Jesus: Teacher and Savior
Mark 4:2, "And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,"
The Greek word used here for "doctrine" means "teaching" and occurs a total of 30 times in the New Testament. The four gospels refer to Jesus teaching 43 times and preaching 19 times, and six verses refer to Him preaching and teaching in the same verse. This would indicate that Jesus spent twice as much time teaching as He did preaching. Jesus' teaching is the basic building block of making disciples and a stumbling block to the religious.
Why is it that a person who is seeking so hard to please God can be rejected, while a person who has not sought God at all can come into a righteous relationship with Him? This is an important question and its answer is one of the most profound doctrines in scripture. The answer is faith and its object.
The Jews were zealous for the things of God, but their faith was in themselves. They were trusting that they could earn God's favor by their acts of righteousness. On the other hand, the Gentiles had no holiness to trust in. So, when they heard the Gospel message that Jesus paid our debt for us, they readily accepted His "gift" of salvation, while the religious Jews could not abandon their trust in themselves for salvation.
The same problem exists today. Millions of church people are trying to live holy lives, but they do not have a true faith in Jesus as their Savior. If they were to stand before God and He was to ask them what they had done to deserve salvation, they would immediately start recounting all their acts of holiness such as church attendance, giving receipts, etc. Regardless of how good our actions are compared to others, they always come short of the perfect standard of God. The only response to this kind of question that would grant us entrance to heaven is to say, "my only claim to salvation is faith in Jesus as my Savior." Let Him be the object of your faith today. He is all you need.