Jesus was chosen by God to be our teacher, but not just a teacher, our complete example. In Jesus, we have our model for how God wishes us to live, and in him is our assurance that a human being may live according to God's will.
Jesus calls us to live lives of radical love, radical service and radical obedience. And invites us to become his life-long students, learning to serve God and Others.
To consider Jesus as anything less than a teacher who challenges his students to achieve greatness makes Jesus into something less, something small, something light and easy to obtain.
That which we obtain cheaply, we esteem lightly. A gift freely given, a gift unwrapped and unused, is a worthless gift, regardless of the cost. Teachings unused, and unapplied, are exactly the same - useless.
The word "Teachings" can have a weak sense about it. Some who claim his name even MOCK Jesus' teachings, as if they are not really that important.
But we can flippantly follow the moral teachings of a philosopher, or not. We can heed a schoolteachers' teachings, or casually ignore them. But if we believe God chose Jesus as humanity's teacher, his teachings are vital to all that we do.
And to call ourselves his students, then, is the most important thing we can do, because these teachings are the most pure, most Godly and therefore most important teachings ever shared amongst the human race.
To follow Jesus' teachings is a challenge no other teacher has ever made.
No other teacher has called us to live lives of radical love - a love that dares equate what we give to our neighbors, to strangers, and even to our enemies, to what we give our SELVES.
No other teacher has called us to live lives of radical service - a service that leads us to think of Others first, to deny our own needs, to care for all who are suffering and in need, and to always do more than is required.
And no other teacher has called us to live lives of radical obedience - serving God completely, repenting of our past sins, seeking Heavenly, rather than Earthy treasure, and striving to live in complete and perfect obedience to God's will.
Some say that we can never be perfect students, so why even listen to the teachings? Others believe they can get an "A+" by just being the teacher's pet, or that they can contemptuously ignore the teacher's instructions, but still graduate simply by shouting that same teacher's praises! But Jesus says it doesn't work that way.
The easy path, where all doors are opened for us and all gates are wide, isn't the path Jesus calls us to tread.
Instead, Jesus knows that, like all students, we will fall short, we will fail, and we won't do our best at all times. No student gets an A+ all the time, and certainly without effort, and Jesus never expected instant perfection from those who accepted his instruction.
God didn't choose Jesus as our teacher to mock us, and Jesus - like any good teacher - doesn't mock us for falling short of the goals that God set for us, either.
We are called by Jesus to seek God's forgiveness when we fall short of these very, very challenging goals. We have the gift of prayer to seek wisdom and strength to achieve them, and the knowledge that God's forgiveness is infinite, as long as we are seeking Godly Righteousness, and that we repent when we sin.
Jesus challenges us to be better students of Godly Righteousness. This teacher, Jesus, is worthy of our full attention and devotion.