Everyone has an opinion about Jesus. Many of us think he was God in the flesh while others do not. Almost everyone can come to the agreement that Jesus at the very least was a good teacher.
I was sitting in the home of a woman named Angela and her cohabitant whose name I can’t remember. She had been reading and learning about Jesus and had several questions for me as a preacher. We talked about Jesus and his life and ministry. The conversation had been going for a while, probably over a half hour, when the man chimed in his thoughts. “Jesus had it right,” he said, “If we all just loved our enemies and turned the other cheek, the world would be a much better place.” Angela and I finished our conversation but his words still lingered in my head.
As the providence of God would have it I was preaching on the life of Jesus a couple of weeks later. The sermon was about Jesus’ life and teaching. I used the man’s words as an illustration for the sermon and then I stated the obvious – at least to me. Jesus was a good teacher with nice words that people liked in his day and still do now. The problem, as I see it, is what happened to that good teacher who taught nice things. The people heard his words and then turned around and crucified him. It appears Jesus was killed trying to be a nice person.
The reality is this, God may want us to live a nice life following a Good teacher, but the problem is the evil in my heart that rejects his good teaching. Jesus brought us a new way to live but his greatest gift was that he handled the evil inside me through his death on the cross. Receiving the grace of God is bigger than turning the other cheek.
Today I am thankful that Jesus was more than a good teacher, because his nice life that led to his death was for my salvation.