For pupils, Jesus gathered an assortment of inquisitive men and women who lived near his new home in the bustling Galilean town of Capernaum. They were ordinary working folk who showed an active interest in Jesus’ specialist subject - the coming together of heaven with everyday life.
Jesus’ teaching quickly gained popularity. It wasn’t a high-brow, ivory tower education, with noses in books and heads in the clouds. Jesus taught people at their place of work, with examples taken from the everyday realities of farming, fishing and financial affairs.
If you were to attend one of Jesus’ lessons, this is the sort of thing you would learn:
- Everyone knows there’s a law against murder, but I say to you, don’t even insult people or be rude to them. God cares about that just as much.
- There’s no need to make oaths, simply be honest in everything you say.
- If someone does something bad to you, don’t take revenge, let it pass. That’s what God is like.
- Anyone can be friendly and generous to their friends or to people who will pay them back. Be different. Be friendly to your enemies and generous to people who can never pay you back.
- Don’t try to impress other people with your religion. They may be impressed, but God won’t be.
- Don’t worry about the future. Trust the future to God and focus on today. That’s quite enough to be worrying about!
- All in all - treat other people the way you would want them to treat you.
A great deal of religious teaching is about the things you supposedly need to do in order to get into heaven. Jesus’ teaching was different. He tells us about the things we need to do to bring heaven into our everyday lives.