Friday, March 27, 2009

The most excellent way.

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

-Excerpts, 1 Corinthians 13.

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22: 36-40

Friday, March 6, 2009

The phrase “to be a disciple” is explained in my Hebrew Study Bible like this:

the action of the verb describes much more than the mere academic impartation of information…Rather, the word suggests the deep shaping of character and the cultivation of a world-view through a close, personal relationship between the disciple and the teacher. The teacher is a mentor par excellence who seeks to stamp his image on his disciples and thereby enable them to participate in his life. For the goal of discipleship is not simply the attaining of information, but the experience and the enjoyment of fellowship. The adherent in turn seeks to emulate his master and partake of his life.

I think a lot of times our Western minds think of discipleship as the act of learning the facts, knowing the issues, or studying for truth within a situation. Although all of these things are important, they miss the heart of what discipleship was in Biblical times.

In Jesus' day, a Rabbi invested years of His life into his Talmidim (students, disciples). A Rabbi's talmidim would travel with him, stay where he stayed, walk where he walked, and experience what he experienced . It wasn't like coming to school to learn. It was living life with someone. Every day you followed the Rabbi. Every moment you spent with him, trying to learn more, so that you could model yourself after him and BE LIKE HIM. It was TIME SPENT TOGETHER.

Generally, a Talmid would be the one to choose His Rabbi, based on the Rabbi's beliefs, etc. If the Rabbi thought the student competent enough to study under him, he would accept the offer, and from then on the Talmid would follow the Rabbi wherever he went and learn with him. Normally, only the best and the brightest Talmidim would be accepted, and only after rigorous "testing" by the Rabbi of their skills and knowledge.

Jesus flipped the model. He comes to us, saying, "be my disciples, I think you are worthy, I choose you to live with me and learn from me and partake of my life." We don't have to withstand the test or prove ourselves worthy. He wants us all as His Talmidim, and the only thing he requires of us is to follow.

So, we as Talmidim of The Great Rabbi are called to far more than just knowing about Jesus. We are called to fellowship with Him. This requires doing relationship things; talking, listening, pouring out our hearts, questioning, spending time together.

I have to ask myself in light of this description; do I see Jesus as a great man of faith who walked this earth long ago, or do I invite him into my world, recognizing him as a teacher who leads me through life with patience and love? Do I understand that He looks at me as one of value and ability, that he LONGS to teach me, that He wants what is best for me and that HE chooses ME daily as His own? Do I really know this deep down in my gut, daily, as I walk throughout my life?

Remember two things today:

We are HIS and He has chosen us to follow Him.

In order to be a disciple, we NEED to spend time with our Rabbi, getting to know him, partaking of His life, listening to His advice, modeling ourselves after Him, following close behind.

He is beckoning you to follow.