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Jesus Took Advantage of Teachable Moments

Oliver Wendell Holmes once described the teachable moment this way: “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.”

As Christ walked among us, teachable moments often presented themselves in circumstances, situations, and events that were seemingly unplanned. Sometimes the participants would respond to the events with a question or a simple statement of observation. Then, Jesus had a habit of responding with another question or with a saying that was difficult to understand. As he continued to fan that spark of curiosity or interest, the discussion would leave the person deep in thought and the encounter would be forever branded on the listener’s mind.

Ask Nicodemus about his conversation with Christ and he could probably tell you every single word! The same with the woman at the well, the man healed on the sabbath, the paralytic lowered through the roof, the woman in the crowd who touched his garments, and I dare say, every person who had a personal encounter with Christ.

Like the rich young ruler who walked away saddened, some left unable to accept the truth that had been revealed. But for others, that one teachable moment became a life-changing experience! Jesus began with the day to day moments of life, and used those moments to spotlight spiritual truths.

It was characteristic of Jesus to make use of whatever occasion arose. This is one of the reasons his teaching was so alive and exciting! When you see the events of life through heaven’s eyes, all of life can become a canvas on which truths of God reveal themselves in a myriad of vivid colors and hues!

  • When His disciples were accused of working on the Sabbath and breaking the Sabbath Law by threshing wheat, Jesus used the occasion to instruct the Pharisees on the real intention of the Sabbath Law.
  • When the woman anointed Jesus’ feet in the house of Simon the Pharisee and Jesus was criticized for permitting such a sinful woman to touch Him, He used the occasion to teach on forgiveness.

Do you make use of occasions as they arise in your classroom to teach your students spiritual truths? Look for them, be aware of them, and make use of them.

In the world today, it’s hard to follow your youth through the daily moments of their lives and recognize and fan into flame those teachable moments. Yet, with a carefully chosen icebreaker, game, or learning activity, you can create a controlled experience where teachable moments can spring into existence. As they do, the effective teacher can pick out those little sparkles among the mundane and polish them into life-changing diamonds of truth! Truths that will last an eternity!

For 52 of my best ice-breakers with detailed instructions on how to use them as teachable moments and transition to life changing truths, visit


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