The Great Teacher
Years of Preparation
Jesus Learns About People’s Needs
Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a city of about 15,000 in the province of Galilee. It was a stopping place on a great highway between Jerusalem and the seaports of Tyre and Sidon. Vice and crime were so common that people said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Jesus saw the sinfulness: the selfishness, corruption, cruelty, and rebellion against God. He saw that men and women were slaves of sin.
As Jesus worked with Joseph in his carpenter shop, He heard the men wishing for freedom from the Roman government. But Jesus knew that political freedom would not solve their problems. What the people needed was freedom from the sin that ruled their lives. He had come to the world to bring them this freedom. His name, Jesus, means Savior. The angel had told Joseph:
Matthew 1:21. “You will name him Jesus—because he will save his people from their sins.”
Jesus learns God’s Word
Jesus studied God’s Word and got ready for His life’s work. When He was twelve years old, He under stood God’s Word better than His teachers. He loved it and always obeyed it.
Jesus is baptized
When Jesus was thirty, He left Nazareth to go from town to town teaching God’s Word. God sent Him to where John the Baptist was preaching. John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
Matthew 3:16-17. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he came up out of the water. Then heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and lighting on him. Then a voice said from heaven, “This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased.”
For You to Do
- Fill in the blanks: “Jesus” means ________ Jesus was baptized in the _________ River by ________ the Baptist. God said: “This is my own dear _________.”
- What would Jesus save His people from?
a) The Roman government
b) Poverty and disease
c) Their sins
Anointed For God’s Work
Prophets, priests, and kings were anointed with oil to show that the Holy Spirit would help them work for God. The promised Savior was called the Messiah or Christ. Both names mean “anointed.” Isaiah the prophet wrote about Him:
Luke 4:18-19. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has chosen me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people.”
Isaiah’s prophecy came true in Jesus. He went everywhere preaching the good news. He touched sick people and made them well. The blind could see again. Captives of sin found liberty. Jesus said about Isaiah’s prophecy, “This passage of Scripture has come true today.”
For You to Do
- Memorize Isaiah’s prophecy.
- What names mean “anointed”? _________ or _________.
- Why could Jesus heal the sick?
a)He knew many remedies.
b) He had studied medicine.
c) The Spirit of the Lord anointed Him to do it.
Jesus Teaches A Village Woman
A trip through Samaria
Jesus chose twelve men to be His helpers. We call them His disciples or students. Two of them, Matthew and John, wrote about Jesus’ life. John tells about visiting Samaria.
The shortest road from Galilee to Jerusalem went through the province of Samaria. Many travelers took the long way around because they hated the Samaritans. They looked down on the Samaritans because they were of a different race and had different customs. But Jesus did not feel that way toward the Samaritans. He loved everybody. God had promised to send the light of salvation to all nations. So Jesus went through Samaria to take God’s salvation there too.
For You to Do
- Was Jesus friendly to Samaritans?
a) No. They were of another race and religion.
b) Yes. Jesus loved everyone.
c) No. They were very sinful.
The water that satisfies
At the village of Sychar, Jesus sat down by the well while His disciples went to buy food. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus asked her for a drink. She was surprised that Jesus would speak to her.
John 4:10-14. Jesus answered, “If you only knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him, and he would give you lifegiving water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “you don’t have a bucket, and the well is deep. Where would you get that life-giving water?”
Jesus answered, “Whoever drinks this water will get thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring which will provide him with life-giving water and give him eternal life.”
When our body needs water, we get thirsty. Our spirit needs something just as much as our body needs water. Until we find it, we are unsatisfied and spiritually thirsty.
The Samaritan woman had tried to find satisfaction in love. She had been married five times and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband.
Jesus knew all about her as soon as He saw her. He knew she would never be happy until her sins were forgiven. So He told her about her sins. The woman admitted that it was just as Jesus said.
The Samaritan woman realized that Jesus was a man of God, a prophet. She was sure that He could help her. She asked about how to worship God. Memorize Jesus’ answer:
John 4:24. “God is Spirit, and only by the power of his Spirit can people worship him as he really is.”
Jesus also let her know that He was the Messiah. How happy the Samaritan woman was to meet the Savior! From then on her life would be different. She ran to tell her friends about Jesus. They too needed this living water.
John 4:41-42. Many more believed because of his message, and they told the woman, “We believe now, not because of what you said, but because we ourselves have heard him, and we know that he really is the Savior of the world.”
People try to find happiness in things, love, sex, drugs, alcohol, education, power, religion, good works, or withdrawal from life. None of this really satisfies. Only Jesus and His salvation can quench your thirst.
God who made me, You know what my thirsty spiritual needs are. Please forgive my sins. Give me the living water to satisfy my thirst. Teach me to worship You in spirit and in truth. Let me meet Jesus and know for myself that He is the Savior of the world.
For You to Do
- Have you found real satisfaction in Jesus? __________ Would you like to? _____________
Jesus Teaches A Rich Man
Once a rich man came running up to Jesus, knelt before Him, and asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” He was trying to be good enough to get into that beautiful home in heaven. The rich man hadn’t killed anybody or committed adultery. He hadn’t stolen, lied, or cheated. He honored his parents.
Such a good man he was, and yet he lacked something. No one is good enough to get into heaven. His sin was selfishness. He thought more of his own comfort than he did of helping others. He loved money more than he loved God. He needed salvation just as much as the Samaritan woman. To have true happiness and eternal life, we must put God first.
Mark 10:21. Jesus looked straight at him with love and said, “You need only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.”
Jesus would have given him what he was looking for—eternal life—but the poor rich man went away sad without it. He chose riches on earth rather than riches in heaven.
For You to Do
- Do you think the rich man made a good choice? _____________
- Will trying to be good get you into heaven? ___________
If you have a spiritual need or problem, your teacher will be glad to pray for you.