Learn From the Rabbi Who Is the Author of All Scripture


Learn From the Rabbi Who Is the Author of All Scripture

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” – Matthew 11:29

The three stages of education within Judaism during the time of Jesus were Bet Sefer, Bet Talmud, and Bet Midrash. Each stage included specific age groups of Jewish boys. Girls also participated in Bet Sefer.

Bet Sefer means “House of the Book.” Education usually took place in the synagogue where the focus was on readingwriting, and memorization of the Torah (Pentateuch): Bereshit/Genesis, Shemot/Exodus, Vayikra/Leviticus, Bamidbar/Numbers, Devarim/Deuteronomy. This is how many today use their devotional time. The individual reads a passage of Scripture, listens as specific words and phrases speak to them, and writes such verses into a journal. They then pray the verse.

Bet Talmud means “House of Learning.” Boys ten to twelve focused on studying the rest of the Jewish Scripture and the oral interpretations of the Torah. Students learned to answer a question with a question and to cite other passages to support their points. Today such study might involve examining Bible commentaries that examine the verse in its original language and review how certain words or phrases are used in other parts of Scripture.

Beth Midrash means “House of Study.” Boys studied under a famous rabbi. Rabbi’s selected their students and only those boys believed to show great potential were selected. The focus was on understanding and applying the Torah and oral tradition to daily life in a more intense way. The student, usually called a “talmid” (disciple), would attach himself to (be yoked with), and travel with, the rabbi as part of his education. His goal was to become like his rabbi and learn his “halakoth” (to walk, go) until he internalized it. This continued until he became a full-fledged rabbi or scribe at the age of thirty. Without training at the Beth Midrash, a man could not be recognized as formally educated. Though the first two stages (elementary schools) were probably affordable and accessible to the average Jewish boy, the third stage (higher schools/rabbinic academies) were probably for boys who were intelligent, talented and from well-to-do homes.

We can assume that Peter, James, John, and the rest of those Christ called to be his disciples failed to make the cut for Beth Midrash. No rabbi called them to be a talmid. So when Jesus says to those who failed to make the cut, “Take my yoke upon you,” he is offering all who will follow a chance to become a talmid disciple and learn his halakoth, his way of walking.

Imagine you were one of those young men who failed to make it past grade school and then one day, while you are mending your father’s fishing nets, you are called to follow a rabbi. Would you go? Would you abandon the family business? What would you tell your wife, your kids?

Imagine you were one of those young women who never had the chance to learn the finer points of Scripture, never learned to banter with a rabbi, never learned to walk in the way of a rabbi because you were sent back home to be trained as a wife, mother, and caretaker for a family. Would you walk away from your husband, children, and home in order to become a disciple?

“My coursework is only an hour or so a day,” says Jesus. “The study guides are easy. Learn from me. I am a gentle teacher. I am humble. I am here if you need help. My door is always open. When you study with me your soul will rest and be refreshed. Will you come and learn from me?”

This is the call of a disciple of Christ. May we learn from the rabbi who is the Author of all Scripture.

Electing and Choosing Be Like a Couple Falling in Love

Finding Jesus

Electing and Choosing Be Like a Couple Falling in Love

For the sake of the elect those [last days] days will be shortened. False messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.- Matthew 24:22, 24

“The elect. . . “ that be you. Not that ya ‘ave been elected but that ya ‘ave elected Skipper as yer captain.

A great many fellers trip up over what tha Son means when he says “tha elect” and have tha opinion Skipper be picking and choosing who be in his crew. But it not be Skipper’s character ter pick some and not others. Skipper wants all folks ter be rescued from thar sinful life and to come ter a knowledge of tha truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Aboard a pirate ship a crew ‘ill “elect” a captain. They ‘ill “choose” who ‘ill command tha ship. Tha crew places thar trust in that mate with tha confidence that he or she ‘ill keep him safe and bring ‘em safely ter port: hopefully what tha hold stuffed with prized cargo.

Same goes fer Skipper and those who be saved through his Son. Folks choose and Skip chooses. These be tha “elect” of Skipper.

Tha Greek word fer “elect” be “eklektos” “ἐκλεκτός, ή, όν”. When writing ter tha church in Ephesus tha Apostle Paul wrote that Skipper “chose us.” Tha Greek word fer “chose us” be “ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς” (Ephesians 1:4)

(We) elect: “ἐκλεκτός, ή, όν”

He chose: “ἐξελέξατο ἡμᾶς”

Near ’bout tha same phrase but not exactly.

