Summary: How to Use Case Studies as Jesus Did

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How to Use Case Studies as Jesus

1. He allowed people to put themselves in many different difficult identities, roles, and responsibilities. This allowed the people to repeat this story imagining how the woman must have felt in such a desperate condition. Jesus highlighted the fact that the woman’s faith provided liberation from the evil spirits for her daughter. The faith of parent’s, teachers, and leaders can make a dramatic effect in freeing people from all types of bondage. He emphasized the regardless of a person’s background they are not limited from experiencing the best from the Lord. He taught the disciples an important lesson in overcoming their discriminatory tendencies by showing them that even a woman Gentile (A woman gentile would have been avoided at all costs by any self-respecting Jew during the times of Jesus) and her daughter were important for the Lord of the universe to care about.

2. Jesus showed that case studies do not always have easy solutions, but involve many complex factors. Even Jesus hesitated at first to address the woman’s need. It realized the difficulties of cross-cultural ministries. He was fully aware that His primary focus was to the Jews and not to the Gentiles. Yet, He trained His disciples in integratively solving problems with wisdom, knowledge, and faith.

3. Jesus used case studies as opportunities for the disciples to learn how to link theory and practice. One of the most difficult aspects of teaching in a theological seminary in Africa is nurturing the student’s ability to bridge theoretical abstract truths with their real lives and ministries. Case studies have a way of bringing the theoretical into practical terms that most students can really get their teeth into. Yesterday, I gave a case study about the dynamics of king-making in Africa for a Cultural Anthropology final exam. The students worked for four hours drawing links between the practical case study borrowed from Paul Hiebert’s Case Study book to principles learned in the class. They unanimously shared, ``This was the most meaningful exam we have ever taken in our life!’’

4. Jesus used case studies to broaden the horizons of His disciples. Most of the disciples rarely had the opportunity to move much beyond their home region. They lacked a greater global perspective that many of us have today thanks to global - satellite television, newspapers, and radios. A broadened perspective helps one see that failure in one aspect does not have to mean defeat in all elements of life. Macro perspectives lift our eyes beyond the problems of one’s immediate circumstances. The first verse that I read this morning challenged me to consider lofty perspective above my own closed system. Col. 3:1,2 said,

``Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.’’

While at the same time I am focusing my attention on heavenly concerns I am automatically putting to death my earthly evil desires. Jesus knew that parables and case studies have a medicinal affect on people’s thinking. Broadened horizons rid ourselves of the unregenerate practices, thoughts, and even feelings of those bound by their earthly passions.

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