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Week Two | Stringing Pearls Together

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Week Two | Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus Online Book Study
Reading Assignment – Ch. 3 & 4
Scripture Passage: Mark 1:11
🎙Listen to the Audio version | Read time 7-minutes

“Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’”
Mark 1:10-11, NIV

God seems to enjoy “stringing pearls” with the few short sentences of Mark 1:10-11, and they are absolutely packed full of meaning!

Stringing Pearls Together

In these few sentences, God pulls from all three sections of the Old Testament: 

  1. “You are my Son” is borrowed from Psalm 2:7. 
  2. “Whom I love” is from Genesis 22:2 in the Torah. 
  3. And “With you I am well pleased” is from the Prophets in Isaiah 42:1.

By quoting all three, he is proclaiming that the entire Scriptures point to Jesus as their fulfillment.”

Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg, Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus (Pg. 49)

That is huge!

This is also one of the times where God reveals Himself as a triune God, meaning He is three-in-one. The Holy Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In this first chapter of Mark, God the Father is speaking from Heaven about His Son Jesus, and the Spirit is descending on Jesus like a dove. All three persons are described in one scene.

Believe it or not, it looks like the entire foundation of Christian theology can be found packed into those few sentences of Mark 1:10-11! 

One God, Period.

The Trinity is a radical, very complex, and confusing concept, particularly for Jewish people who very firmly believe in monotheism. 

Twice a day Jews recite the Shema prayer, a set of Scriptures declaring very deep loyalty to God’s covenant. This prayer is the most important part, the centerpiece, of the morning prayer service. Also, parents teach their children to say the Shema at night, before they go to sleep.

The beginning of the Shema prayer is translated as, “Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is One.”

Jews believe in One God, period. 

The idea of God having a “Son” who is also God sounds a lot like polytheism. This is something Jews would want nothing to do with. 

The practice of polytheism would have been very familiar to them especially from the time their ancestors spent as slaves in Egypt. There is a lot of proof and archeological evidence that Egyptians believed in and worshiped many gods.

After God delivered His people out of bondage and slavery He spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him Ten Commandments. The second commandment told the Jewish people, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

Many years later in the Jordan River, John baptized Jesus, as we see in Mark 1. The voice of God the Father spoke from heaven and declared Jesus as His Son. 

Can you imagine the shock and confusion felt by everyone standing along the banks of the river?

The Trinity is still very difficult to explain and wrap our minds around.

How can one God be three-in-one? 

The clearest answer, as not helpful as it sounds, seems to be… because He’s God.

Because He is God

In chapter 4 of Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, we learn the importance of spending quality time with our Rabbi and observing and learning from Him in His everyday life just as much, if not even more so than we learn while we are sitting at His feet and listening closely to the words He is saying.

Rabbis were also known for “stringing pearls” together. 

Even though Jesus never actually said the word “Trinity” in the Bible, the concept is clearly taught. Jesus, Himself, teaches and shows us how He is a part of the Holy Trinity.

Our Rabbi Jesus speaks many times about His Father in Heaven and describes how they are a part of each other.

“Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me…”
John 14:10-11, NIV

Jesus also tells His disciples how He will send them His Spirit.

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
John 14:26, NIV

As confusing and complex as the Trinity may seem, one thing is very clear, God will NEVER leave us. It was God the Father who spoke with Abraham and Moses, it was God the Son who walked alongside the disciples and it is God the Spirit who guides us now until we are reunited for a beautiful eternity in heaven.

Today we learned:
– When God speaks He packed a lot into a few words
– Jews firmly believe in monotheism
– God is a triune God meaning three-in-one, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
– Jesus taught how He is a part of the Holy Trinity

ANSWER THIS IN THE COMMENTS (Or in the Facebook Group) What questions do you have about the concept of the Trinity? Or what examples might you have to help others understand God being three-in-one?

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Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus | Lois Tverberg

A 7-week study to change the way you read Scripture and deepen your understanding of the life of Jesus, by taking a fascinating tour of the Jewish world of Jesus, offering inspirational insights that can
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