As Jesus’ disciples were gathered on the mountain in Galilee, meeting with Jesus after His glorious resurrection, Jesus continued His instructions to them. Having established that He Himself is the Highest Authority, Jesus told them to go and make disciples in all nations, immersing them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“Teach these new disciples,” Jesus said to His apostles, “teach them to obey all the commands I have given you.”
Brother Andrew, the well-known author of God’s Smuggler, tells the story of his repeated attempts to obtain a visa for communist East Germany, in order to bring Christian greetings and scriptures to the underground Christians there. Filling out his visa application once again, he suspected that his use of the word “Missionary” for his occupation was the cause of his repeated rejections. Then, he remembered this passage; Jesus had sent forth teachers. That would make him a teacher! He filled out his forms, using Jesus’ description of his occupation, and was accepted.
Jesus sends forth teachers, those who show both by their words and their lives how to live the New Life He is offering to all. In numerous places, when describing the gifts God has given to His Church, Paul lists teachers as separate from pastors, evangelists, and prophets. Jesus Himself was often called “Teacher” or “Rabbi.”
God has given to some of His saints the ability, not only to understand Gospel teachings, but also to help others understand as well. The purpose of this gift, Paul says, is to build up the church. Just as ordinary teachers (school teachers, professors, work instructors and more) are an indispensable part of our social life, so God has given to His Church teachers, to build up the body of Christ as a functioning, heavenly society.