Jesus talked about a whole heap of important topics. He was an incredible teacher and discipled others perfectly. For us, it may be hard to know where to start when discipling and discussing important topics with others. So here were Jesus’ top 5 topics for your inspiration…
The Kingdom of God
We see most of Jesus’ teaching on ‘The Kingdom’ in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, although it appears frequently in all four gospels. While the Kingdom of God can be harder to explain, don’t worry. Jesus frequently used parables and stories to explain what the Kingdom of God is like. Plenty of these can be found in Matthew 13. In these stories we can see repeated key points – one is that the Kingdom of God grows and spreads. On one occasion, Jesus compares the Kingdom to a mustard seed: “Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” (Matthew 13:32 NIV) Secondly, it is of the utmost quality and value. This is evident in many of Jesus’ teachings including the Parable of the pearl: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field” (Matthew 13:44 NIV). The Kingdom should also be sown in to – when we put our efforts into building the Kingdom of God, it’s like an investment. Another important element of Jesus’ teaching and His stories is that only those who humble themselves and show mercy to others will inherit or experience God’s Kingdom.
God the Father
The Trinity can be a tricky thing for us to get our head around. Imagine how much harder it must be for non-believers. It’s no surprise that Jesus was keen to reiterate the relationship between himself and ‘Father’ God, while also helping people to understand their oneness. He said: “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30 NIV). Jesus pointed to the person of the Father in many explanations and teachings – making it clear that He, as the son, had distinct roles from the Father and that the two work in a complementary way. He said of himself : ‘but he comes so that the world may learn that I love the Father and do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.’ (John 14:31 NIV). He also used the person of God the Father to illustrate that there was ‘more’ or ‘greater’ to come. What a helpful reminder that people should set their sights on something beyond just what they see with their eyes. He also used the relationship between Himself and the Father to help us to understand our own relationship with God. ‘If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.’ (John 15:10 NIV)
Jesus makes clear that all our gains are found in faith. During his ministry on Earth, his interactions were to encourage or offer opportunities for faith in Him. Jesus clearly showed that faith and forgiveness come hand in hand, and was happy to state that in front of witnesses. In Luke 7 we see a woman, labelled a ‘sinner’, cry on, wipe, and kiss the feet of Jesus. She clearly had an awareness of who He was. When those who were in the house began to criticise her actions, Jesus says: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:47 NIV). He then goes on to say to the woman: “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50 NIV). Time and time again, Jesus’ words taught people that faith could be found in any kind of person, and that salvation is offered to all. He also demonstrates that faith is an ongoing discipline, that we will need to use in many situations throughout life. He said to his disciples, after they had struggled to drive out a demon: “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20 NIV)
Jesus uses many parables to show the different views of people when dealing with their money. He uses stories of business, of precious items and of authority to teach us key principles. In short, generosity, humility and integrity are key to managing our money. We should not hold tightly to materials but hold tightly to the one who provides all things. This is summarised when Jesus says: ‘“Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”’ (Luke 12:15 NIV). In fact, the whole chapter of Luke 12 is a great place to gain a new perspective when it comes to money and materialistic things. Another key teaching is that we should use all that we have to sow into honouring God and making his work evident. Not only that, but share what we have with even the most unexpected of people. We should help those in need, and not just those we are friends with. In Luke 14, we see multiple examples of this. When we realise that the gift of God, eternal life, is the most valuable thing we could obtain, all other things slot into place, and into order of priority.
Sin / Satan
Jesus was not afraid to get real about the relentless nature of the Satan, and the power of sin in our lives. It’s reasonable to assume that this was because He knew that His place and His authority was well above any other powers, even of evil. Many times when Jesus speaks about evil and sin, he also highlights the better power, the better action, the better outcome. He establishes goodness, faith and heaven as above any temptations, trials or situations we may find ourselves in. Throughout His ministry, Jesus made it clear through actions and words, that this was the chance for humanity to leave behind sin forever. That He was the answer to the world’s trouble, and that He shouldn’t be ignored. Jesus was serious about sin, but also had the authority to forgive once and for all. He explains this in John 8:34-36: ‘Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.’ (NIV)
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