In my Introduction to Christian Education class, our seminary professor said, “Although we tend to think about Christian Education as specific activities like Sunday school, teaching retreats, and workshops, the truth is that everything we do at church is educational. Everything that happens in worship, every meeting, every encounter, every Wednesday night supper served and shared, every mission trip is modeling something about who we experience God
Although we have many examples in Scripture when Jesus engages in formal teaching, sitting in a field or at a disciple’s home, in truth he is constantly teaching and showing those around him who God is. In this story from Luke, Jesus came down with them and stood at their level, close enough for them to touch him. (v. 17). By doing this, Jesus demonstrates who he is: Emmanuel, God with us. Luke tells us that the people who surround him have come from all over the region because we need to learn that God is for and with everyone.
This passage overflows with abundance, from the number of people in the crowd that the Gospel describes as a great multitude to the power that flows out of Jesus and heals everyone who is in need. We find no distance between Jesus and the people in this passage because the writer makes a point of removing all of the barriers we are accustomed to: barriers of geography, status, and accessibility. Jesus is teaching the disciples, those present around him, and those reading this story today that with God there really are no limits on love and goodness.
Beyond Sunday school, Bible studies, and sermons, how does your church “teach” who God is?
God, help me to learn your ways from those around me who serve generously, live out your hope, and do not limit your compassion. Amen.