Only John gave Messiah this title. Rabbi roots from the Hebrew rab which means “great one” the “i” mean “my.” It means to claim one as a master or teacher.
FYI: Rabbi is teacher in Hebrew, Rabboni is teacher in Chaldean
Jesus turned, and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” John 1:38
This group of people (we don’t know their number or if they were all men or if some women were present) have heard John declare that this Man was the Lamb of God, and now they want to move on to the greater teacher. In asking were He was staying they were asking to be taught by Him for being taught in the first century meant to live with the teacher. Andrew was so excited by all this that he went and told his brother Peter that they had found the Messiah.
Messiah welcomed them into his living arrangements. Unlike the preachers of today, who stand up on Sunday and then are gone for the rest of the week. They maintain the interest of their followers by keeping them at a distance all this is because familiarity breeds contempt but mystery intrigues. The instructions of the New Testament are to disciple others, and our Lord set the example. There must be a certain amount of openness in ones life. We must be friends, share our lives, break our bread and in general be open in most of our ways. There needs to be what used to be called the communion of the saints. Messiah opened up all to those who followed He allowed them to become intimates with Him. They saw Him on good and bad days. They saw how He dealt with the ups and down of everyday life.
Messiah offers the same opportunity to everyone.
For he says, “At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation.” Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. 2Cor. 6:2
It is Nathanael who announces first that he understands what other title the Messiah is entitled to be called.
Nathana-el answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” John 1:49
Nicodemus who is afraid to be seen with the Messiah never-the-less acknowledges that He is his Rabbi.
This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him.” John 3:2
Then last but certainly not least is Mary Magdalene, who in her great grief recognizes her Teacher when He calls her name.
Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rab-boni!” (which means Teacher). John 20:16
What a comfort that our great teacher in our darkest grief calls us by name, and leads us out to greater pastures.
To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3