Editor's Note: Look for devotions from Ann Spangler's books every week for the next few weeks. Today's devotion is from Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith.
By comparing Jesus to other rabbis of his time, we do not mean to imply that he is just another rabbi. Nor are we merely singling him out as a rabbi among rabbis, much as you might distinguish an Olympic gold medalist from other athletes. Jesus was an extraordinary rabbi, but he was so much more than that.
Remember that the Jewish people longed for a Messiah, a deliverer, who would be like Moses. Many of Jesus' contemporaries were looking for a new Moses to deliver them from their Roman oppressors. But did you know that Moses is revered not only as Israel's great deliverer but as Israel's great teacher? In fact he is often called Moshe Rabbenu, "Moses Our Rabbi," by the Jewish people, who honor him for bringing them the Torah after his encounter with God on Mount Sinai.
Like Moses, Jesus brought God's word to earth. More than that, he was God's Word incarnate. With this in mind, it is hardly surprising that he spent his life as a Jewish rabbi. In both life and death he is our Great Teacher, redeeming us so that we can learn from him how to live.