Jesus and the Gospels

Jim West, in a post I cannot find, says that the two presuppositions for understanding the gospels aright are:

  1. Jesus was God in the Flesh
  2. Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi.

I’ve been reflecting upon these. Whatever you think of Jim West (I think he’s from outer space, some think he is as timeless as the moon and stars, and others think he’s fairly eccentric), I think he’s got this right. More in the future.

4 thoughts on “Jesus and the Gospels

  1. It’s been on my mind recently that Jesus was a Rabbi. I understand that God recognized Him to be a Rabbi, but did the Pharisees at any point? Where is evidence of this? A lot of people will say that when Jesus is called “Rabbi,” it means “teacher,” which I assume to mean that the term isn’t necessarily formal. Thanks!

    • It doesn’t matter if the Pharisees recognized it or not. But it appears that some of them may, they warn him about Herod in Luke 13:31, perhaps because they recognize him as more than just a public agitator.

  2. Rabbinical ordination didn’t occur until 200 A.D. So, it’s difficult to pinpoint what is meant by “Rabbi.” So far, it seems like someone who was well-versed in the Law, and could teach it. It sounds like (?) there was a school that some boys (I don’t know who) went to, in order to learn the Law. John the Baptist was also called “Rabbi.”

    I’m only trying to understand why Jesus being a Rabbi is so significant. There was no official post, and I’m struggling to find a job description, so as it stands, “Rabbi” is just a cool-sounding word to me.

  3. You literally said why it matters.

    Jesus was recognized by many as somebody well versed in the Law and who could teach it. Jesus took studying very seriously and never repudiated the title when used of him in the texts we have. The point is that Jesus’ work was, and this should be obvious but many Christians do not see it, largely centered upon the content of his teaching.

    Many Christians relegate the content of the gospels to the category of law that was fulfilled and therefore not important rather than centrally important to the Christian life when properly understood because Jesus intentionally functioned as a public teacher who meant for his teachings to be put into practice.

    It is a cool word, but its also a word that signifies something about Jesus and how the gospel writers tell his story. And they tell his story by establishing him as a teacher and even the most important teacher of all time.

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