Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Jesus as Rabbi

From chapter 2: "Why a Jewish Rabbi?" from Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg.

Jesus' calling and vocation was to be the one who was to come, the Messiah, through whom all of God's promises would be fulfilled. And we know that at the heart of this fulfillment is Jesus as Redeemer of God's people, and of the world.

But a crucial part of Jesus' calling and vocation was to be a Rabbi. As the authors point out, although the rabbinic era did not begin until after the fall of Jerusalem at 70 AD, still rabbis were important prior to this. Rabbi means "my master." Rabbis gathered disciples who lived and traveled with them as they taught. And rabbis first had to live out what they taught. What they taught was a way of life.

This is radically true in Jesus. He came as the one who would be what God had called Israel to be, as well as to fulfill all of God's promises to Israel, and through Israel to the world. Of course we in Jesus are called to continue in that mission because of what Jesus has uniquely done as Savior.

While Jesus was more than a Rabbi, his work as Rabbi is significant in the gospels in scope both in quantity and quality (content). Going through all four gospels one soon discovers that teaching is one central part of what Jesus did. And as already noted these Teachers, or Rabbis were not just imparting knowledge, but an entire way of life. Jesus' teaching was about living in the kingdom of God as God's new covenant people in him.

When you think of Jesus as Rabbi, what place do you believe this has for us today? It was important to Jesus' disciples and the people of that time, but how important was it for the early church? How important do you think it is for us today? And regardless of what you think on the last question, how is Jesus as Rabbi to impact us today? What are some of the ways we can begin to try to live this out today?

Next week we continue in the chapter, picking out another truth within this theme and question, "Why a Jewish Rabbi?" Plenty of time to get this book, and well worth both the reading and rereading of it, as well as studying and pondering its content.

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