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Yeshua Explored

The Rabbi and the Home Group

todayMarch 12, 2014 10

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Somewhere in suburbia a group of friends are meeting in the front room of a house. They are Christians and this is a Thursday night house group meeting and there is a special guest. It is a Messianic Rabbi (a teacher who believes in Jesus) and he is going to demonstrate this teaching method.

Rabbi (to Bob) : Who killed Jesus?

There’s an awkward silence as Bob tries to think of an answer that shows insight, maturity and political correctness. The Rabbi senses this and pre-empts him.

Rabbi: Bob, the first thing that entered your mind, that’s what I want. Now … who killed Jesus?

Bob: The Romans.

Rabbi: What, all Romans? Be specific please?

Bob: The soldiers. The Roman soldiers who executed him.

Rabbi: Ah, the soldiers. Tell me, do soldiers always act on their initiative? Was it their idea or … ?

Bob: No, of course not. They were following orders.

Rabbi: Whose orders, Bob?

Bob: Well, of their superiors. Then you’re going to ask, “who instructed them”, aren’t you, Rabbi. I suppose the buck stopped with Pontius Pilate, then. He gave the initial orders.

Rabbi: Yes Bob, good thinking. But I do have to go a bit deeper here. After all, Pontius Pilate must have had good cause to give this command. So … who gave him this good cause? Who killed Jesus?

Bob: Well the Bible talks of the Jewish mob who were baying for Jesus’ blood …

Rabbi: So the Jews killed Jesus?

Bob: Um …

Rabbi: OK. Awkward moment here. Let’s delve deeper, Bob. Who were the actual people crying, “Crucify Him”?

Bob: That would be the Jewish mob outside Pilate’s palace.

Rabbi: And, in your experience, do mobs act on their own initiative, or are they usually led by others?

Bob: Well yes. Someone must have stirred them up, I suppose.

Rabbi: So there would be some Jewish agitators, who would have influenced the mob?

Bob: That seems to make sense.

Rabbi: And could you venture a guess as to the identity of these agitators?

Bob: Um …

Rabbi: Who had been Jesus’ main opponents in those days?

Bob: The religious leaders? Scribes and Pharisees?

Rabbi: So it was the religious establishment that riled the mob? So it was these Jewish leaders who killed Jesus then?

Bob: Yes … I suppose so.

Rabbi: Are you sure? Let me rephrase the question, then. Who actually was responsible for the death of Jesus?

Bob: Isn’t that the same question?

Rabbi: Then let me expand on this. What does it say in Matthew 16:21?

After a pause.

Bob: From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Rabbi: What does this tell you?

Bob: That Jesus knew in advance …

Rabbi: Correct. And …

Bob: I suppose if he knew it was going to happen, then it was all in God’s plan. But, it still needed the Jews and the Romans to actually do it. Surely they had free will in the matter?

Rabbi: Correct again. You’re getting the hang of this, Bob. But there’s one thing more. Do you remember what Jesus said on the cross?

Bob: It is finished?

Rabbi: No, earlier than that. What did he say about those who had put him on that cross?

Bob: Oh yes, I know. Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Rabbi: Correct. So where did the responsibility lay with the death of Jesus?

Bob: Well the Jews pushed for it and the Romans did the deed but …

Rabbi: Yes?

Bob: They didn’t know why they were doing it and Jesus forgave them.

Rabbi: That’s right. So who was responsible?

Bob: Jesus himself?

Rabbi: It seems so, but there’s some words in John. Chapter ten, verses 17 to 18 … Can you find this?

After a pause.

Bob:The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

Rabbi: Who is speaking here?

Bob: Jesus.

Rabbi: And who asked him to lay down his life?

Bob: God.

Rabbi: So who was responsible for the death of Jesus?

Bob: God.

There’s silence for a few moments.

Sue: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son …

Jim: … that whoever believes in him …

Bob: Wow. These words now seem so alive …

If you retrace the conversation you will notice that all the Rabbi did was ask questions and allowed Bob to reach the conclusions by himself, until a clear understanding was reached.

Isn’t that wonderful, a clear understanding. How many of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, have a clear understanding of the things of God? Apart from the mysteries, of course, that we will never have an inkling of this side of heaven!

Steve Maltz
February 2013 (This is an abridged extract from Steve’s book How the Church Lost the Way: And How it Can Find it Again)

Written by: Miriam Emenike

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