Sep 13, 2017 by Isabella Cox

Jesus Was Many Things, But Why Was He Called 'Rabbi'?

Although the Bible has many names for Jesus, among those who followed Him, He was most commonly called simply 'rabbi'. Why was this? 

First, it is important to understand that Jesus was a Jew, as Christian Today writes. 

"'Christianity', of course," the article that poses this question explains, "did not exist until after Jesus' death and for those watching Jesus travelling, preaching and teaching, he was much like their Rabbis who taught the scriptures each week in synagogues."

The manner in which Jesus taught was very common for rabbis, and so His followers treated Him as such. For example, they would pose questions for Him to answer, such as 'Is it lawful for a devout Jew to pay taxes to the Roman authorities?' (Mt 22:15-22), 'What must I do to inherit eternal life?' (Mk 10:17-22) and 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?' (Mt 18:1-6). This was a common way for rabbis to teach in those days. 

Jesus was, of course, while a great teacher, far more than simply a rabbi, as the Christian Today article explains. 

"When announcing his ministry Jesus also declares himself different from other Rabbis," it says. "In Luke 4 Jesus unrolls the scroll and reads Isaiah 61: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour.'"

Of course, His followers might have called Him rabbi at first, but by the end of His ministry, they knew who He was, as Matthew 16:15-16 explains: 

'Jesus said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."'

Jesus was many things, and rabbi was among them. He was of course, so much more than this, and remains so today. 

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