Edward Hancock II
The Imperfect Blog
|Posted by EHancock2 on September 21, 2012 at 12:20 AM|
Early one morning, I woke to a single thought. The thought that Jesus was far deeper than most people have really realized. The thought that people who often claim to walk the closest with him may very well be walking further from the true Savior than they realize.
Ask any Christian and they'll tell you Jesus is their personal savior. They'll tell you they are saved. They'll tell you they have a personal relationship with Jesus. And that is wonderful. I'm sure many people actually believe that. And, honestly, maybe you do have a meaningful relationship with Christ. But, what if I told you it could be deeper? Or at the very least, your understanding of Him could be deeper? It's true.
For many Christians, like my late grandmother (God Rest Her Soul), this series will likely be a waste of time. Most of you have this understanding I am laboring to impart. By all means, chime in and clarify points on which I am lacking. I am attempting to impart a message to a very specific group. Those who think they have Christ, but in reality they have fallen short of a true committed relationship therewith.
If I ask you, "Who is/was Jesus Christ?" what answer would you give? You'd tell me he was a carpenter. You'd say the son of God. You'd say the child born of a virgin. You'd say your personal savior. Right? What else would you say? God incarnate? The living Word? All true.
What if I told you that there are three very important identities of Jesus that often go unnoticed, or at the very least, UNDERnoticed. Those identities are: 1) Teacher, 2) Healer, and 3) Judge.
Think about those for a minute. For some, they may seem like common sense. For others, like me, reading them (or in my case, hearing them in my spirit) is a deep, meaningful revelation. Still others are confused, unsure of either what I mean or if the importance of those three identities. But, I assure you, this series will explore each one to the best of my ability. Hopefully, when I am done, you will have a better understanding of why these three names are important if we are going to have a truly deep relationship with the Christ.
Let's first look at Jesus, our Teacher.
If we look at the list of names on the links above, (which, by the way, is incomplete), we see "Jehovah Sel’i – The Lord My Rock", "Adonai Jehovah – The Lord God", "Jehovah-Shammah - Present", "Jehovah-Tsidkenu - Righteousness", "Jehovah-Yasha - Lord my Savior" and "Jehovah-'Ori - Lord my Light", among others.
Let's focus on that last one. Lord of Light.
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
When we look at John chapter 8 in its entirety, we get a better understanding of why this reinforces Jesus as a Teacher. It is just a few verses before this that Jesus confronts a group of men who were about to stone the woman caught in adultery. (And by the way, where was the MAN she was with? The Bible says they should have both been put to death. I believe the man was likely among the crowd of men preparing to stone this woman to death, but that's just my feeling.) If you know the story, you'll know right away that Jesus taught them a very important lesson. (He was also their judge, but I'll save that for later.)
A few verses down, the Pharisees challenge him thus:
Then they asked him, “Where is your father?”“You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.
Of course, if we really want to see Jesus teaching, we need to see something positively miraculous. When we think of teachers, most of us think of the old lady with the bun in the hair and the glasses resting on the end of the nose. That, or we think of the many sex scandals of recent years between students and teachers. The latter is ungodly. The former is right out of my childhood. Neither, it turns out, is the face of Jesus.
If we read Luke Chapter 2, we see Jesus from infancy to boyhood. While the infancy is tantamount to who Jesus is at his core, (the son of God) It is the boyhood we need to focus on for the purpose of seeing Jesus in the role of the teacher.
Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.
Now, reading that you would think he's not being a teacher, right? More the role of the student. And you would not be wrong. But he wasn't learning so much as observing. Jesus was the son of God. He did not need knowledge that can only come from The Father. And, if He did, this knowledge was not going to be given to him by MAN. Jesus himself said "Flesh and Blood did not reveal this to you..."
If we skip down to verses 49 and 50 we read: "Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”But they did not understand what he was saying to them."
Not until halfway through the Feast in John 7 did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach
The Jews were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.
But what is a teacher? Well, the Jewish word for teacher is "Rabbi." Jesus is called "Rabbi" ("Teacher" in most Christian Bibles) countless times. Today, we think of "Rabbi" simply as Priest or Minister equivalent. That is incorrect, or at the very least incomplete.
