The Year of Public Favor, Part 2: “Rabbi Jesus,” or the Teaching Ministry of Christ -- By: David J. MacLeod

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 12:1 (Summer 2003)
Article: The Year of Public Favor, Part 2: “Rabbi Jesus,” or the Teaching Ministry of Christ
Author: David J. MacLeod


The Year of Public Favor, Part 2:
“Rabbi Jesus,” or the Teaching Ministry of Christ1

David J. MacLeoda

The Bible is a written record of God’s revelation to man. The existence of such a written record gave rise to the need for competent and expert knowledge. The office of teacher, therefore, had a long and honorable history in Israel.2 The Hebrew word for the Law is תּוֹרָה (tôrāh), which in its wider sense means teaching, instruction, or direction.3 When Moses was given the Law to impart to the people of Israel, the Lord told him that he was to teach it to them (Deut. 4:14; cf. Ex. 24:12). At the same time Aaron was told that the priests were also to be involved in the teaching of the Law to the people (Lev. 10:11; Deut. 33:10). As the people came to understand and appreciate the Law, “lay” Israelites took up the study of the Law, and, by the second century b.c., a highly respected, independent order of “Torah scholars,” or soferim were in existence side by side with the priests (cf. Ecclesiasticus 38:22–39:11).

In Jesus’ day the process was complete, and these scribes (i.e., “Scripture experts,” γραμματεῖς, grammateis) were the “undisputed spiritual leaders of the people.” Among their number were “lawyers” (νομικοί, nomikoi, Matt. 22:35; Luke 7:30; 10:25) or “teachers of the law” (νομοδιδάσκαλοι, nomodidaskaloi, Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34), who not only were experts in the Law but taught it.4 The extraordinary respect which these sages enjoyed among the

people is seen in the reverential form of address given to them, i.e., “Rabbi” (רַבִּי).

That Jesus was a teacher is certainly the testimony of the New Testament.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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