Rabbi Schneider - Why Is Jesus Called Rabbi?
We are continuing our journey today through the Gospel of John. I'm picking up today in chapter 1. We're beginning a new season of this. This is season 3 from a series that I'm calling Mysteries in the Gospel of John. Before I get into chapter 2 and talk more about God's glory being revealed through Jesus, I want to just point out a few things in chapter 1 which help us to understand the Jewish context from which the Scriptures come from and the Jewish context of our Messiah Jesus. One of the things that God is doing through Discovering the Jewish Jesus, beloved ones, is He's helping the church worldwide, I'm speaking now of Gentile believers, understand the Hebraic or Jewish roots of their Christian faith.
Did you realize that up until recently the church has actually divided itself from her Jewish or Hebraic roots? What they've been doing is exactly what Paul warned about in the Book of Romans when Paul warned Gentiles in the Book of Romans not to be arrogant towards that which supports them; speaking about the Jewish Scriptures, and the Jewish Messiah, and the Israelites. Paul warned the Gentile church to be careful not to become arrogant against that which supports their faith. But unfortunately, what happened was for almost 2,000 years the Gentile church has been arrogant towards Jewish people calling them the Christ killers, looking them as, looking at them as infidels, rejecting anything Jewish. In fact, I remember not long ago I went on a tour to Israel and I was with a bunch of pastors, and there was a particular pastor there, and he said to me, yeah, he said, Paul met Jesus and came away with pork on his breath, which was just such a useless thing to say.
And there was nothing that that comment could have accomplished other than, you know, to cause repulsion in me. And so it just kind of reflects the anti-Jewish mindset that's been in much of the church for almost 2,000 years. But praise God, the Lord is changing all that, and so many people today like yourselves reject that kind of anti-Jewish mindset, and have come to truly appreciate that our Messiah comes out of Israel; that He died with a sign on His head, above His head, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. And so what's, what we're gonna do right now, I'm gonna go into the Gospel of John as we conclude chapter 1, and I'm just gonna show you some of the Hebraic references that we have here that will help to give color to our understanding that Jesus truly came as a Jew, lived as a Jew, died as a Jew. And that it is the Scriptures that God gave to Israel that support our faith in Yeshua the Messiah.
In fact, you're going to a capitol city in heaven called the New Jerusalem whose gates are inscribed there, beloved ones, beloved children of God, with the twelve tribes of Israel. Let's go to chapter 1, John, chapter 1. Hear the Word of God; just again, a few Hebraic roots. I'm looking now in the 38th verse and I want you to see in the 38th verse as Jesus begins to call His disciples, Jesus says to them: What do you seek? They said to Him, once again, John, 1:38, Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying? Now notice this term here, Rabbi. I want you to hear that Jesus in the Gospel of John wasn't the only one that was called Rabbi. You know who else was called Rabbi in John's Gospel? John the Baptist, himself. And so I going now, I'm skipping ahead to the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 26. Notice here that John the Baptist was referred to by his disciples as Rabbi. And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan to whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him.
So once again, John the Baptist's followers called him Rabbi. Sometimes I get attacked for being referred to as Rabbi. When Jesus condemned people, beloved ones, in the Scripture calling themselves Rabbi, what He was condemning was people that were setting themselves up in pride and as their own authority. You see, during the time that Jesus lived, the Rabbis themselves became the authority. But here we see in John's Gospel, once again John, 3:26, that John the Baptist was called Rabbi. Jesus never condemned John the Baptist for being called Rabbi. In fact, Jesus said of John the Baptist, there was no one born greater of women than John the Baptist. So here was John the Baptist, Jesus said there was no one that's ever been born of greater stature in the kingdom of heaven than John the Baptist. And here John the Baptist's followers called him Rabbi.
What's the difference? Why in one situation did Jesus condemn the use of the word Rabbi and those that called themselves Rabbi or, or asked others to call them Rabbi, or even condemned the practice of calling men Rabbi? So in one hand we see condemnation but yet on the other hand we see this one, John the Baptist, of whom there was born from women no one greater, and his followers called him Rabbi. Here is the difference. John's mission as a Rabbi was to point people to Jesus. And beloved, that is the type of Rabbi that I am today. And so for those of you that may have wondered about this, you've seen Jesus's words in Matthew condemning the practice of being called Rabbi, and yet here once again on the opposite spectrum we have John the Baptist in John, 3:26, being called Rabbi. The difference is in the Book of Matthew they were setting themselves up in pride as Rabbi.
