Thinking Christian

Thinking Christianity for church, home, and community

Jesus’ Amazing No-Explanation Lesson

Posted on Jan 26, 2013 by Tom Gilson

Jesus' message in John 6:26-70 broke all the rules:

  • His major points were difficult and confusing
  • He didn't explain them
  • His closing questions left matters even more unexplained

He didn't preach that way every time, but early in his ministry as John records it, this was typical of Jesus' approach.

When might that be appropriate in your teaching ministry?

It might have something to do with letting our listeners work hard to acquire understanding, so that it goes deeper into their hearts. Questions are good. Research agrees with what Jesus already made clear. Students who wrestle with questions and doubts, and who have adults in their lives who support them in their questioning, stick with their faith more than students who are simply given answers and told to accept them.

It might have something to do with causing our listeners look inside themselves, which seemed to be Jesus' intent with many of his questions.

I know the risks: if you give sermon or lesson that leaves listeners confused or wondering, you'll get some unpleasant phone calls and emails afterward. Still, if we're going to follow Jesus' model, it seems like we ought to at least be thinking through the example he set there in John 6.

He did it for a reason. What was it, and when and where might it apply in your teaching ministry?

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