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Summary: The Torah and its teachings.

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Dust

July 23, 2006

Matthew 4:18-22

Last Sunday, one of our guests/visitors to the service asked if we had a pamphlet about what we believed as a Church. I said we did and handed it to her.

In the pamphlet, which is in the entryway for all who are interested, are listed 5 of the core beliefs of our church and the denomination to which it belongs.

3 of these core beliefs mention specifically Jesus Christ.

At the center of our church, at the center of our faith is this man who lived on this earth 2000 years ago.

To people who have spent time in the church this isn’t a surprise.

It is a given.

a for sure.

a taken for granted reality.

Of course Jesus is at the center of the Church. But when you take a step back, it is quite astounding that a group of people still exist that seek to learn from a man who lived 2000 years ago.

I mean think about it. This - -

Jesus never wrote a book, in fact the only thing we know that we wrote -

He wrote in the dirt.

He didn’t have a home since he left home. He said, "he had no place to lay his

head."

He didn’t become overly popular - only a couple hundred people met him

personally and less than 10 times that ever heard or saw him.

He didn’t travel outside a certain region.

He didn’t lead an army.

He didn’t govern a nation.

And yet 2000 years later, people gather around the world literally, in order to learn about him, be loved by him, to serve him and to submit their lives to him.

The man Jesus grew up in Israel. In a region, a very religious region called Galilee. People from Galilee believed that God had spoken specifically to their ancestors when they needed it most, as they traveled in the wilderness, after being released from slavery in Egypt. They believed that God spoke to their leader Moses at Mount Sinai.

The words God spoke to Moses were recorded by him in the 1st 5 books of the Bible. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Books that later became known as the Torah, meaning teachings, or instructions, or the way.

These teachings, the Torah, were the central passion of God’s people.

People desired to be taught the Torah.

to live according to it.

to obey it in all aspects of their lives.

Because this appetite to live according to Torah was so prevalent, the Teachers or Rabbis began to ask "How young can we begin teaching Torah to children?" and one of them said, "Under the age of six we do not receive a child as a pupil from six upwards accept him and stuff him (with Torah) like an ox."

In order to stuff children like an ox with Torah, an educational system of sorts was developed. (see bulletin)

The 1st level of education was called Bet Sefer, which means "House of the Book." Little Jewish boys around the age of 6 would go to their local synague and be taught by their local rabbi. The Rabbi would spend significant time with the children helping them to memorize the Torah, the 1st five books of the Old Testament.

Genesis

Exodus

Leviticus

Numbers

Deuteronomy

Sometimes the rabbi would take honey and place it on the students’ fingers and then have them taste the honey, reminding them that God’s words taste like honey on the tongue. The rabbi wanted the students to associate the words of God with the most delicious, exquisite thing they could possibly imagine.


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