True Education


Chapter 9—An Illustration of His Methods

The most complete illustration of Christ’s methods as a teacher is found in His training of the first disciples. Upon these twelve men were to rest weighty responsibilities. He had chosen them as men whom He could imbue with His Spirit, and who could be fitted to carry forward His work on earth when He should leave it. To them, above all others, He gave the advantage of His own companionship. Through personal association He impressed Himself upon these chosen colaborers. “The life was manifested,” says John the beloved, “and we have seen, and bear witness.” 1 John 1:2. TEd 52.1

Only by the communion of mind with mind and heart with heart, of the human with the divine, can be communicated that vitalizing energy which it is the work of true education to impart. TEd 52.2

In the training of His disciples the Savior followed the system of education established at the beginning. The Twelve, with a few others who ministered to their needs and were from time to time connected with them, formed the family of Jesus. They accompanied Him on His journeys, shared His trials and hardships, and, as much as possible, entered into His work. TEd 52.3

Sometimes He taught them as they sat together on the mountainside, sometimes beside the sea or from the fisherman’s boat, sometimes as they walked together. Whenever He spoke to the multitude, the disciples formed the inner circle. They pressed close beside Him that they might lose nothing of His instruction. They were attentive listeners, eager to understand the truths they were to teach in all lands and to all ages. TEd 52.4

The first pupils of Jesus were chosen from the ranks of the common people. They were humble, unlettered fishermen unschooled in the learning and customs of the rabbis, but trained by the stern discipline of toil and hardship. They had native ability and a teachable spirit. They could be instructed and molded for the Savior’s work. In the common walks of life there are many workers patiently treading the round of their daily tasks, unconscious of latent powers that, if roused to action, would place them among the world’s great leaders. Such were those who were called by the Savior to be His colaborers. And they had the advantage of three years’ training by the greatest educator this world has ever known. TEd 53.1

In these first disciples there was marked diversity. Destined to be the world’s teachers, they represented widely varied types of character. There were Levi Matthew the publican, called from a life of business and subservience to Rome; Simon the zealot, an uncompromising foe of the imperial authority; warmhearted Peter, impulsive and self-sufficient, with Andrew his brother; Judas the Judean, polished, capable, and mean-spirited; Philip and Thomas, faithful and earnest yet slow of heart to believe; James the less and Jude, of less prominence among the group but men of force, positive both in their faults and in their virtues; Nathanael, a child in sincerity and trust; and the ambitious, loving-hearted sons of Zebedee. TEd 53.2

In order to carry forward their work successfully, these disciples, differing widely in natural characteristics, in training, and in habits of life, needed to come into unity of feeling, thought, and action. To secure this unity, Christ worked to bring them into unity with Himself. The burden of His efforts for them is expressed in His prayer to the Father, “that they all may be one; as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us: ... that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them, as You have loved Me.” John 17:21-23. TEd 53.3