John 20:16, Mary Magdalene calls him Rabboni or "Great Teacher". This term, "Great Teacher", is only used twice in the entire Bible. Here, by the Magdalene and by Blind Bartemeus in Mark 10:51. Judas Iscariot uses the term "Rabbi" twice in Matthew's account of the Last Supper. While other disciples call him Lord and Master and other names, only Judas calls him Rabbi/Teacher.
In John 1:49, Nathanael brings everything together: Nathanael answered him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art King of Israel.
Yes, Nathanael. Yes, He is.
Also, it's interesting to note that Jesus set himself apart as Rabbi/Rabboni in Matthew 23:
But all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders [of their garments],6 and love the chief place at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
7 and the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called of men, Rabbi.
8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren.
9 And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, [even] he who is in heaven.
10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, [even] the Christ.
And, even those who were not with Jesus were forced (through miraculous evidence) to admit Jesus was a grand teacher, Blessed by God in Heaven.
He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." John 3:2
Jesus validated this when he said, So Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that a]">[a]I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me" (John 8:28.)
So, what did Jesus teach? Well, if you're asking this question, I would direct you immediately to the Bible. Jesus taught most often in the form of the Parable. One of my favorites is the Parable of the Leaven:
And again he said, Whereunto shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.
— Luke 13:20-21
Short, sweet, to the point. And, yes, cryptic. You're not supposed to "get it" as a sinner. As an outsider. You'll understand it when you understand the mind of God. That is to say, you probably never will understand the true depth. However, believers of the time were well aware of Leavened bread. They would have been able to make the correlation between the parable and the mysterious nature of Heaven.
This parable is tied closely to the Parable of the Mustard Seed which comes before. The lesson being that it only takes a tiny catalyst to do great things. These teachings are largely lost on the "technology" generation, who would do better to have the Parable of the Iphone or the Parable of the Facebook post.
Arguably my favorite parable is the parable of the Good Samaritan. Today, we hear "Good Samaritan" and we simply think of a person who does good deeds. We don't tie them to a nationality or ethnicity or religion. We do not assign gender or economic demographics to the term. We simply picture a "do gooder."
This is not what Jesus meant. It is not what he intended. In his time, the parable had a much deeper meaning. Portraying a Samaritan in positive light would have come as a shock to Jesus' audience, as these people were not ones usually painted in a positive light or thought of as "good people" in any way. I don't know if it would be accurate to call them a true "enemy" to Israel. I'd have to research it further to justify such a claim. But, I do believe it is not out of the question to call them less than a friend. I found several different websites in my research that described the relations between Jews and Samaritans as a case of being "mutually despised." Draw from that what you will.
So, what did Jesus teach about his own identity? Let us look in John 14:1-7;11:
1Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me.2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.4And where I go you know, and the way you know.5Thomas said to him, Lord, we know not where you go; and how can we know the way?6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.7If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from now on you know him, and have seen him.Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake
And, just in case you think Jesus taught just to teach, he did see fit to test his disciples.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?14And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.15He said to them, But whom say you that I am?16And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.17And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.18And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.19And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
And it is a short jump down when Jesus, the Teacher, is forced to discipline his student Peter. I have to say this particular passage makes me laugh. I often liken myself to Peter's personality, in that we're both rather passionate. Some would say Hot Headed. (They would be right). If I were to be one of the original 12, I would likely be Peter. And I would have the distinction of being the only disciple Jesus the man and God Himself in Heaven told to Shut Up!
From that time forth began Jesus to show to his disciples, how that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.22Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from you, Lord: this shall not be to you.23But he turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense to me: for you mind not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. 33 As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” (He did not know what he was saying.) 34 While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” 36 When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen.
So, there were many teachers in the Bible. Moses, Elijah, Elisha and even John The Baptist were all teachers. But none of them were ever called by the name "Rabboni". And none of them claimed to be "The Christ". John The Baptist went as far as to deny it when asked if that is who he was.
Jesus is, was, and ever will be THE TEACHER to his Body. Just as the Brain teaches the arm to bend and the hand to grasp and the mouth to speak and the ear to hear, So too does Jesus desire to teach us how to reach others, bend knee to pray to The Father, speak His word to the four corners of the world, and proclaim His majesty to all who will hear. He also desires that we listen. That we heed his greatest instructions. "Love one another, as I have loved you."
None of us is perfect, but the voice of the Teacher calls to us. Are you listening?
In part two, I'll discuss Jesus the Healer. In the meantime, this blog is brought to you by the letters W, E and H and by the number 2.