Saturday, November 26, 2005



A.N. Wilson, Jesus: A Life (1992), chapter V (The Fore-Runner):
He refused to be called 'master'.
Wilson was probably thinking of Matthew 23.5-10:
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi. But be not ye called Rabbi [῾Ραββί]: for one is your Master [διδάσκαλος, literally teacher], even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father [πατήρ], which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master [καθηγητής], even Christ.
But while Jesus himself is never addressed in the Gospels as καθηγητής (a word which occurs in the New Testament only in the passage just quoted from Matthew), he is addressed by another word for master (ἐπιστάτης, vocative ἐπιστάτα) six times in Luke (5.5, 8.24, 8.45, 9.33, 9.49, 17.13) without objection.

The normal ways to address Jesus in the Gospels are as lord, Rabbi, teacher, and master. What is rare is to find Jesus addressed by his name alone. Televangelists and other preachers who bawl "Jesus, do this!" and "Jesus, do that!" should realize that this is not an evangelical form of address. For more on this subject, see here.

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