We have been watching this video series by Rob Bell called Nooma. Gapboy and I are longtime fans of Rob. We have his books and have done some of his series before.
In our dvd session, Rob explained exactly what a Rabbi was and the devotion it takes to become one... and an even stronger devotion to become a disciple.
During 1st century Jewish culture, around the age of 5 years old. Jewish boys went to school to study the Torah. A quick explanation... the 1st 5 books of the bible which was the focus of their educational system.)
By the time they are 10, the first part of school was over, by this time they had the entire Torah studied and memorized!!! WOW!
Most boys began learning the family business, thus ending their education but the best continued on to the 2nd part of school where they studied and memorized the entire Hebrew bible. Genesis-Malachi.
If you were the best of the best of the best, you then went to a rabbi and asked to be his disciple. Which means, you devote your entire life to him. Study his interpretations of the Torah, his ways, his life. You left your family, your home and your city to now follow your Rabbi. BUT only if the Rabbi thought you were good enough.
If you passed his own tests and he found you worthy, he would tell you to "Come, follow me..."
Thus, your discipleship had started.
Looking into Matthew, we read the start of Jesus's ministry. The calling of the first Disciples... With this bit of knowledge I just learned, the story in Matthew 5:18-22 takes a whole different turn.
These men he called were young. They were not in school meaning they were not the best and far from the best of the best. James and John were with their father...learning the family trade... fishing. They too were very young and not good enough for any rabbi. But here comes Jesus. The most holy Rabbi of them all. He saw these men and in His eyes, they were perfect. He CHOSE them. He said those most coveted words any Jewish man wants to here from any Rabbi....
" Come, Follow me...."
Upon hearing those words, they dropped their nets and "Immediately left their boat and father and followed Him..."
I have heard this story a million times growing up. I sang the songs, acted out the story and taught it to my 3 year olds many times. But now, I can say, I truly understand the story.
Jesus could have picked anyone. He could have walked straight to the temple and picked the best of the best. He chose a different path. He chose every day people. Imperfect people. He chose you and me... with faults and failures and sin and blemishes (and big mouths =/) because He KNEW we could do it. He knew we had what it takes to do His work.
At the end of the study, we were asked this simple question.
" Are you a disciple?"
Again... wow... by the biblical definition?? Sadly, Im not sure. To have that devotion, to leave everything behind, to take that yoke and see one way. I want to say YES!
I struggle to read thru the entire bible in one year. I am challenged to make sure we get to church on time. I, in no way, have the first 5 books memorized. But God in His infinite wisdom already chose me and knew I can answer the call.
As I start a fresh week and a great New Year, I hope to truly become a disciple of Christ. Its a challenge, but one Im excited to take the challenge. Are you a disciple?