In John the Baptist's case, he was respected. And because he was respected he had influence when he pointed people to Jesus and said, follow Him, in John, 3:26. So I just want to be real clear, beloved, that the use of the term Rabbi for me, I'm a Rabbi like John the Baptist. My mission is to point people to Jesus. And as John the Baptist, Rabbi John the Baptist said, He must increase and I must decrease. I just wanted to show you here again some of the Jewish roots of your faith as we read here in John's Gospel how they called Jesus Rabbi. You see, one of the challenges that I faced over the years shepherding a congregation that calls me Rabbi, is the Christian church in general can't relate to that term. But notice, beloved, it's in the New Testament. In other words the Christian church is only comfortable calling their, their leader in their congregation Pastor. They're comfortable with that. But to hear of a Rabbi, they're uncomfortable. But if you look in the Scriptures, Jesus was Rabbi. John the Baptist was Rabbi.
Let's continue on, verse 40: One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, We have found, get this term now, beloved ones, the Messiah, (which translated means Christ). Notice the Biblical usage here, beloved ones, of the term Messiah. Now of course those of you that watch Discovering the Jewish Jesus, you've already embraced this terminology, Messiah. But for me as a Jewish believer and as kind of a forerunner in the church in terms of making known to the church the Jewish roots of our Christian faith, a lot of Christians are unfamiliar with calling Jesus the Messiah. You know, they call him the Christ, but they're not as comfortable calling him the Messiah. And in fact, I've noticed even in my own congregation that it's difficult at times to, you know, attract large numbers because some of the terminology that we use, whether it's Rabbi, or Messiah, which we see both those terms used here in John, chapter 1, is so unfamiliar to the average Gentile believer. So I'm trying to help Gentile believers in this broadcast to understand these are Biblical terms.
Now let's think about this word, Messiah. Look with me again if you would please in verse number 41. They announce: We have found the Messiah (which translated means Christ). And so again, Gentile church in general, Jesus Christ; Jewish believers, instead of saying Jesus Christ, will often say Jesus the Messiah, or they'll say Yeshua HaMashiach. I want to talk about this terminology. Now the word Christ we see here in this verse, verse 41, is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew Mashiach or Messiah. The word Christ means in English, Anointed One. The term Mashiach, the Hebrew Mashiach, which is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek Christ, also means Anointed One. Messiah is a form of Mashiach. It means the Anointed One. So whether we say Jesus the Messiah or Jesus Christ, we're saying the same thing. We're saying that Jesus, or Yeshua, is the Anointed One.
Now this is interesting. When we look at what we call the Old Testament, the Jewish people call the Tanakh, that was given to the Jewish people in Hebrew. Why was the Old Testament given to the Jewish people in Hebrew? The reason is, beloved, is at the time that the Old Testament was written, the only people that were given the revelation of it, the only people God was speaking to were the Israelites, or the Jewish people, and their language was Hebrew. And because at the time God was only communicating with the Israelites, or the Hebrews, he gave them the Tanakh or the Old Testament in their own language. But remember that God had very, from the very beginning made a promise to Abraham, who is the father of the Jewish people, and He said to Abraham, He said, Abraham, Abraham, in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
And so from the very beginning, even though in the beginning Father God was only communicating with the Hebrews or the Israelites, His longtime purpose and plan was to communicate to the entire world through them. God said to Abraham, through your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. The seed we know that God was referring to is Jesus. Paul actually writes about this in the Book of Galatians, that when the Lord said to Abraham, in your seed, the Lord didn't say seeds, He said seed, and He was referring to Jesus; that through Jesus, through Yeshua the Messiah, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. So when Jesus came, we find the New Testament no longer being written in Hebrew, but rather being written in Greek. And the reason is it was time for God's revelation to come to the entire world, and the most common language to the world at the time was Greek. And because God wanted to reach as many people as possible, the New Testament was originally recorded then in Greek. So once again we're pointing out Hebrew roots. We've noticed the term Rabbi being used here in John. We see the word Messiah being used in the Gospel of John.
Let's continue on in verse number 45: Philip found Nathanael and said to him... Listen to this. Once again notice how Jewish this is. We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote. Notice once again how Jewish this is. Your faith is supported, beloved, by the Jewish Scriptures and by the Jewish Messiah. Jesus didn't appear out of a vacuum. He came out of Judaism. Verse 45: Philip found Nathanael and said to him, We have found Him whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote - Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. So how did Philip want to prove that Jesus was the Messiah? He wanted to do it, beloved ones, by saying this is the One whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote about.
