I love ah-ha moments. I expect them literally every time I read from the Word. You see, God is not like man when it comes to what He says. Or, I should say, not like me. He doesn’t waste His words. So every book, every chapter, every verse, every word of His Word has been spoken and then written for a purpose.

Genesis 1:3

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening and there was morning—the first day.

Getting to the Root of it

The word “light,” found in Genesis 1:3 is, in Hebrew, “owr,” (transliterated and pronounced “ore”). Under the definitions (Strong’s #216)—and there are eleven—I find five that deserve a closer look:

1. Morning light
2. Light of a lamp
3. Light of life
4. Light of instruction
5. Jehovah as Israel’s Light

Light of Instruction

Before the birth and life of Jesus, the Bible records a great number of wise men and women who instructed those of their generation. There was Moses, of course. Joshua after him. The great priests like Aaron, Eli and Samuel. There were wise kings such as David and his son Solomon. The Minor Prophets (Joel, Obadiah, Amos, et al) and the Major Prophets (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, et al) stove desperately to impart knowledge and understanding of the things of God.

There were women who were teachers or counselors as well. Miriam, Deborah, Naomi, Abigail, to name but a few.

Before the ministry of Christ, His cousin John the Baptist instructed the people concerning the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. After the resurrection of Jesus, many were left behind to carry on in His name. There were what was left of the original disciples, of course; most notably Peter and Matthew and John. Paul and Timothy easily come to mind at the top of a long list of other teachers.

But no one gathered and held an audience like Rabbi Jesus. Even as a boy of twelve, He managed to astonish the current teachers in the temple courts of Jerusalem. For four days, apparently, he’d been with them, asking questions and giving answers. What a moment it must have been for his parents, Mary and Joseph, when they finally found him there and heard his words. Their son—their little boy—was holding the teachers of Jewish religion, of God’s law and man’s requirements completely captive by his knowledge and understanding.

From an early age Jesus proved Himself as more than a Messiah who would release the people from physical captivity, but more importantly from spiritual and intellectual captivity.

Hosea (one of the Minor Prophets) wrote these words from God, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.”  Hosea’s written words go on to say that the priests had failed to teach and the people had failed to listen. In fact, the way he writes it is this: “you have ignored the law of your God.”

Jesus as Teacher

In the days of Jesus, rabbis (teachers) were known to sit, which Jesus often did. But Jesus also stood as He taught and He also walked as He taught. He did more than just repeat the Law of the Prophets. He told stories (parables) that drew the people like flies to honey.

There was another interesting element about Jesus’ teaching. He taught women. When Martha of Bethany ran to get her sister Mary after the death of their brother Lazarus, she said, “The Teacher wants to see you.”

When Jesus taught it was not as a man who had studied, but as a man who knew first hand the elements of God of which He spoke. Jesus taught about the Kingdom of God, drawing the people to it, rather than insinuating they could never reach it. Jesus went to the people as one of them rather than dressed in fine robes wearing a fancy hat and sitting in a pristine temple waiting for them to come to Him so that He could perform some priestly duty over them. He ate with them, laughed with them, cried with them, and was baptized along with them. He spoke with compassion of deep, deep things in such a way as to impart wisdom rather than presenting Himself as being “all that.”