Jesus' mission was not education. He was not here to bring motivation or inspiration. His mission was always unwaveringly liberation. To His core, He knew exactly what this meant. As a result, He was calculating and relentless in His pursuit. Every word, every move, every step was an intentional move to free men from the prison of their minds and untangle the knots of the knowledge of good and evil.
Clearly Jesus defined freedom in a particular way, and watching what He did can help us understand how the Author of freedom thinks about freedom.
He took a group of men and traveled across the countryside teaching them how to change everything they encountered and touched. Think of it this way: He was showing twelve guys and a crew of persistent women what it looked like and how to practice dominion over the creation.
“Fever go away,” He would say, and then he would make sure that His followers caught what had happened.
“Peace, be still,” He would say to a storm, and then he would turn and be sure their eyes had been on Him.
Encountering a crowd of religious know-it-alls? He peered inside their hearts and told stories. “Once upon a time there was a man who owed a little bit of money…” and then He would steal a glance at His disciples. “Get it?” the gleam in His eye would say.
A scared insecure tax collector? A shame-filled near-death prostitute? A self-confident Pharisee? All of these fell under the sway of Jesus restoring God’s blueprint to the cosmos.
Two things stand out to me about Jesus' strategy. First, He spent the bulk of His time teaching them how to be and what to do, not on rules and restrictions. Second, He taught them on the move, not in a classroom.
Jesus was restoring God’s intended design. He was showing men and women how Adam and Eve might have taken dominion over the creation. Contrary to our religious mindset, He was not spending His time trying to get them to behave well.
Jesus was showing them how to step into the role for which they were created. We were created to take dominion over the planet. Over the kingdom of darkness. Over sickness. Over hopelessness. Over fear and insecurity. All of these things and more were designed to be subject to us. Jesus took His team on the road and showed them how to do this.
Any prohibitions He may have handed out were all in the context of teaching them how to be who they were made to be and do what they were made to do. He was not showing them what not to do. He was showing them who to be.
Secondly, His approach to this was to go and do, and teach on the way. People who are learning about something they are already doing have an entirely different learning process than those who are learning about something they may do someday.
You teach athletes their game out on the field, not in a classroom. Wilderness education takes place with hungry people in cold forests. They are very motivated to learn about how to eat and how to stay warm.
Classrooms minus experience teach information, and implicitly they teach passivity. If you want someone to grow and learn, take them right out in the middle of reality and then begin to show them how to be.
Jesus did not come to educate men about how to avoid bad behavior or better strategies for better Bible scholarship.
Jesus did not come to motivate people to get up off their chairs and try harder.
Jesus came to liberate people from the prison of the world that has been wrapped around our minds.