Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus Can Transform Your Faith
By Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg
“Rabbi” was the Hebrew word for “my master,” and only later, after Jesus’ time, did it become a formal title. These men roamed from village to village, relying on the hospitality of residents. As an apprentice learns a trade, disciples followed the rabbis to learn not just knowledge but a way of life. Rabbis challenged listeners with themed stories, just as Jesus did. And Matthew 19:12, where Jesus says “others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven,” may refer to the practice of some rabbis to postpone marriage until later in life because of their itinerant way of life.
That’s only a snippet of information you’ll learn from this book that will shed light on scripture. Authors Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg, discuss prayer, blessings, the Passover, Jewish feasts and much much more as they offer insightful commentary on the Jewish lifestyle and teachings of Jesus. They tie New Testament scripture to Old Testament parallels in ways that further enlighten the reader. Remember how Laban chased after Jacob when he fled, taking his wives, flocks and children with him? The authors write: “By eating together Jacob and Laban were proclaiming that their relationship had been restored. Because the meal was also part of a sacrifice to God, it was understood that the Lord himself was present . . . . “
Chapters end with suggested activities to help readers understand the teachings in an even deeper way. And sidebars explain unfamiliar terminology. Appendices include “Prayers Jesus Prayed,” data on The Feasts, a recommended resource list and a glossary. There’s also a notes section and an index to scripture. Of 264 pages, the end material takes up 56 pages. Published by Zondervan, the book sells for $21.99. Believe me, it’s worth far more than that to anyone serious about understanding scripture. Just discovered there’s an online study guide by Elisa Stanford available free at http://ourrabbijesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Sitting-at-the-Feet-of-Rabbi-Jesus-Study-Guide.pdf.
I appreciated the careful research and documentation of the authors, which they presented in an easy-to-read, interesting style. I plan to keep this book by my Bible so that as I encounter the texts referenced, I can review what the authors have shared. I rarely re-read books, but this is one I plan to review. I’m also going to give copies as gifts because once you read it, you want everyone to discover what you’ve learned.