How Much More: Introduction with Rabbi Jesus

How Much More: Introduction with Rabbi Jesus

How Much More: Introduction with Rabbi Jesus.

Rabbi Jesus was a true entrepreneur in His teaching ministry, employing a wide variety of teaching methods as He went from person to person, crowd to crowd, village to village. He chose to labor long and hard in the role of teacher, inspiring listeners to become learners. Because He was the co-designer of the human mind, He instinctively knew how to reach His audience with a profound repertoire of teaching strategies. He knew inherently that He needed to capture the imagination, nurture the conscience, and sharpen the intellect of His disciples, His students. Jesus was a genius at taking out of His tool shed whichever tool of learning would get His point across, tools like these:

  • Capture the Imagination – Stories and Parables; Humor; Metaphor; Illustrations; Visual Aids; Wondering Out Loud.
  • Nurture the Conscience – Discipline and Accountability; Personal Example of the Teacher; Demonstration; Elbow Room for the Students; Moral Reasoning Out Loud.
  • Sharpen the Intellect – Good Questions; Variety of Discourse; Object Lessons; Guided Conversations; Test the Memory; Repetition; Thinking Out Loud.


As with any Master Teacher, Jesus was a rigorous thinker. He was a spiritual intellectual whose mind just didn’t quit. He was able to outthink the scholars and professional theologians of the day.  And He earnestly sought to renew the minds of His followers, of everyone who listened to Him. In Jewish homes, the parents were the first teachers, and they had the responsibility to develop in each child the tools of acquiring knowledge… reasoning, remembering, reading, discussing. Any further efforts to strengthen those tools were built on the foundation laid in the home. So when Jesus engaged in His teaching ministry, He wanted to sharpen what was already present in elementary form in His audience. He taught a wide variety of listeners, young and old, immature and mature, knowledgeable and relatively uneducated. He wasn’t offering the people information so much as intellectual renewal and moral transformation. He kept attempting to help His audience reach understanding at a deeper level, to draw their own conclusions, to gain insight into the ways of God and His Kingdom. Jesus aimed to redeem their ability to reason effectively as He stimulated their thinking. There were a number of ways Jesus sought to sharpen the intellect of His followers as well as those on the fringes who were curious but skeptical. Jesus was the type of thinker who inspired those around Him to be better thinkers.

Jesus was an educational genius when it came to teaching the Truth. He captured the imagination and appealed to logic. He inspired the will and piqued the conscience. He told stories, often with visual aids and demonstration. He offered case studies, object lessons, and extended field trips. He washed feet and cooked breakfast. He practiced ritual and reenactments. He did Q and A, socratic discussion and guided conversations. He sat ’em down and then got ’em moving. He used nature and all the senses. He explored Scripture, and He thought out loud as He did so. The world was His classroom, be it synagogue, lake or hilltop. He met His students where they were, because He wanted to take them higher and deeper. In terms of methodology, Jesus wrote the book, without writing anything.

It is fascinating that the teacher Jesus we find in the gospels nonetheless remained in the historic flow of Jewish tradition. He taught and preached and demonstrated and told His stories in ways that were accepted in rabbinic circles. Jesus taught like a Jew, He argued like a Jew, He reasoned like a Jew. As a form of teaching, His parables were nothing new, coming out of the rabbinic stream of more than a thousand parables at that time.

One classic method of rabbinic teaching was called the “Kal v’Chomer (pronounced as it looks, except the c is silent).” This was a commonly used strategy of reasoning and persuasion used throughout the Hebrew Bible and Jewish tradition. Breaking down that Hebrew phrase, “kal” means “Of course, obviously Yes.” And “v’chomer” means “all the more so.” The Hebrew understating of this teaching strategy can be described in many ways: light to heavy; lesser to greater; simple to complex; minor to major; lenient to strict. The kal v’chomer is a strictly logical process used everywhere in Jewish culture, from the courtrooms to the corner conversations to the synagogues. It is used by a speaker when he or she wants the listener to logically arrive at an inescapable conclusion. If A is obviously true, then it stands to reason that B is true as well. This process is often spoken of as the “How much more” argument. If A is commonly accepted, then how much more is it likely that B should be accepted as well?

Like all effective rabbis, Jesus used this traditional strategy of argument when He read the room and believed that His audience was up to a logical argument. He would say, ‘If something is good in a minor matter, then how much more will this major matter be true?’ Jesus made successful use of Kal v’Chomer in His public ministry. ‘If this is obviously true, then that must be true as well.’ This is a commonsense type of reasoning that Jesus used many times in His speaking. There are at least eight different times He used this ‘lesser to greater’ approach to persuasion. In fact, because St. Paul loved to use this type of argument, and was probably taught it by the Master Rabbi Gamaliel, the New Testament has well over twenty different passages that include Kal v’Chomer reasoning.

In this blog category called “How Much More,” we will take a good look at each of these eight times Jesus used the Kal v’Chomer in His teaching. Here’s a little sneak preview of one of those times… “You fathers – if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” (Luke 11:11-13, also in Matthew 7:11). The other times Jesus sought to convince His listeners of a particular point with the Kal v’ Chomer strategy are:

Matthew 10:25 = On Beelzebub as the head of a household;

Matthew 12:12 = On the Sabbath and the value of person;

Luke 11:5-8 = On a grouchy neighbor vs. a loving Father;

Luke 12:24 = On the value of birds vs. people;

Luke 12:28 = On the value of grass vs. people;

Luke 18:4-8 = On a persistent widow vs. the unjust judge.

There is a good chance I will slip into this study a Kal v’Chomer of St. Paul from Romans 5, because many scholars believe it to be a great ‘lesser to heavy’ argument in Scripture, rivaling any of Jesus’ use of the Kal v’Chomer.