Torah Club is excited to announce that our study for the next Torah cycle will be Jesus, My Rabbi. This new study will be an exploration of the Gospels from a Jewish perspective.
The content of Jesus, My Rabbi will be based on our popular commentary set Chronicles of the Messiah.
In this fourth article in the series, Damian Eisner is our guest. Damian is the Community Care Coordinator for Torah Club. You can read the other articles about Jesus, My Rabbi HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Torah Club Staff: Damian, why is it important for a disciple of Jesus to see Jesus as “My Rabbi”?
Damian: A rabbi is a teacher. Yeshua is the Messiah, and yet there is a problem with seeing Yeshua only as “Savior” and missing the teacher. He definitely talked about the future—hope in the coming kingdom was the foundation of much of his teaching. But many of his words were for living life, here and now. He was, after all, teaching Torah, which is instruction for living this life, and what better teacher for Torah than a rabbi, right? I mean the two biggies—love God, love People—are for right now, and where do they come from? Torah. We are disciples, that is, students and learners. This means we must have a teacher. Our best teacher is our rabbi, Jesus.
Torah Club Staff: Jesus, My Rabbi is going to be a study of the Gospels from a Jewish perspective. How does studying the Gospels from a Jewish perspective help disciples to grow?
Damian: I build off the answer I gave to your first question. The Gospels present the life, death, and resurrection of the Messiah, but they also present his teaching. It is teaching based on the Torah, the Jewish Scriptures as they’re sometimes called, which is best understood from a Jewish perspective. That Jewish perspective permeates the Gospels and brings clarity to words that can seem confusing apart from their original context. Understanding the meaning of the parables, for example, transforms the disciple’s understanding of the Gospels and, more importantly, the words of Jesus.
Torah Club Staff: As the Community Care Coordinator, you are dedicated to strengthening our Torah Club Leaders. How do you think the Jesus, My Rabbi study is going to stretch our current leaders?
Damian: We’ve probably all heard the statement, “Perspective is reality.” Perspective is so important. What we think we know, regardless of the validity of the source from which we know it, becomes for many, their uncompromising reality. There is no place this is more prevalent than in religious circles. Many, many new students will be coming to Torah Club to learn about Jesus. They’re hungry to know him in new and exciting ways, and yet, there’s a bit of uncertainty in that. If what they think they “know” about Jesus is challenged by seeing him as a Jew, teaching from a Jewish perspective, consistent with the Jewish understanding of the time, it can shake long-standing perspectives. Torah Club Leaders will have to understand first of all that new students coming in may have strong, established perspectives on who Jesus is. Then, they must be able to gently guide them through what can be a difficult but richly rewarding process. Be prepared for some heavy discussions, and let patience and love rule the day!
Torah Club Staff: For those considering becoming Torah Club Leaders, what kind of impact can the Jesus, My Rabbi study have on local communities?
Damian: Know Jesus better! That is a foundational statement at First Fruits of Zion that informs our work to bring Messianic Jewish teaching to Christians and Jews. As communities of his disciples begin to know him better, understanding his teaching in context, and dedicating lives to living out his teaching, those communities change. They are reinvigorated in their study of the Word and their relationship with God and Messiah, which ultimately leads to more connected and more loving communities of disciples. We need all of that we can get right now! Torah Club Leaders have the opportunity to lead that mission by accepting the challenge of leadership and creating a place where disciples will learn, grow, and connect.