Jesus the Rabbi

July 31, 2018

by Barry Fike

    To begin with, we have to review a little to set the stage for the material. First, we have to understand that Jesus was a Jew! He was born a Jew, he taught to Jews, he lived like a Jew, studied like a Jew, died a Jew, and rose a Jew. At the age of 30 he had already memorized both the entire Old Testament and all of the commentary on it that was extant in his day. He was a rabbi, a teacher, literally a master, sage, pious individual of the word of God and was called such by a variety of individuals within historical Judaism of his day and time. He observed the feasts of the Jews and was a fulfillment of Gods law to his people.
     Now, if all of this is true, how did he teach? What were the rabbinic methods of teaching in the first century? What kind of materials did Jews have in the first century? It’s not enough to ask what were the Rabbinic methods of teaching, but what was it that they were teaching? The focus of all of their attention was upon the LAW! Why? Because the law represented the totality of all that God is! It was only through knowledge of God that man was able to be God-like. You see only those who were spiritually oriented had always understood that God had always intended to live and dwell within man. There would be this spiritual union, but there can be no spiritual union when there is discord. Harmony can only occur when one is doing the will of the Father, and the will of the Father was expressed in law which was expressive of the totality of all that God is. So what they were teaching, and the focus of all of their teaching, was upon law. But what was the law? That’s the question isn’t it? For the Rabbis in Jesus’ day the question was what was the law?
     Law is the totality of all that God is! For the Rabbis law was not the Ten Commandments. That was the moral aspect of the law. Was law the rituals and ceremonies? No, that was the ceremonial part of the law. Then the law had to do with courts and the judicial system. No, that was the legal aspect of law. Then it was the Torah! No, that was just the Torah—one aspect of the law. For the Rabbis law consisted both in the written law and in the oral law.   More will follow in the weeks to come concerning how Jesus, and any Rabbi from the first century, viewed written and oral law.