Making Disciples


It is very difficult for us, almost 2,000 years removed from Jesus’ day, to project ourselves back across the centuries of time to a culture and language so totally foreign to our mind of today.

And yet, before we can even begin to understand the magnificent and thrilling words of Jesus, that is exactly what we must do.

The Great Commission
Matthew 28:18-20
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
20  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Who is the teacher?
Jesus, the Jewish Rabbi
The first thing that one must realize is that Jesus was a Jew.
Not just any ordinary Jew.
He was a Jewish rabbi, a teacher, one learned in the Scriptures and the religious literature of His day.

Jesus was learned in scripture

There is a general consensus in Christian circles that Jesus was unlearned or unschooled.
This misunderstanding is due to certain statements made about Nazareth and His disciples.

John 1: 43-46
43   The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”
44  Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46   “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
      “Come and see,” said Philip.

Acts 2:6-8
   When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken.
   Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans?
   Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?

Acts 4:13   When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

From the above passages the idea has arisen that Jesus, like His disciples, was basically ignorant and uneducated because He was from Galilee.
This line of thinking is fundamentally in error.

Galilee was not an ignorant area

The level of learning and education in Galilee exceeded that of Judea in Jesus’ day.
Galilee surpassed even Judea in its schools of learning.

The people of Galilee were the most religious Jews in the world in the time of Jesus.
There was a bias against Galileans by the people of Judea and other countries due to the very strong and passionate religious commitments of the people of Galilee.

The Galileans had more interaction with the world living on the "way of the sea"
Jews of Jerusalem during the time were more isolated in the mountains.

The Galilean people were actually more educated in the Bible and its application than most Jews.
More famous Jewish teachers come from Galilee than anywhere else in the world.
They were known for their great reverence for Scripture and the passionate desire to be faithful to it.
The number of 1st century Galilean rabbis known from rabbinic literature exceed the number of Judean rabbis.
Even the moral and ethical quality of their teaching excelled that of their Judean counterparts

Some of them were:

1. Johnanan ben Zakkai
2. Hanina ben Doda
3. Abba Yose Holikufri
4. Zadok
5. Halaphta
6. Hananian ben Teradyon
·      There were vibrant religious communities.
·      They were devoted to strong families.
·      They loved their country.
·      Their synagogues echoed the debate and discussions about keeping the Torah.
·      They resisted the pagan influences of Hellenism far more than did their Judean counterparts.
·      When the great revolt against the pagan Romans and their collaborators (66-74 AD) finally occurred, it began among the Galileans.
Was Jesus educated?

In the New Testament, a great deal of space is given to Jesus’ birth.
Then, until His appearance in the Temple at age 12, almost nothing.
From age 12 until He began His public ministry at about the age of 30, again, nothing.

What was Jesus doing in His early childhood and in His adolescence?

We have a very strong indication from a tractate, or chapter, in the Mishnah, the Jewish “Oral Law.”
The passage is as interesting as it is pertinent.

At five years of age, one is ready for the study of the Scripture, at ten years of age one is fit for the study of the Mishnah, at the age of thirteen for bar mitzvah, at the age of fifteen for the study of Talmud, at the age of eighteen for marriage, at the age of twenty for pursuing a vocation, at the age of thirty for entering into one’s full vigor…(Avot 5:2l).

The Mishnah describes the educational process for a young Jewish boy in Jesus' time.

·      At five years old for the Scripture
·      At ten years the Mishnah (oral Torah, interpretations)
·      At thirteen for the fulfilling of the commandments
·      At fifteen the Talmud (making Rabbinic interpretations)
·      At eighteen the bride-chamber
·      At twenty pursuing a vocation
·      At thirty for authority (able to teach others).

It is interesting to compare Jesus' life to this description.

ü  He "grew in wisdom" as a boy (Luke 2:52)
ü  He reached the "fulfilling of the commandments" indicated by ones first Passover at age twelve (Luke 2:41).
ü  He then learned a trade (Matt. 13:55, Mark 6:3)
ü  He spent time with John the Baptist (Luke 3:21; John 3:22-26)
ü  He began his ministry at about thirty- (Luke 3:23).
This parallels the Mishnah description quite closely.

