Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,“Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Titles of Jesus – Rabbi
I currently spend a lot of time around schools and education. My role is based in a secondary school, I am a governor of a local primary school and my wife is a teacher. The one thing I have noticed in all these areas is that being a teacher is more than just pouring knowledge from one brain into another. Instead it involves understanding the young people and caring for them as unique individuals and not just educational units with exams to pass. For many teachers this has them being the only positive adult role model that the young people might see. These teachers are rabbis. They don’t just pass on information they also positively model their lives, their actions and words in such a way that the young people want to be more like them or at least notice a difference in them that makes them think.
First century rabbis were similar, they had followers, and the followers often wanted to be so close to the rabbi so that the dust from the rabbi’s feet would cover them. Rabbi’s were often followed by the brightest and best of the local villages. Jesus model was different, he chose the ordinary to be his followers and as we see in Mary’s response, she was part of that following.
Jesus is still our greatest role model for life, so we need to be close to him, our rabbi, to benefit from his teaching, care, challenge and encouragement. We do this through regular prayer, Bible study, time spent with him and living out of his values in the world. We also need people around us who inspire us in our faith and life. We should also take notice of those that may be looking to us as their rabbi. So the questions I put for reflection today are, “Who are our rabbis?” and “Who are we rabbis to?”
Our Rabbi, We pray today for those who have the responsibility of modelling their lives to others, give them wisdom and grace and help them to be good rabbis. For ourselves we ask, that you teach us your ways of truth, love and grace that we might live them out in your world, so that others might choose to follow you as their rabbi. To your praise and glory, and in your name, we ask. Amen.
The Rev’d Stuart Nixon is a pioneer minister in Salford.