Friday, August 6, 2010

Rabbi Jesus--Part 1

I have been a bit absent as of late but with good reason. I have been extremely busy with just life in general. Also, I have had the holy privilege to serve some of the most precious women that I know through bible study. We have been going through "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore on Tuesday nights and "Ruth" by Kelly Minter on Thursday mornings. I have had to prepare much and also deal with my own insecurities in the midst of teaching on the grand subject. Well, all that is to say that I know several of you are about to love some of the things I am going to share because you dig Jesus. So, what I am going to do is share some wonderful treasures that I am learning from "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg. Out of all of the reading I have done not one book besides the bible has been as intriguing to me as this book. So here goes:

"Disciples of the wise increase peace in the world, for it is said, "And all your children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of your children." - Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 64a.

I can not tell you the times in the last 11 years where I have read the gospels and marveled and wondered at the call of the disciples. I am a very visual learner so I would try to picture Jesus walking up on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4) and calling Simon Peter and Andrew to be his disciples. I would wonder if He had some mysterious glow about Him or Holy aura and the disciples just drop their nets, leave their money, and etc sort of in a trance. No. This was a common thing for a Rabbi to train up people under Him.
First of all what in the world is a disciple? In Ancient Judaism it was customary for a Rabbi to begin his ministry at the age of 30. So, it makes perfect sense that Jesus' earthly ministry began when He was 30. I once had a girl tell me that the Lord would really be able to use me when I turned 30. Praise God He uses infants and children to ordain praise. I can't tell you how He has used my child to minister to my own life and heart. It was custom for a Rabbi to have at least ten or so disciples under him. They would walk where he walked, stay where he stayed, learn from him, eat with him and so on. Take a look at Elijah and Elisha in the Old Testament if you want to get a glimpse of the kind of relationship. A phrase was penned in 2 century BC that was attributed to Yose ben Yoezer that speaks of the Rabbi (which Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi lest we forget) "Let your house be a meeting place for the rabbis, and cover yourself in the dust of their feet, and drink in their words thirstily." So, the disciples were in essence what we would call modern day apprentices or an easier word, a learner. I loved this...I am quoting straight from page 58 of the book:

"The disciples would have shared the difficult life of their rabbi. But they would also have experienced great joy in the midst of it. After all, they were the talmidim of an extraordinary rabbi, learning from him about the deep things of God."
Let me break real quick to define talmidim:
"Talmid (tahl-MEED); plural, talmidim, tahl-mee-DEEM). A disciple or student, one who dedicated himself to learning a rabbi's understanding of Scripture and his way of living it out. In Greek, a disciple is a mathetes (plural, mathetai). In both languages the words mean "student" or "learner." A female disciple would be a talmidah in Hebrew, or mathetria in Greek. But were there any female disciples? Surprisingly, in Acts 9:36 Dorcas (Tabitha) is called a mathetria, a (female) disciple."

Stay with me here and please don't get lost in the fact that her name was Dorcas...haha.

Modern Christians have sometimes been confused about what discipleship is, equating it with "discipline." Of course discipline is vital to the spiritual life. Jesus himself said, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me" (Mark 8:34). But the overall goal of discipleship is not simply to grow in self-discipline, but to be transformed into the likeness of Christ.

Imagine for a moment if someone were to define parenting only as discipline. Of course children need discipline. But we would have great cause for worry if discipline was the only thing a parent focused on.

Sometimes we hear the word "disciple" and conclude that it's too hard to become one. But think about the alternative. To refuse to become Jesus' disciples is to consign ourselves to perpetual childhood and condemn ourselves to a waisted, frustrating life. The more we enter into relationship with Rabbi Jesus, the more joy we will experience. To become more like Christ will deepen our relationships and allow us to live more authentically. It may not always be easy but it will certainly be good, and, as we follow him, we will find ourselves living with greater passion and purpose, experiencing a life of greater fulfillment."

We also can glean from Luke 6:11-13 that Jesus prayed about the chosing of His disciples.

Well, I am just about to pass out. It is almost 1AM and I have gone non-stop (glory!) all day long. Tomorrow I want to blog about the Rabbi-Disciple relationship/ gets REALLY good.

Any thoughts?

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The Hoskisons said...

Thanks for posting this. I remembered seeing this book at our local used bookstore, so when I was in town today I picked it up - excited to start learning!

michellemabell said...

Yes, wonderful little treasures. I look forward to part two.
I do have to say I got caught up by Tabitha really being Dorcas in Greek...I went and looked it up and sure enough it says it right there plain as day in my NASB.
So maybe it's just because it is a bit late, but why would the name Tabitha be mentioned at all if Acts was written in Greek? And he goes back and forth for the next couple of verses interchanging her name. Just find it interesting...

Thanks for posting this. :)