Advent Pt.4 Jesus, Our Rabbi


The game of Chess has gained recent popularity with the male population of the Fowler household.  I admit I’m slower these days to want to learn a new thing that requires thinking strategically, and so far have avoided the competition around the dining room table.   

Until my 10 year old son Justus approached me offering to “teach” me how to play.  I was amused by his invitation feeling certain he saw me as a sure means to boost his winning quota.  

Needless to say, I accepted.

Long story short, there was no winning or losing; no competition.  He really did mean to teach me!   He explained with patience and grace each piece and its abilities, setting aside his own drive to win (he is one of the most competitive Fowlers) that I might learn and enjoy doing so in the process.

In essence, he taught me by showing: leading me through play by play, giving me opportunity to make a move, then retract, explaining its consequences and pointing out a better option, giving me instruction with each consideration.  He didn’t mean to win.  Winning to him was to see me begin to appropriate the coaching he imparted to me!

Side by side, well, face to face, one play after another, right or wrong, he was teaching me, and I was enjoying the process.

Justus’ approach was not just teaching me the game of Chess.  He was unknowingly endearing himself to me in new ways as he gave of his time, patience, and encouragement to enrich me.  I was learning a thing or two about myself as well.  I learn well through patient, encouraging demonstration.  Shame wasn’t a part of any misstep.  Rather, a further push to try again.  And when I was feeling dumbfounded, he played the move for me.

This brings us to the subject at hand; Jesus our Rabbi.

In John 1:38 John the Baptist draws two of his disciples’ attention to the passing Jesus, declaring Him to be the Lamb of God.  The men first acknowledge Jesus as “Rabbi” or “Teacher”, one who was recognized in that day for their knowledge of the Law; one worthy of following.  They were conditioned culturally to follow after a Rabbi to inquire of, learn from, and emulate.  

As the narrative unfolds Jesus gives the invitation, “Come and See”.  He says things like, “Follow Me”, literally, “walk this way”.  Jesus gives Simon a name change, a nature exchange.  He tells one man where he was just moments before.  The progression of their acknowledgement goes from mere teacher to Nathaniel’s declaration, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”.

In their acceptance of Teacher Jesus’ invitation to “Come and See”, in their forward motion to “Follow Me”, the disciples found Him to be far more than the popular thought of our day as GOOD teacher.  They found out He is GOD!

“Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”.

Here’s where it all comes together for me.  Yes, Jesus teaches us well. Step by step, full of grace and patience, without shame or condemnation, giving of Himself for our benefit.  THE VERY BEST TEACHER!  But at the end of the day, there is still so much to learn and I’m not the best “disciple”. Scripture says things like, “His ways are passed finding out”,”higher”, and”unsearchable”. I fall so short of His glory!  We all do.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  -Romans 3:23

This is actually all part of “good” becoming “God” in our realities!

When I come up short of His glory I lift up my voice along with Moses and cry out, “SHOW ME YOUR GLORY”!  And He has.  He does.  He is!

Remember this?

“…but God DEMONSTRATES [or shows] His love for us in that while we were still sinning, Christ died for us.”  -Romans 5:8


And this?

“…that He might SHOW the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Jesus Christ”.  -Ephesians 2:7

There is NO LIMIT or “at capacity” to His  rich grace in kindness to be SHOWN TO US in JESUS!

It’s as if He poses as Teacher to appeal to the disciples’ need to be led, in order to endear them to Himself and reveal His GRACIOUS, SAVING, FULFILLING-THE-LAW, SIN-SATISFYING NATURE! 

He did it for them.  HE’S DOING THE SAME FOR US!

Whatever truths we are grappling with presently, whatever “hard sayings” have been  for the time misunderstood; let’s lift our gaze little higher for a GLORY MOMENT and remind ourselves of Jesus’ invitation to us…

“Come to Me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and LEARN OF ME, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  -Matthew 10:28-30