In John 20 Mary encounters a man she thinks is the gardener. Here is how it happens ...
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, RABBONI!" (John 20:15-16).
In this conversation Mary realizes that the man is Jesus and she uses a term we might also use, Rabboni, which means "master" or "teacher." I like this term but I sometimes forget that it is not a passive term ... it is supposed to be active.
I call Jesus "teacher" but forget that teaching is only true teaching when it changes my behavior. The reference here is the crucial difference between how we, in the west, view learning. In our society learning is a head-centered activity. We know something in our head and think we have it all figured out. But do we really "know" it? What happens when that bit of knowledge needs to be applied?
We say that we know things must be given up to God and we know we can trust God with our hurts, our grief and our pain. But does this knowing make it to application? I meet people every day that are living in past pain, past grief and past failures. They say they know that God has all these things under control but they can't make it to the application of this knowledge. So pain, grief and failure are the things that guide and lead their daily behavior. Do they know the Jesus they say they trust?
We say we know the teachings of Jesus about humility, gentleness and treatment of others. But when we come to the time of application we throw it all out the window. We place the haughty, proud and ego-driven leaders on a pedestal and usher them into political office. We hold to personal doctrines that say, "to thine own self be true." We walk on the other side of the street when we encounter the poor wayfaring stranger.
The "we" above strikes very close to home for me. Because I am that "we." I have a good amount of knowledge about the teachings of Jesus. I have placed it in my head so I can spout it out in religious cliches. But Mary calls me out when she uses the term Rabboni because if Jesus is my teacher I must be close enough to taste the dust off his sandals as He walks. I must go where He goes. I must do what He does. I must let my actions follow what I say I believe. If Jesus is my teacher, then He (not grief, pain, failure, politics, personal doctrine, pride, control, etc.) must become the thing that changes and leads my behavior. "Help me Lord to be taught and led by you!" Randy