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The Authority of a Rabbi (3 of 4)

Shane Willard

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The Authority of a Rabbi (3 of 4) Examine the basic concepts of rabbinical authority, our role in coming under the authority of Jesus; and how this authority affected the disciples and Jesus' life.
Introduction

One thing Paul said in his writings, he said: “its Jesus we preach”, and tonight I want to preach Jesus to you.

I focussed on the regeneration of the spirit last session; now I want to talk about your soul; and next session I'm going to talk about the healing of our bodies.

Main Message

Matthew 4:18 – “As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee He saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and his brother Andrew; and they were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen”.

It says: “...for they were fishermen”.

Jesus said: “Come, follow Me - and I will make you fishers of men”. At once - they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John, and they were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their needs.

Jesus called them, and immediately they left their boat, and their father, and followed Him.

Mark 2:13 – Once again, Jesus went out beside the lake, and a large crowd came to Him, and He began to teach them. As He walked along He saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus sitting at a tax collector's booth. “Follow Me”, Jesus told him; and Levi got up and followed Him.

You have this incredible phenomenon, which we can tend to read over; and because we know the end of the story, it's kind of easy to work out the beginning of the story.

But what if we didn't know the end of the story? We've just seen Jesus convince men - who have families, wives, children, land, homes, jobs, boats - He's convincing them, on the sales pitch of two words; to leave everything they know and do, and follow Him.

The first two, maybe they were just down on their luck, having a midlife crisis... but then He continues up to 12 for 12, convincing them to leave everything and follow Him.

It's one thing for a man to leave his wife; it's a whole different deal when he leaves his boat - that's serious! He's convincing these men to leave everything they know - they're leaving their jobs with no notice, no promise on how to make money, no claims of fame, or promises that 2000 years from now, there'll be huge buildings in Europe named after you. Just two words: “Follow Me.

James and John, son of Zebedee - they do the same thing. What was Zebedee thinking? His whole workforce just quit with no notice. Imagine Zebedee going home that night to his wife, trying to explain that the sons have left home to follow a guy.

This is what was going on. Every Hebrew boy longed to be a rabbi - it was the highest calling - the coolest thing, the best of the best.

It's kind of like in New Zealand, how many boys grow up wanting to play rugby? But how many actually get to play for the All Blacks one day?

Every boy wanted to be a rabbi, but at some point, 99% of them were told: I'm sorry - you just don't have what it takes to be in ministry. Only the best, of the best, of the best made it - and here's how they started to weed them out...

You had to memorise Leviticus by the age of six. Not every home had scripture; they read scripture communally - so you had to memorise Leviticus based on your father's memorisation of Leviticus, and him quoting it to you (which is a whole other message).

If you memorised Leviticus then you graduated; but when you were 6, you graduated to what was called the Beit Sefer, which is Hebrew for ‘the School of The Book’. Beit Sefer lasted from 6-12, and they memorised the whole Torah: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy - word for word, the whole thing.