One thing a teacher has to be prepared to do is repeat themselves. One thing a teacher has to be prepared to do is…just kidding. No matter how many times you say something for some it may be the first time they hear it. Reading Peter’s retelling of his vision and his meeting with Cornelius in Acts 11 today reminded me of this.
As you read Jesus’ words it’s easy to think he said these things only on the occasion they are recorded but I’m sure he had to repeat himself often. I am currently using the New American Standard version of the Bible and today something jumped out at me. Peter says in Acts 11:16 “I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ The way this is worded implies that Jesus said this to the disciples all the time. Thank God the repetition seems to be finally paying off because Peter is putting two and two together. Jesus had told them they would be baptized by the Holy Spirit and sure enough the same thing has happened to Cornelius and his family.
Being a Bible teacher is wonderful and I could never think of not doing it, but sometimes it does seem as if no one is really getting what I’m saying. It’s as if you are saying the same thing over and over many times to the same people and yet the light just isn’t coming on. Those are the times when I am reminded that it is only God that can open their eyes. He will show them in his time. Until then my job is to just keep reminding them.
There were a few occasions when even Jesus started to show a little frustration. Once a man brought his son to the disciples in hopes they could cast a demonic spirit out of him but to no avail. The man told Jesus his disciples couldn’t do anything for him and Jesus said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” He cast the demon out of the boy and he was cured at once.
Another time Philip asked Jesus “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know me, Philip? Knowing that Jesus himself became agitated from time to time gives me hope. Now I’m not saying it gives any of us an excuse for impatience but it does help because underneath it all you realize the frustration only comes from wanting others to see the truth.
I remember years ago when I first really started studying the Bible. I would share something with Tracey (my wife) and she would think “That’s not true!” You see she had been saved for years and even gone to a Christian school, so she didn’t think I could teach her anything. Well, as time went by and I kept showing her the scriptures that backed up what I was saying she slowly started to receive it. Even still there were some things I told her she just didn’t seem to be able to get but she would say to me “I don’t really understand it, but don’t stop telling me!” After repeated conversations and countless examples she now has a deeper understanding of the Word and is teaching others.
Sometimes the longing for others to get a revelation from God, or insight in the word, is almost painful. The Apostle Paul compared it to labor pains. He told the Galatians “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” He longed for others to grow up in their faith and become fully established in Christ. Isn’t this what we all want? For others to find the peace that God has for them in hopes that they in turn will begin teaching others.
Written by Louie