Friday, April 29, 2011

Carpenter's Class

Today's passage:  Isaiah 54/John 6
     "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children."  Jesus quoted this verse in John 6:45 to a crowd the day following the feeding of the five thousand.
       I can imagine my own children gathered at Jesus' feet, sitting on His lap.  He would have been a master storyteller, keeping even the littlest ones attention.  This was not just a carpenter moonlighting as a prophet.  This was no ordinary rabbi.  This was the Son of God.  And He was teaching them.  What an experience that must have been! Years after the book of Isaiah was written, Christ is quoting this verse and fulfilling it at the same time.  They were being taught of the Lord. 
     The sixth chapter of John is the "bread of life" passage.  How appropriate after they had just been fed the day before with loaves and fishes.  What a perfect illustration for the little ones.  I am reminded that God knows exactly how we learn.  When Christ was here on earth, He used many different methods because He knew we all have different learning styles.  Sometimes He would use an object lesson (the fig tree; the mustard seed), sometimes He would use nature (the calming of the storm), sometimes He would use parables (the lost sheep, the prodigal son).  All of these methods would appeal to different people in the crowd.  The message never changed.  I am not advocating that churches should start entertaining the crowd.  Christ did not do that either.  He used different approaches to get his point across. 
     Teachers need to be aware that not everyone learns the exact same way.  Parents know this.  All of our children have different ways of learning. My oldest son learns by reading and listening.  My second son takes a more hands-on approach.  My youngest son watches the older two.  If Jesus were to teach the story of the wise man and the foolish man to my three boys, I can imagine Him explaining and diagramming the best way to build a house with my oldest son.  With my middle son, He might bring out the carpenter's tools and let him hammer and nail away to get the feel of what building a house was like, while my youngest would stand quietly close by and observe.
Jesus Grew Up as a Carpenter's Son--Taken from Standard Bible Story Reader, Book Three
By Lillie A. Faris, Illustrated by O.A. Stemler and Bess Bruce Cleaveland
The Standard Publishing Company, 1926
 I don't really know how Christ taught the people because I was not there.  But I can imagine that he may have gotten the children a little involved, because He knows how children learn.  Do I take these things into account when I am trying to teach my own children a lesson? When I teach my Sunday School lesson, do I try to help the child who is more active and wants to do rather than just listen to my voice?  All children need to be trained to sit and listen. It is an important skill they will need for life. But when Mommy or Daddy ask them, "What did you learn in Sunday School today?", will they be able to answer?  If I make my lesson memorable for each learner, hopefully they will.

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