Luke 6:40 “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”
Jesus touched on this theme several times, most notably in the Upper Room Discourse in John 14-16. The NIV here uses “student,” but the Japanese uses “disciple/apprentice.” When we hear “student” we think of an academic setting, but our current image of such was completely unknown in the 1st Century. It’s not that “book learning” was unknown, but rather that education was far more action oriented, “hands on,” if you will. That’s why I think “apprentice” would be a better choice of words here. When we recently visited one of the believers from this church who is in the middle of a 2-month practicum as an occupational therapist, he talked about how interacting with patients helped him understand just why he had studied various things, like nerves and muscles and psychology. Only in using that information did it fully come home to him. That’s why Jesus said, “fully trained” here. Until we apply truth in our lives it remains theoretical, in a sense less than real to us. You can study the manual all you like, but until you get behind the wheel of a car, you won’t really learn to drive. We are back to James’s words about deceiving ourselves if we fail to apply the truth we hear. (James 1:22) Jesus’ disciples in all ages are to learn to be like Him by doing what He says and imitating Him. We are in a lifelong “practicum,” but fortunately we have the ultimate Teacher.
As someone who has been a school teacher as well as a pastor for many years now, this really hits home. I find some things are far easier to teach than others. For example, trying to teach people to use computers is a major frustration to me, because I never had anyone teach me, but rather picked it up on my own. Teaching Medical English is far easier, but the classroom setting is limiting when I don’t have English-speaking patients for my students to work with. However, teaching vocal production/pronunciation is most satisfying. Each student is confronted with their own abilities, and the content is anything but theoretical. I am reminded of the story of the wise and foolish builders, recorded from verse 46 on in this same chapter. If we fail to apply what Jesus teaches us we end up with a “house of cards,” to use a slightly different image. It is only when we do what He tells us that we really grasp the meaning and become more like Him. I get frustrated with students who don’t follow directions. How much more does my Lord get frustrated with me when I fail to follow His directions?
Father, thank You for this reminder. Keep me pressing in for more of You, to be more like Jesus, more filled with Your Spirit, so that I may indeed do Your will for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!