go and Make Disciples? By “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Every time we baptize a little one in our sanctuary the ceremony includes a reminder to parents, sponsors and fellow church goers to “teach his precious truths to those who have been baptized” (CW page 14). We collectively promise to do that. We all carry the responsibility to make every effort to teach and learn the truths “so that we may remain children of God until death” (CW page 14).
It begins in the home. It begins when the Lord blesses parents with the joy and privilege of bringing those little bundles home from the hospital. It continues, with assistance of Church, Schools, Teachers, Friends, Family. This is why we flood our lives and our church work with opportunities to hear and learn from Christ and his saving Word. Jesus said “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Everything includes an entire Book of love. There are 66 Books to teach and learn. There is a wealth of divine lessons and teachings to be shared. From now until the grave we have plenty to teach and learn if we are to teach and learn everything Jesus gives to us in his Word!
But he promises to bless us and be with us in that effort.
Because He Blesses Our Work
“I am with you always to the very end of the age.”
Jesus promises to be with us in this commission he has given. He is present with his Church of believers. He is present in our classrooms. He is present at the Font where we baptize the nations. He is present in his Holy Supper. He is with pastors and teachers and leaders and Sunday School teachers and missionaries; everywhere and every time they set out to teach his saving truths. He is present when we use his words to correct, rebuke, teach and admonish. He is present when we use his Words his forgive as we have been forgiven. He is present when his Book is opened and when our hearts and minds are being filled with his words of wisdom and understanding. He is with us when we rise and when we go to sleep. He is with us when we are tempted. He is with us when we are danger. He is with us when we are lonely and afraid. He is with our loved ones when we cannot be with them. He is with us when we close our eyes in the sleep of death only to awake in his arms in heaven! That is why we teach Christ Jesus.
One of my favorite images of Christ Jesus is the portrait in Revelation 1. There he stands in the glory of heaven. There he appears to John as the one who once was dead but is now alive forever, even there, he holds the seven stars and the seven lamp stands in his hands. It is he who says “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me!” It is he who says “I am with you always to the very end of the age.” It is Christ Jesus who died and rose to life; He holds you in the palms of his hands and will never let you go! That is why we Teach Christ Jesus for life and for eternity! Am