Wednesday, November 04, 2009

learning in the way of Jesus

"Following the Rabbi" is a very wise chapter in what I'm coming to realize more and more is truly a wise book, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. Wisdom from the Bible is rooted in the Jewish writings of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, in Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, and found in other places. And Jesus learned and lived by the wisdom from God given through the Scriptures, and passed on in the tradition of his people. Of course not without critiquing that tradition, while living as part of it.

We know the adage, "Wisdom is more caught than taught." But do we really believe it? It doesn't matter at all what we tell our children if our lives don't line up with our words. They will end up following what we do, and not what we say. Or they will try to chart a new course if they see our lives as making no sense of our profession of faith, and indeed casting doubt on our faith.

This chapter skillfully and from different angles, with one fascinating present day example, looks at the way of being a disciple, learner, or follower as Jesus practiced it. It is a relationship no less, and that of apprenticeship. The disciple submits to the rabbi, or master, as a servant so that the rabbi, imperfect as he (or she, I would add, because of the dynamic in Christ of neither male nor female in the work and service of God) will be, since there is only one true Rabbi and Master, Jesus himself. Nevertheless what we must understand is that it is inevitable for us to live as we see others live, and others will be impacted by our lives, for good or ill. In fact in God's order in Jesus, this is part of how life is to be lived. As Paul told his readers, they were to follow his way of life, as he followed Christ. And this is not a quick fix or instanteous change, but rather a walk of a lifetime. Transformation comes slowly. As the authors point out, Jesus didn't just transform his disciples. It involved close relationship with him and a process.

Any thoughts?

Next week: chapter five, "Get Yourself Some Haverim."


Allan R. Bevere said...


A good post... Thanks!

My daughter Courtney has a class assignment. She interviewed me asking who was one person who made such an impact on my life. I told her that it was my grandfather, and when she asked me why, I realized that much of what I learned from him, I simply observed watching him and working with him.

It is true... wisdom is more caught than taught.

Ted M. Gossard said...


Thanks, and thanks for sharing that personal story.

I can say the same thing about my grandfather. And others as well. In fact what I pick up in anyone in Jesus now that I seem to get a glimpse of as something of Jesus, I tend to feel flashes of in myself, so that evidently I may be picking up something of that, surely part of the work of the Spirit of God to make me/us like Jesus.

Anonymous said...

time and close relationship...sounds right to me.

Ted M. Gossard said...

nAncY, Yes. This was striking to me in reading this chapter. Spoke truth in Jesus to me.