The Bet-Midrash (secondary school)

Most Christians know that the synagogue is the Jewish house of prayer and worship.
Each synagogue usually had its own elementary school, or bet-sefer, and its own bet-midrash, the secondary school.

The best students continued their study after the elementary school (while learning a trade) in Beth Midrash (secondary school).

Here they studied:

·      Prophets and the writings
·      Torah
·      Interpretations of the Oral Torah

Lessons took place on all the days of the week including the Sabbath when they would, however, read no new material, but repeat earlier lessons.
We even find the children going over their lessons on Friday evenings in the synagogue.

From these written sources we can say with great certainty what Jesus was doing in His early childhood and adolescence.
He was studying, committing vast quantities of material to memory – Scripture, Mishnah (the Oral Law), midrash (commentary on Scripture). halachah (rabbinic legal rulings) – all the available sacred literature of His day.

Recognized by His peers as a Rabbi

Jesus was not only a Jew, He was a rabbi.
He had had a thorough education.

The term “rabbi” is derived from the Hebrew word rav, which in biblical Hebrew means “great.”
The word rav is not a title in biblical Hebrew.
By the time of Jesus rav had come to refer to a master, as opposed to a slave, or as opposed to a disciple.

The word “rabbi” (pronounced ra-bee), means literally, “my master.”
It was used as a form of address when speaking to a learned teacher, or sage.
It was not yet a formal title.

There are many passages in the New Testament which illustrate the recognition as a Rabbi.

Here are a few:

Luke 7:40    Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
                    “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

Luke 10:25  On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 19:39      Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

Luke 20:27, 28
27  Some of the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus with a question.
28  “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.

People who address Jesus as Rabbi include:

1.      private individuals
2.      lawyers
3.      The rich young ruler
4.      the Pharisees
5.      the Sadducees
 – a broad cross section of the people of His day.

The Importance of Jesus being a Rabbi

The rabbi in Jesus’ day was quite different from the present day rabbi.
In Jesus’ day, the rabbi almost always had an occupation from which he derived his livelihood.
He had not yet become the synagogal functionary that he became in a later period.
He was, rather, an itinerant or peripatetic preacher functioning in much the same way as the prophet of the Old Testament.

There were no highly developed and sophisticated methods of mass communication as we have today
The rabbi had to travel from place to place if he wanted to communicate to the masses his teachings and interpretations of Scripture.

There were hundreds and perhaps thousands of such rabbis circulating in the land of Israel in Jesus’ day.
These rabbis did not hesitate to travel to the smallest of the villages or the most remote parts of the land.

They would often conduct their classes in the village square or out under a tree.
In some instances, classes would be conducted in someone’s home.
Often these classes were small.
The rabbis did not hesitate to teach as few as four or five students.

Notice again the clear picture of Jesus the rabbi that emerges from our Gospels.

1.      He itinerates from place to place.
2.      He depends upon the hospitality of the people.
3.      He teaches in homes or in the open air.
4.      He has disciples.
5.      His disciples follow Him from place to place.

Jesus was a Rabbi with authority

Jesus seems to be a type of rabbi believed to have s'mikhah or authority to make new interpretations.
Most of the teachers were Torah teachers (teachers of the law) who could only teach accepted interpretations.
Those with authority (today "ordination") could make new interpretations and pass legal judgments.

Matthew 7:28,29
28  When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching,
29  because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Jesus was questioned about his authority.

Matthew 21: 23-27
23  Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
24  Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
25  John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
      They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’
26  But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
27  So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
      Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

While this makes Jesus one of a small group of teachers he was not the only one with authority.

The yoke of Torah

Rabbis invited people to learn to keep the Torah.
This was called taking "the yoke of Torah" or "the yoke of the kingdom of heaven".

Rabbi's with s'mikhah would have a new interpretation or yoke.
Torah teachers would teach the accepted interpretations or yoke of their community.

