Jesus our LORD was also a Rabbi
At the heart of Christianity is Jesus our Lord. What we can sometimes forget is that He was also a Rabbi and therefore, thoroughly Jewish. Jesus was steeped in Hebrew thought and action, which is why He took His disciples on so many field trips! He believed, as all rabbis did, that people learn best through participation. Rabbis were steeped in a thorough knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures, (i.e. the Old Testament), and in particular, studied and lived out the commands and principles of Torah.
Torah is the Hebrew word for the first five Books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy). It is also called the Pentateuch, which in Latin means implement book. This is extremely significant because the nature of Torah is primarily concerned with the practical outworking of a person’s Covenant faith. The implementing of that faith. The word Torah has traditionally been interpreted as “law”, that is, a set of rules or legal codes. This usually implies a rigid approach to life that distorts the inner intention of the idea of Torah. A truer translation is that of “instruction” or simply “teaching.” In this way we can look at the Torah as an orientation course in the ways of God. Torah is the training that Israel needed to experientially learn who Yahweh really was!
By understanding the logic of Torah we as New Covenant followers of Christ can be significantly more purposeful and effective in relating all aspects of our lives to the authority of Yahweh. As we endeavor to obey our LORD we can become more and more effective in reproducing true Disciples of Jesus Christ.
Clearly the Apostle Paul understood this “integrated living dynamic” of the Christian walk when he contrasted the pagan gentile’s behavior with the behavior of followers of Jesus in Ephesians 4:17-24. Listen how verse 20 illustrates the unique way in which we live as Christ-followers.
“But you did not learn Christ in this way,…” (Eph. 4:20).
Paul does not say that believers learned ABOUT Christ, which stresses information, but rather that they were to simply “learn Christ”. There is a big distinction here! The latter teaches us that we are to LIVE OUT the will and ways of Jesus Christ, which always leads to transformation.
This the essence of Discipleship!
“My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed (morphe which means ‘to shape and transform’) in you—…” Galatians 4:19