Why did God become a Jewish Rabbi?

Just a little update on my life, and a question for you. A few months ago I told you that I’m working on a book on understanding Jesus in his Jewishness. One of the first chapters has the title “Why did God become a Jewish Rabbi?” Provocative, isn’t it?

I’ve written a lot in the past few years about what it meant that Jesus was a rabbi that fit into the Jewish culture of his day. That idea has really transformed my thinking – that I need to read his words in context, and that he was thoroughly human and part of a culture that we can learn more about.

But I’d like to ask you, the readers of this blog, for your input on this question too. I think most of my readers are old friends and readers of www.egrc.net, and maybe some new folks who’ve bumped into this site through a link. We’re a crowd of folks who are fascinated about digging into the God’s Word, and some have a little knowledge, some have much more.

But now, I’d like to ask you to please tell me, how has it impacted your faith to learn about Jesus as a Jewish rabbi?  What does it mean for us today? What does it say about God? What questions does it bring up in your mind that you never had before?

Published in: on November 12, 2007 at 10:29 am  Comments (4)  


  1. Shalom,

    Knowing Jesus as a Jewish rabbi has impacted my life tremendously. It’s like having a new bible translation called “Immediate Context”. It actually had me digging for these truths which were covered by years of bias but I continued finding pearls hidden in these denominational clams. I’ve never questioned my pastors and I especially never questioned by Bible Translations!! That was something heretics did.
    Two of out of many examples from the book of James. (1)The greek word “sunagoge”[strong’s#4864] is usually translated synagogue,i.e., a Jewish place of worship[55 times] by the NASB. However, when the word obviously describes a place of believers, the NASB[like many other translations] chose a different english word like assembly[NASB,KJV,NASV], meeting[HOLMAN], CHURCH[The Message], Worship service[God’s Word Version] and on and on it goes.
    The second is also from the book of James. The name for this book should be Jacob. I was shocked to learn that my favorite apologist, Hank Hanergraaf from the Christian Research Institute, admitted,

    “As the centuries progressed, judenrein, a “cleansing” from Jewish influences, became the standard. The New Testament Letter of Jacob, for example, became the Letter of James, even though the Greek Jacobus cannot truly be translated as “James.”

    Of course this led me down the yellow brick road to books that dealt with Biblical Hermeneutics. I couldn’t believe how I ignored context, semantics, and the authors’ audience.

    To make a long story short I was ashamed of How I treated Israel and ADONAI’s Holy Scriptures. Like Adam and Hava, my eyes were opened.

    As I try to show others, I’m often mocked and called a Jew. But keep in mind I was like them once. Only Christian by name, not truly knowing the Scriptures but a scholar in the traditions of my elders.

    I’m now a minority all over again. I’m in the same situation when I told my old friends that I’ve found the Christ! Now I tell my Church I’ve found Messiah!

    Avishalom (my Father is peace)

  2. Why not come as “the Prophet” or “The Priest” or even “The King”? These I think were the other options – but none of them would allow him to “walk with the people” to talk with them and teach them to be among them. It allowed God to be closer to those He loved and cared for than any of the other roles He could have chosen. It says to me that God wants to be close to His Treasure.

    What does it mean for us today? Yeshua was a teacher, Rabbi. The question I always had was what does a Rabbi teach? In God’s kingdom He teaches Torah – the meaning and how to live it.

    Jesus as a Jewish Rabbi has profoundly impacted my faith. He came as a Jewish Rabbi to teach and walk with me – to teach me about the Father, the Torah and how to live my life.

    When I read the gospels knowing Jesus as Rabbi gives me a foundation to understanding what He says and how He lived. So often before understanding this I felt like I was reading the “cliff notes” of a great novel, a 700 page novel reduced to 50 pages. I was always hungry for more. I felt like I was starving in some sense – getting food but not substance. Knowing Jesus Jewish background, culture and the people who He walked with gives me a depth of understanding that I could not have possibly had before. It is the gift of God for our time – Israel was reborn – Yeshua is being rediscovered as a Man among a people, culture and place. It gives me a foundation to begin eating with substance.

    The questions I have could fill a whole book? But the big one is – if this is how God sent His Son – to bring redemption and revelation – How am I to live? What does this revelation tell me about God and His character? Of all the ways God could have come – He chose to come as a Jew, living in Israel, among His people, Walking in their midst, teaching, healing, comforting – with a human touch – Why?

  3. I have just returned from my first trip to Israel and it has opened up a completely new world for me in my Christian life. It showed me what Edith Schaeffer said, “Christianity is Jewish”. I have had to reexamine my roots – I am chinese (Asian), my Christian upbringing is Western (because I read most books that came out of the West) and my lifestyle is a mixture of both.
    But knowing Jesus as a Jewish rabbi through the exposure in Israel has caused me to really reexamine my roots and even uproot the foundations of my faith so that I discover my Christian roots is actually Jewish. I need to know that if God chose to set up the Jewish setting (through the chosen people and giving them the Torah) and then deliberately come into that culture, then there must be something really speacial and important to discover there. I have a strange feeling that my Jewish spiritual roots through this Jewish Rabbi Yoshua is far more fundamental and significant than I have ever realised because after all He has asked us to “Follow Him”. How can we follow Him if we know so little about his Jewish setting?

  4. Lois, I a pastor of a Messianic Jewish congregation in Tacoma, Washington. I have just finished re-reading your book dealing with multiple Hebrew words. I wanted to share with you some research I have been doing on the deity of Yeshua from the Hebrew Scripture that I think you will resonate with. Could you contact me using the email address as I would love the opportunity to show you what I have learned. shalom, brent emery

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