Jesus invitation to those who listened to many teachers and interpretations.
He was a Rabbi who would present an interpretation that was easy and light (to understand not necessarily to do)

Matthew 11:28-30
28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Fulfilling the Torah

Matthew 5:17,18
17    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18    For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

Fulfilling the Torah was the task of a first century rabbi.
The technical term for interpreting the Scripture so it would be obeyed correctly was "fulfill."

To interpret Scripture incorrectly so it would not be obeyed as God intended was to "destroy" the Torah.

Jesus did not come to do away with God's Torah or Old Testament.
He came to complete it and to show how to correctly keep it.
One of the ways Jesus interpreted the Torah was to stress the importance of the right attitude of heart as well as the right action.


Perhaps the most beautiful example of hospitality afforded to Jesus and His disciples is that pictured for us in the story of Mary and Martha recorded in Luke 10:38-42.

Mary and Martha had opened their home for both physical and spiritual nourishment – hospitality in the truest sense of the word.

Another important point is seen in this story when it is related that Mary was…sitting at the feet of Jesus: This rabbinic expression is a technical term for becoming a disciple.

According to custom, one could not charge for teaching the Scriptures, so the itinerant rabbi was dependent upon the hospitality and generosity of the community.
Many rabbis carried their food with them – a pouch of meal and a few olives.
From such they subsisted, not wanting to be a burden to their host.
The rabbi’s stay in the community might last from only a few days to weeks, or even months.

However, for the long term student (“disciple”), learning from a rabbi meant traveling, since the rabbi was always moving from place to place.
If one wanted to learn from a rabbi, one had to “follow after him.”

The rabbi (and his disciples) would naturally need to eat and sleep near where he was teaching.
In Rabbinic literature there are many passages which call on the people to show hospitality to the sages.
It is now easy for us to see the reason.
If the people had not been hospitable, opening their homes for teaching and providing food and lodging for the rabbis and their disciples, it would have been impossible for the rabbis to teach and for the students to learn.

How did Rabbis teach?

How did the rabbis in the time of Jesus teach?
What were their methods of teaching?
What were they teaching?

The focus of all the rabbis teaching was the Law.
For the rabbis, the “Law” consisted of

Written Law
Oral Law

 The Torah
The Written Law was the Torah, or the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), that God gave to Israel at Sinai.

Oral Law
In addition to this written revelation, Moses also received, according to the rabbis, additional commandments or instructions that were communicated orally.
These additional commandments were designated by the rabbis as the Oral Law.

The Oral Law is divided into two catagories: halachah and haggadah.

Halachah is from the Hebrew root halach, meaning “to walk,” or “to go.”
In other words, halachah is that path or way in which one is to walk.
Halachah is the term used to refer to the whole legal system in Judaism.
It includes the 613 written commandments of the Torah and all of the legal rulings and decisions of the rabbis found in the Oral Law.

Haggadah, from the Hebrew root nagad (“to draw out; to narrate or tell”)
It is everything that is not halachic; the non-legal portion of the Oral Law
This part which does not deal with religious laws or regulations.

According to the Jerusalem Talmud (Horavot 3:8. 48c), the purpose of the haggadah, unlike the purpose of the halachah, is not to state what is “forbidden” or “permitted” nor to declare what is “pure” or “impure.”

Haggadah includes history, narrative, story, legends, fables, poetry, dirges, prayers, parables, proverbs, allegories, metaphors, hyperboles, analogies, and more.

The haggadah is not written as a legal textbook, nor a digest of legal precedents.

Haggadah is moral and ethical instruction about personal faith and the ways of God.
It strives to teach man how to live in harmony with God and in harmony with his fellow man.
Its fundamental purpose is to reach out and touch the heart of man that he might “know the Creator of the world and adhere to His ways” (Sifre, Deuteronomy 49).

The common man loved haggadah.
He was strengthened and encouraged by it.
It was the spiritual food that nourished the soul.
The sermons for the common people were mainly haggadah.

More technical discussions were reserved for advanced disciples.

The itinerating rabbi-preacher loved haggadah as well.
It caught the people’s ear and drew the people to God.
The rabbi that could do that – draw the people closer to God that they might know His presence and feel His power – was highly esteemed.
Great crowds would throng to hear his words and disciples would eagerly follow after him.