So we're putting it back in context, and I want to thank you for your love, for what we're doing, and for supporting this ministry because it's important because as people begin to understand the Jewish roots of their faith, you know what the result is? The roots of their faith get solid. I think there's many out there in the Gentile church, they're sincere believers but they have a little bit of doubt. They, they wonder, they think, well maybe I'm brainwashed, you know. Maybe I believe only because my family were, were believers, and only because I was raised in the church. And they have this little nagging doubt in their mind, and they, and they say, what about, maybe if I was raised in, in another part of the world I wouldn't believe in Jesus. May, maybe if I was raised in another part of the world I'd be following Islam. Or, or maybe if I was raised in an Asian culture I would have a completely different type of faith. And they have this nagging doubt. And they're wondering, how do I know I'm not just brainwashed?
But here's the point I'm wanting to really drive home. When you know the Hebrew roots, the Jewish roots of your faith in Jesus, you will know beyond any shadow of any doubt that you are 100% right; that Jesus is the only way to God. Because I think one thing that is just known is that the God of Israel is the One True God. And when you see how the prophets and the writings in the, the law of Moses all pointed to Jesus and how Jesus fulfilled all these prophecies in the Old Testament, you'll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your faith in Jesus is the correct faith. So my point is, beloved ones, when you know the Jewish or the Hebrew roots of your faith, your faith will be strengthened and you'll be able to be a bolder witness and doubts will flee.
And I, Father, right now speak over your people. Father, I just speak faith, an increase of faith into their hearts and into their life. I declare, Father, that as I am declaring Your Word, revealing the Hebrew roots of, of their faith, the Jewish roots of their Christian faith in You, I declare, Father, that the roots of their faith are going deeper and deeper, that they're drinking more and more of Your Spirit, and Father God, that they're coming out stronger, and enjoying a greater fellowship with You, and becoming bolder witnesses as a result of this. Father, you said that You would send forth Your Word and it would accomplish all that You desire it to do. I want to thank you, Father God, for accomplishing this now for Your glory in Jesus's name. Amen and Amen.
Let's continue on here and I'm gonna go to verse number 49. Yeshua, Jesus is calling Nathanael. We know that Nathanael was sitting under the fig tree. And before Jesus saw him under the fig tree with His physical eyes, Jesus saw him in His Spirit. He had the gift of discernment. He had the gift of knowledge. He had the gift of prophecy. All these gifts of the Spirit were operating in Jesus. The good news is that the same gifts of the Holy Spirit that operated in Jesus are to operate in believers today. Our God is a supernatural God. And beloved, we're born of His supernatural Spirit. And He's given us the gifts of the Spirit. Let's see how this gift of discernment, and prophecy, and knowledge was operating in the life of Jesus as we begin here in verse number 49: Nathanael answered Him, saying Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel. Why? Because Jesus said this to him in the previous verse.
I'm gonna begin in verse 47: Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile. Now how did Jesus know that Nathanael was an Israelite, that there was no guile? Because he had, beloved, spiritual eyes to see beyond the surface. Nathanael said to Him, How to You know me? Jesus answered and said to him, Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. Nathanael answered Him, Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said to him, Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe me? You will see greater things than these. And He said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.
Final thoughts on today's episode, once again, Jesus had spiritual eyes to see. I want you to know, God has given his children, He's given you and I the gift of discernment. I want you to trust the Holy Spirit in you. The Bible says that you have received an anointing, an anointing from the Holy One and it is not a lie. You need to trust your spiritual senses. You need to trust your intuition. Jesus walked in a supernatural sense of intuition, and you know what? You and I are anointed with the same Holy Spirit that Jesus lived and walked in. Notice also here that Jesus said, you're gonna see greater things than these. He said, you believe because you saw this? Because I declared this to you? He said to him this in the 51st verse: Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. In the previous verse, You will see greater things than these.
The point, beloved, is Jesus was saying to Nathanael, Nathanael, there's more. There's more for you, Nathanael. And I want you to hear, beloved child of God, there's more for you and there's more for I today. Let's believe God for more. And let's believe Jesus to walk in the same supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that He walked in. You know, the Bible says as Jesus was in this world, so also now are we. That's what makes living for Jesus exciting. And I want you to hear this. It doesn't matter how old you are. It doesn't matter if you're in your 80's or even your 90's, there's more for you and your life can keep getting richer and keep getting better in Jesus. Your joy will keep increasing. Your peace will keep increasing, beloved, as you set your sights on Him and follow Him. Let's keep pressing in. Let's keep pressing on. I want you to know, I love you today, and most importantly today, Father God and King Jesus love you. Until next week, God bless you and Shalom.