Tuesday December 25th: 17 Tevet
In Judaism, this day commemorates the death of two prominent 18th century rabbis, who were also regarded as maggidim or “preachers.” A maggid, or preacher, is distinguished from a typical rabbi in that a rabbi’s audience tends to be scholars and students. A maggid, however, was someone who went to the masses. In the 18th century, these two maggidim made a very large impact on the masses of people in Russia and the Ukraine.
This is of interest to us because the role a maggid accurately describes what Christ was all about. He went outside of the study halls and synagogues, beyond the scribes and scholars to take His message to the common person. The people of God were where His heart was.
“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
And when He spoke to the people, we see that they responded to His words favorably.
“Then He went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and was teaching them on the Sabbath. And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.” (Luke 4:31-32)
The word maggid (maggidim is the plural form) comes from the root word that means “to tell” as in “telling” a story. A related word is the term hagaddah. At Passover, our Jewish friends tell the story of Passover by using a booklet called a hagaddah. All of these terms are related to a word that means “to cut,” or “to penetrate.” The picture is this: as a farming plow penetrates the earth and cuts rows for seed in a field, a preacher goes to the people and tells them what God is saying to them through His Word.
The Messiah’s heart is still for people, whether they’re rich or poor, educated or illiterate. He wants people to hear His words and allow it to penetrate their hearts, not necessarily their heads. How does He do that, today? He does it through people like us. We don’t have to be scholars; we just have to be a believer. Obviously, we must know the Word and are to present it responsibly and faithfully. And like the Messiah, our efforts should be focused on those people who need to hear it, not necessarily those who think they already know it.
Unfortunately, there are some who feel that, unless a person is recognized as a scholar or have a degree in theology, they have no business sharing the Word. Of course, we heartily disagree with position. As fellow sojourners in this world and disciples of the Lord, it is our mandate to make disciple and we can’t do that if we don’t TELL them how. Because His Word has penetrated our hearts, we are obligated to share that Word and allow it to penetrate the hearts of others.
Remember that Jesus spoke to the heart of people, not necessarily their heads. In other words, He didn’t appeal to their intellect so much as He spoke to their inner man and He did so by using word pictures that everyone understood. We must do likewise. We need to share the Word with people in words they can appreciate and in a manner that allows the Word of God to find a place to rest and produce fruit. In short, we must follow the example of the Messiah and fulfill the role of a maggid by going into all the world with the Gospel of the Kingdom.