In Jesus’ day, the stress was still upon haggadah rather than halachah.
In their teaching and preaching the rabbis still focused primarily on contemporary problems and the application of biblical principles in everyday life, rather than on theoretical discussions of the legal aspects of the Law.

As surprising as it may seem, we have a record of more of the sayings and the deeds of Jesus than any other 1st century rabbi.
Thus, the even greater importance of the Gospels as a witness to rabbinic, haggadic style in the 1st century.

In Jesus, we find the classic example of the peripatetic rabbi.
His teaching abounds in inspirational instruction that lifts man to God.
It abounds in parables, moral and ethical maxims, exhortations, words of comfort and reproof, etc.

In general, Jesus’ teaching format was as follows:

  1. Jesus would see an incident and it would be affirmed by him with the use of the Hebrew word amen,
  2. Jesus would then comment on the incident in the form of instruction to His disciples,
  3. His instruction was then followed by two parables…for…out of the mouth of two witnesses is a thing established.

The Gospel records of the teaching of Jesus are also a prime source of information for understanding haggadic methods of scriptural interpretation. 

The Process of Becoming a Disciple
 The Disciples as Talmidim

A few (very few) of the most outstanding Beth Midrash students sought permission to study with a famous rabbi.
It often involved leaving home to travel with him for a lengthy period of time.
These students were called talmidim (talmid, s.) in Hebrew, which is translated disciple.

There is much more to a talmid than what we call student.

A talmid wants to be like the teacher, that is to become what the teacher is.

That meant that students were passionately devoted to their rabbi and noted everything he did or said.
The rabbi-talmid relationship was a very intense and personal system of education.
The rabbi lived and taught his understanding of the Scripture.
His students (talmidim) listened and watched and imitated so as to become like him.
Eventually they would become teachers passing on a lifestyle to their talmidim.

Follow me

At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus is walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and enlisting disciples with the call, “Come, follow me”.

Matthew 4:18-20
18  As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
19   “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”
20  At once they left their nets and followed him.

“Follow me,” lech aharai (literally, “walk after me”), was a technical term in Hebrew for becoming a disciple.

The cost of following

The call to discipleship sometimes necessitated heartrending decisions.
It was, more often, a call to leave home.
(Note that this was a temporary absence, although it might involve months of study.)

The call to discipleship often meant leaving mother, father, wife, children, relatives, friends and traveling the country under adverse and austere conditions.
It meant leaving all.
We can see this reflected over and over again in the Gospels.

Luke 9:57-62
57    As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
58    Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
59    He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
60    Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
61    Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
62    Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 18:18-23
18    A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
19    “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’
21    “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
22    When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23    When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.

Luke 18:28-30
28    Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
29    “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

If married, with his wife’s permission, a man could leave home for a period of time in order to study with a rabbi.
Sometimes it was the wife who encouraged the husband to leave home to study.
The decision to follow a rabbi as a talmid meant total commitment in the first century as it does today.
Since a talmid was totally devoted to becoming like the rabbi he would have spent his entire time listening and observing the teacher to know how to understand the Scripture and how to put it into practice.

Chosen by the Rabbi Jesus

Most students sought out the rabbis they wished to follow.
This happened to Jesus on occasion

Mark 5:18-20
18    As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19     Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20    So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

There were a few exceptional rabbis who were famous for seeking out their own students.
If a student wanted to study with a rabbi he would ask if he might "follow" the rabbi.
The rabbi would consider the students potential to become like him
It is likely most students were turned away.
Some of course were invited to "follow me".
This indicated the rabbi believed the potential talmid had the ability and commitment to become like him.
It would be a remarkable affirmation of the confidence the teacher had in the student.

They were chosen:

1.      to be "with" him Mark 3:13-19;
2.      to follow him Mark 1:16-20;
3.      to live by his teaching John 8:31;
4.      were to imitate his actions John 13:13-15;
5.      Were to make everything else secondary to their learning from the rabbi Luke 14:26.

Like the Rabbi

Being like the rabbi is the major focus of the life of talmidim.
They listen and question, they respond when questioned.
They follow without knowing where the rabbi is taking them knowing that the rabbi has good reason for bringing them to the right place for his teaching to make the most sense.

