Teacher: My God and My Vocation
In my estimation, the Book of Psalms is one of the most valuable portions of the Holy Bible. In its beautiful poetic way, it supplies us with prayers that express every need, desire, and concern that pertain to us fallen human beings. It also instructs us with the answers to our every question, including where our salvation comes from. The Psalmist states, "My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. The Lord will keep you from all evil. He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and coming in from this time forth and forevermore" (Psalm 121. 2, 7-8).
Of course, we would know none of this if not that God in His grace has seen fit to instruct us. Accordingly, throughout the Psalms, God is acknowledged as the teacher par excellence. "Lead me in your truth and teach me, /or you are the God of my salvation, for you, I wait all the day long" (25:5). "food and upright are the Lord, therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way" (25:8-9). "Teach me your way, 0 Lord, that I may walk in your truth, unite my heart to fear your name" (86:11). The LORD God Himself acknowledges His very "vocation" as a teacher. He says, "/ am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go" (Isaiah 48. 17).
Thanks be to God that He graciously desires to teach us! None of us would know the truth if not for God's instruction. Bonn in the likeness of Adam, a sinner, we are void of truth. Our minds have been corrupted, our thinking ability weakened, and the knowledge of God, true righteousness, and even of ourselves as those specially created in the image of God has fled from us. If we as a species are to survive and as sinners are to be saved we need our Creator, our God, to teach us.
From the very beginning, the LORD has been instructing us. He came to the newly created man in the garden and taught him, even before the woman was created. He then passed on that vocation of a teacher to the man who in turn taught the woman what God had taught him. One could make the case that the man's failure to teach her correctly, or at least, reinforce his teaching with rebuke when, under the deceptions of the devil, she was falsely interpreting the LORD's instruction, lead to mankind's ultimate fall into sin and death.
God's instruction finds its ultimate expression, however, in the incarnation of the Son of God Himself. He came down and became flesh of our flesh to manifest God and His salvation to us. St. John writes that the Son of God became flesh to literally "publish" the divine secrets to humanity (John 1:18). Only in the flesh of Jesus do we truly learn, comprehend, and understand God, our relationship to Him, our own natures, and our eternal salvation. On Jesus' cross, we come to know the true heart of God towards us. Jesus' public ministry was all about teaching people the truths of God's kingdom. In the Gospels, we hear Jesus' disciples frequently address Him as "Teacher."
The LORD has also consistently appointed His people to take up His vocation as a Teacher. The man's headship in the family is the very God assigned authority to teach. "Fathers, bring your children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 5. 22). In his discussion of proper worship decorum, the apostle Paul stated, "The women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home" (I Corinthians 14.34). Teaching is also the heart and soul of being a parent. Moses said to the parents of Israel of their responsibility to teach the statutes of the LORD to children: "You shall teach them diligently to your children, arid shall talk of them when you sit in your house, arid when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise" (Deuteronomy 6:7). Likewise, the apostle Paul says to Christian fathers and mothers: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4).
Throughout history, God has also called and appointed first prophets and then apostles to teach the rest of us His Word of Truth. In His calling of Moses, the LORD gave him this assurance: "Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak" (Exodus 4. 12). It has not ended with them, however.
Even with the death of the last of the prophets and apostles, His body of believers, the church, is still charged with teaching. Before He ascended into heaven, Jesus gave this commandment to his followers, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matthew 28. 19-20). The Incarnate Teacher of all truth is with us, His body, the Church, and still teaching ignorant, fallen, mankind through us. What are we here for but to teach, to teach our fellow fallen brothers and sisters the truth that leads them back to their Creator through the Son so that they might have eternal life with Him.
Our purpose, our very identity, as those who have been brought into Jesus Christ through the teaching of the Gospel and the new birth of Holy Baptism is the vocation of teaching the Gospel truth. You could say it's in our blood! Individually, we do this by fulfilling our teaching vocation as parents and as witnesses of Jesus Christ to our neighbors. "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light" (1 Peter 2.'9). Corporately, we take up the mantle of teacher by supporting our congregational teaching ministries: Vacation Bible School, Sunday School, and our Lutheran Classical School, with our prayers, donations, and voluntary service.
Our teaching ministries will be resuming in full force in September. God grant us His grace to take up once again this teaching vocation in earnest and with great joy that we go about our Father's business!
Your teacher in the Lord,