Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rabbi or Lord?

Anthony Sacramone:
In a recent sermon, entitled “The Judas Chromosome,” Barnes calls out a small detail in the Last Supper. Recounting the different explanations for Judas’ betrayal—greed, disappointed political ambitions—Barnes says:
Notice that when Jesus announced to the disciples that one of them was going to betray him, most of the disciples say “Surely not I, Lord.” Except Judas. Judas says, “Surely not I, rabbi,” which means “teacher.” Was that the deal? Is it that Judas thought of Jesus only as a teacher but not the Lord of his life? We don’t actually know… What we do know is that for some reason Judas took 30 pieces of silver to betray the Lord Jesus Christ.
I couldn’t help but be intrigued by that rabbi/Lord distinction. You cannot have Jesus as teacher if you don’t have him as Lord. Jesus’ teaching not only carries no authority—it doesn’t even make sense, unless it is coming from the lips of the Lord and Giver of Life. The earliest written gospel, Mark, presents Jesus as a man who forgives sins. Good luck with that if you’re not always the offended party. And who alone could always be the offended party but the one who has final authority over your life. You cannot have Jesus the Rabbi without Jesus the Lord—anymore than you can have him as just the Savior. Jesus will not be rent apart according to the peculiar emotional or psychological or professional needs of individuals.
[the Barnes he quotes is M. Craig Barnes, whose books Sacramone highly recommends.]

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