Tha electing and choosing be like a couple falling in love. Who picks who first? Doth ya say in yer heart “she be tha one” before she says in her heart “he be tha one?” Are ya together when this revelation comes ter both of ya? Or doth it happen in secret, whilst ya two be off ter yer self alone? Ter be sure, sometimes a couple ‘ill know at first sight. Most times, though, thar be tha courting stage whar ya be getting ter know each other. Then in her heart she ‘ill elect ter be with him. He, in his heart, ‘ill choose her.

Be not getting in ter squabbles ‘bout who Skipper elects and chooses. Such talk be divisive and diverts folks from tha main point. In his heart Skipper ‘as already picked ya. He loves ya. Loves all folks. Only because he be Skipper and sees what lies over tha horizon, he already knows who ‘ill elect ter love him.

Now as ter tha warning from tha Son, his point be this: Even them who elect ter love Skipper ‘ill be tempted ter follow lying spirits and turn away from tha Truth. They ‘ill not betray tha love of Skipper, but tha deception in them days ‘ill be great.

Near ‘bout all relationships ‘ave such trials. Heads turn, eyes look, minds think on what could be . . . but while others run off ter serve tha devil and tha little gods he erects, tha elect ‘ill stick with Skipper.

If ya ‘ave fallen in love with Skipper and elected ter spend all eternity with him, then ya ‘ave no need ter worry. He ‘ill ne’er cast yer aside. All who be Skipper’s and in tha Son ‘ill never be lost, of this ya kin be sure. (John 6:39).

It Not Be Tha Source of Tha Water That Matters, but Tha Source of Tha Spirit

Finding Jesus

It Not Be Tha Source of Tha Water but, Tha Source of Tha Spirit That Matters

Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove – Matthew 3:16

Tha Holy Ghost of Truth comes ter us with both force and tha touch of a birds feather. Heaven be torn open on our account. It be like a hole carved in a starless night sky when a dot of light shines through. That light grows brighter as tha hole widens until its brilliance settles on ya. Though ya kin not feel tha light, ya know it be on ya.

John baptized his first cousin Jesus in a river. Wharn’t nothing special ‘bout tha water. Any old creek or pond would ‘ave suited tha purpose. It be tha source of tha Spirt that gave Jesus heavenly power.

Thar be all manner of spirits roaming about and any one of them kin alight on a feller.

One of tha first spirits ya find at work in tha world be that spirit of doubt. This be tha one tha devil laid on Eve in that Garden. Ya kin always tell tha spirit of doubt ‘cause it speaks tha phrase “if God” followed soon after with “then why?” Fer example:

“If Skipper be real, why thar be evil?”

“If Skipper loves us, how come he lets bad things happen?”

“If Skipper be all powerful, how come he didn’t heal (fill in tha blank) ?”

“If Skipper be real how come he didn’t answer my prayer?”

“If Skipper be perfect how come I be tha way I am?”

Once tha devil plants tha spirit of doubt in us, we take holt and make all sorts of excuses fer why Skipper not be real and powerful and all loving and such.

When ya hear “If God . . . then why?” that be tha spirit of doubt speaking, yer may lay ter that.

Tha disciple Thomas suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 20:25)
Our close friends might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha crowds that followed tha Son suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 6:30)
Them in our community might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Son’s neighbors suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 4:48)
Our neighbors might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Pharisees and teachers of Law suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (Matthew 12:38-40)
Tha leaders, teachers, and preachers in our church might have a spirit of doubt.

Tha Son’s own brothers suffered from tha spirit of doubt. (John 7:5)
Them in our family might have a spirit of doubt.

If ya ever hear a feller write or say or preach that doubting tha Son and Skipper be a good thing, run from that teaching fast as ya kin. Feller who promotes doubt and encourages folks ter question tha authority of Skipper, his words, and his perfect plan fer salvation be doing tha devil’s work, ya may lay ter that.

Be baptized with water.

Be baptized with Skipper’s Holy Ghost of Truth.

And if ya be baptized but still doubt, then ya kin be sure thar be a spirt of doubt oppressing ya. Cast it out by getting in ter Skipper’s word. When ya read Skipper’s Code of Conduct, tha Holy Ghost of Truth ‘ill battle against tha spirit of doubt. “Truly I tell you,” says tha Son, “if you have faith and do not doubt, it will be done.” (Matthew 21:21)

Fear be tha descendent of doubt.

Faith be tha descendent of belief.

Ya reap what ya sow.

Sow belief in Skip and his words and ya ‘ill be able ter live without fear of what man kin do ter ya, of this ya kin be sure.