Thursday, December 21, 2006

Covered in the dust of the Rabbi

In my last post I mentioned a couple of blessings that came away with me, one of which was the blessing of being covered in the dust of the Rabbi. This one came from a DVD clip a brother shared from Nooma a group that is specializing in giving messages through short movie presentations. Anyway the revelation that came to me understanding the Jewish culture of that time is the weight of the words of Jesus "Come Follow Me".

Let me delve in more and explain. In the Jewish culture of Jesus's time the highest and the most honored position in their society was that of a Rabbi. A Jewish boy when he is five years old enters into their educational system where he learns to recite/commit to memory the law (the first five books of the Torah) it lasted 5 years of training called the Beit Sefer. This means by the age of ten the student learnt by heart the books from Genesis to Deuteronomy. From here the best of the best went into Beit Talmud where they learn interpretation of the law, study the prophets, and essentially commit to memory the rest of the books from Judges to Malachi. Now if they are among the elite of the elite or the best of the best of the best they will try and find a Rabbi who will accept them as a student to study under him. Now remember this was a very special position of honor in the Jewish society and culture of the time. The Rabbi would essentially interview the prospective student ask him questions of the law, his relationship with God and if he felt that the student has the cut in him to bear his yoke and become like him he will tell him to come and follow him or else send him away to follow the family trade the student was pursuing. The accepted pupil enters the Beit Midrash where he leaves his synagogue, village and family to study under this Rabbi. The pursuit was not to just be a master of the law and an good member of the priesthood but to be like his master.

In the gospel of Mathew 14:27-31 the following conversation takes place between Jesus and Peter when the disciples see Him walking on water :

27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." 28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." 29"Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

Peter is asking Jesus to command him to 'Come'. Peter wants to become like his Rabbi. Now this is the point of revelation, this is the same radical Rabbi who went through the Jewish educational system, walks down the banks of Galilee and commands the fishermen, 'Come Follow Me'. The fishermen drop everything immediately and follow this Rabbi. Ever wondered why they dropped everything to follow this Rabbi. The cultural perspective discussed above gives you a glimpse into that answer. Ever wondered why this Rabbi called the fishermen who did not make it to the best of the best of the best cut? The answer is this Rabbi believed that they could become like Him. It is this perspective that blows me away that our Lord Jesus believes in us and when He says 'Come Follow Me' He believes that we can follow Him, not only do that but become like Him. He promises us His Holy Spirit, He believes that we can do it.

So the blessing 'May you believe in Him who believes in you. May we be transformed from glory to glory as the scripture says and May you be covered in the dust of your Rabbi'


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