Teach in Wisdom

Jeff Munroe

READ : Mark 4:30-34

With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. (v. 33)

Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, encouraged his staff to think of themselves as teachers instead of preachers. Not that he had anything against preachers. He was one. But he felt young people would be more apt to listen to a teacher who explained things rather than a preacher who ran the risk of becoming tiresome.

Jesus was a teacher who taught with great wisdom. In his parables, he used familiar image after familiar image to explain the Kingdom of God: a mustard seed, a lamp under a basket, lost sheep and coins and children, farmers sowing seed, and people discovering buried treasure. He understood his audience and spoke “as they were able to hear it.” As Eugene Peterson translates, “With many stories like these, he presented his message to them, fitting the stories to their experience and maturity” (v. 33 The Message).

We’ve all heard speakers who address an audience as if the listeners have degrees in astrophysics, and others who speak to adults like they are fourth graders. To use wisdom means to teach so that the listeners not only hear but also understand. After all, the key element in human communication isn’t what is said; it is what is understood. In our culture it takes real wisdom to present the message of the gospel in such a way that it gets listened to and understood.


Jesus, you were a great model for us as you taught. Help us follow your example.