Friday, April 18, 2008

Sermon Series Leftovers 3: Jesus Had a Weird Accent

In week 2 I was talking about Jesus as Rabbi and what it meant to follow him. I had to leave out a couple of really interesting points that should have disqualified Jesus from becoming the history-altering rabbi that he was.

1. He didn’t go to the right schools. In John 7:14-15, about the middle of the festival Jesus went up to the temple and began to teach. The leaders were amazed saying “How does this Man have such learning when He has never been taught?” Now, what do they mean by that, that? It means he had probably never been to rabbi school. There was an education system where rabbis were made in that day. The Apostle Paul came up in that system. Paul sat at the feet of Gamaliel who was recognized as one of the great rabbis in the first century. Jesus didn’t have a diploma like Paul did. He didn’t have those credentials.

2. He had a crazy accent. Jesus didn’t come from the right place. He did not come from a center of education. Remember when Peter was in the middle of denying Jesus three times— and kept saying, "I don’t know Him. I don’t know his followers. I'm not associated with Jesus in any way." Do you remember what gave Peter away? His accent gave him away. A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for even the way you talk gives you away.” (Matthew 26:73)

At this point they were in Jerusalem, down in the southern part. But Peter and Jesus and the boys are from Galilee. And it seems that people from Galilee spoke with an accent. In fact the Galilean accent was considered so jarring to the ear that they weren't even allowed to pronounce the benediction at the end of a service in a synagogue because that crazy accent was considered so uneducated and ugly.

That's why it's so funny to see every movie about Jesus - because he always has a very distinguished British accent. But the truth is, he did not sound like an Oxford guy. He sounded like a NASCAR guy or a New York cabbie (not exactly a picture of brilliance - which is really ironic in light of my last post). He didn't sound like what a world-changing rabbi was supposed to sound like. Wrong family, wrong accent, wrong school, no diploma, and no credentials. And yet his teachings took people's breath away and ultimately changed the world. No one’s teaching has ever affected the human race like the teachings of Jesus.

Even though his accent sounded weird.


the Jennings secede from the South said...

Whoa, that's weird to think about. Jesus with a country accent. I always think of him with the Morgan Freeman kind of accent.

Anonymous said...

Maybe he didn't really have an accent because he didn't exist. Lord, liar, lunatic, or just plain old not there.