This means that the present day talmid (disciple) must be no less focused on the rabbi.

We must be with him in his Word
We must follow him even if we are not sure of the final destination
We must live by his teaching (which means we must know those teachings well)
We must imitate him whenever we can.

In other words everything becomes secondary in life to being like him.

Sent out (Internship)

When they had observed and learned for a time they were sent out to begin to practice being like the teacher.

Luke 9:1-6
1      When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,
     and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
     He told them: “Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.
     Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town.
     If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
     So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.

Luke 10:1-3
1   After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.
  He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves

The amazement of the talmidim in discovering they could be like their teacher is delightful.

 Luke 10:17  The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

It is most affirming when a student discovers that being like the teacher is possible.

The teachers joy is no less as he discovers his students have learned well and are gifted and empowered by God to act as the rabbi does.

Luke 10:21     At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

Peter imitating Jesus to be like Him

This may explain Peter's walking on water.

Matthew 14: 25-31
25  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.
26  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.
27  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29  “Come,” he said.
      Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
30  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

When Jesus (the rabbi) walked on water, Peter (the talmid) wanted to be like him.
Peter had not walked on water before nor could he have imagined being able to do it.
However, if the teacher, who chose me because he believed I could be like him, can do it so must I.
And he did!

It was a miracle but he was just like the rabbi!

And then...he doubted.

Doubted what?
Traditionally we have seen he doubted Jesus' power.
Maybe, but Jesus was still standing on the water.
Peter doubted himself, or maybe better his capacity to be empowered by Jesus.
Jesus response "why did you doubt?" (14:31) then means "why did you doubt I could empower you to be like me?"

That is a crucial message for the talmid of today.
We must believe that Jesus calls us to be disciples because he knows he can so instruct, empower, and fill us with his Spirit that we can be like him (at least in our actions).
We must believe in ourselves!
Otherwise we will doubt that he can use us and as a result we will not be like him.

Being the true disciple of Jesus

Commissioning the talmidim – as disciple makers

When the teacher believed that his talmidim were prepared to be like him he would commission them to become disciple makers.

Commissioning means:

1.   As far as is possible you are like the master Rabbi.
2.   Now go and seek others who will imitate you.
3.   Because you are like the master Rabbi, when they imitate you they will be like the master Rabbi

Matthew 28:18-20
18  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
 20       and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Imitating Rabbi Jesus is a possibility

No one can be like Jesus in his divine nature, or in his perfect human nature.
Still when taught by the Rabbi, empowered and blessed by the Spirit of God, imitating Jesus becomes a possibility.

The mission of the disciples was to seek others who would imitate them and therefore become like Jesus

Paul the disciple of the Rabbi

He invited Herod Agrippa and the Roman governor to become like him.

Acts 26:28,29
28    Then Agrippa said to Paul, “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?”
29    Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

He taught the young churches to imitate him and others who were like Jesus.

1 Corinthians 4:15,16
15    Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

1 Corinthians 11:1  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:6,7 
     You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
     And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.

1 Thessalonians 2:14  For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews

1 Timothy 4:12  Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.

Hebrews 13:7  Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Our Call

Jesus, the divine Messiah, chose the rabbi-talmid system.
Jesus calls us to be his talmidim.

·      We must know God's Word and Jesus' interpretation of it.
·      We must be passionate in our devotion to that word and Jesus example.
·      As we are filled with his Spirit, we must be obsessed with being like him as far as is humanly possible.
·      We must strive for relationships with others so they will observe us and seek to imitate our love and devotion to God and our Jesus-like lifestyle (1 Cor. 2:16, 11:1; Gal. 3:27).

This is one of the most significant concepts of the New Testament.

He taught like a rabbi in real life situations, using the most brilliant methods ever devised.
He interpreted God's word and completed it.
He demonstrated obedience to it.
 He chose disciples whom he would empower to become like him and led them around until they began to imitate him.
Then (after the gift of the Holy Spirit) he sent them out to make lead people to imitate them by obeying Jesus.

All Bible verses are from NIV, if not otherwise mentioned

No comments:

Post a Comment