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spacerJesus' Teaching

According to the Gospels, Jesus spent his time traveling, healing, and teaching. He taught an inner group of 12 disciples who traveled with him, as well as larger multitudes of people who flocked to see him in town after town. Jesus taught from within the Jewish tradition, and many in his audiences were Jews. Others outside the Jewish tradition followed him as well. Indeed, from many of its earliest recorded moments, Christianity has looked beyond the Jewish tradition to a more universal message of God's love and divine plan.

The following passage from the Gospel of Matthew—the so-called Sermon on the Mount—is one of the most famous of Jesus' teaching and widely believed to be authentic. The sermon opens with the Beatitudes, blessings upon those marginalized and pious. It continues with exhortations to remain faithful through persecutions, keep God's commandments, practice sexual purity, avoid self-righteousness and greed, beware false prophets, and trust God to meet one's needs. This famous sermon also contains the widely known Lord's Prayer, which is prayed in Christian churches throughout the world nearly every day.

In addition to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is known for his special use of the parable as a teaching genre. Jesus was a storyteller, and his parables reveal as well as conceal, illumine gentle as well as provocative and mysterious truths. The following passage from Mark's Gospel contains the famous parable of the sower, as well as the shorter parables of the hidden lamp and the mustard seed. These parables speak of the "good news" of God's revelation through Jesus and its growth and effect in a world that often is hostile to it.

Jesus' Teaching

Matthew 5:1-7:29

Questions for Discussion

Mark 4:1-34

Questions for Discussion

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Originally posted: 11/14/2000; 5:16:29 PM
Last update: 12/19/2003; 6:35:59 PM
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