That is, to teach:
"Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching."
This is a fact that many ecclesiastical sectarian teachers seem to gloss over. They say that Jesus' purpose for coming to the planet was to die for our sins.
This is diametrically opposed to the very concept of teaching. Why would someone need to teach anything if their so-called death would cleanse us of our sins just by accepting they died for our sins? If all we had to do is "accept Jesus into our hearts" and "accept that he died for my sins," then why would he have needed to teach?
The very act of teaching indicates something very clear: Teaching indicates there is something to be learned. Jesus was teaching because he wanted his students to learn.
The two critical issues of any teaching are the source and the central message. Consider first the Source of Jesus' teachings:
"My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me." (John 7:16)
"If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but He sent me." (John 8:42)It is obvious from Jesus' own statements that he is God's messenger. God has sent Jesus to teach us something. What did God send Jesus to teach us?
Consider what some Jewish disciples said to Jesus:
"Teacher," they said, "we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth." (Matt. 22:16)"The way of God in accordance with the truth" indicates that it was broadly recognized that Jesus was teaching people about God. "The way of God" means to teach about God.
In other words, Jesus was introducing people to God.
Just consider if someone wanted to become friends with us. What might they do? Surely they would send someone they know intimately to introduce us right?
Why? Because the intimate friend would be able to introduce the person as a third party. This creates the opportunity to come to know the person through the messenger.
For example, what if we wanted to become friends with the President of the United States. Could we pick up the phone and just call him? No. The best way to become friends with such a person is to be introduced to them by someone who is already friends with them. And even then, the process would likely require us to become friends with that friend of the President. Making friends with a friend of the President would allow us a process of preparing to meet the President. The President's friend might set up the meeting, as well as instruct us on what the President likes and dislikes. They might tell us what things might offend the President. They might tell us what kind of gift to bring to the President. Maybe the President likes a certain type of fruit, for example. The President's friend could tell us this.
And when such a friend introduces us, the President, seeing that we have become his friend's friend, will more likely want to become friends. There is a linkage of friendship that takes place: A friend of a friend. The President will want to meet his friend's friend, because of the relationship the President already has with his friend.
This is the process that God uses as well. God is all about relationships, and the unwritten universal rules of relationships stem from His relationships. God sends us His representatives to introduce us to Him, and allow us to begin to form a relationship with Him. These representatives are more than just ambassadors: They share an intimate loving relationship with the Supreme Being.
Jesus shared with his students how to develop such a personal relationship with God. He was sent by the Supreme Being to introduce people to Him. Those who heard Jesus' teachings and followed them were in turn introduced to God personally. They were able to come to know and love God by virtue of their relationship with Jesus. Jesus communicated this clearly to his students:
"Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me." (John 14:24)Jesus taught and illustrated with his life how we can please God, and how we can establish a loving relationship with the Supreme Being. He showed us with his teachings and his life that God is pleased when we praise Him. God is pleased when we think about Him. God is pleased when we offer gifts to Him. God is pleased when we devote ourselves to Him. God is pleased when we serve Him and make practical sacrifices for Him. Why? Because God knows that all of these loving activities ultimately make us happy. Because God loves us, and wants us to be happy.
This is how Jesus "saves." Learning and applying Jesus' teachings renders purification: Purification of our self-centered consciousness that leads us to sinful behavior.
Jesus also taught other intimate details about God's Personality. This is how the process of coming to know God works. God's representative enjoys an intimate relationship with God, and God sends us His representative to teach and show - according to the time and circumstance - how to rearrange our lives in such a way as to come to know Him and develop a personal relationship with Him.
The culmination of any personal relationship is love. Love means forging a relationship whereby we render loving service to the person we love, and we commit our lives to that person. This is the ultimate form of relationship with God, and this is what Jesus taught:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 23:37-38)
(For a translation of Jesus' statements from the Book of Matthew without institutional sectarian influence, see the Gospels of Jesus - translated from the original Greek texts.)