Monday, January 10, 2011

Disciples Yesterday and Today

In Mike's introductory video for this week, we not only learn about the twelve disciples Jesus called, but we also discover the major part of Christ's method for determining who should and should not be a disciple, namely, a full night of prayer. Jesus' commitment to prayer is easily missed, because we can be focused on the goal to the neglect of the journey.

"Disciple" is a familiar word in Christian culture but can be misunderstood out of its 1st century context. First let's establish that the word is not interchangeable with "apostle". An apostle is one who is "sent out" while a disciple tends to stay put. A disciple is understood in this time period in the context of a relationship to a rabbi or teacher, it's about a "total immersion" experience for both teacher and student.

I took 3 years of French in high school while all my friends took Spanish. Did I do so because I'm more clever than them? No, I took French because the class was almost entirely female and I was a teenage boy, it seemed like simple math to me. Over the years my French eroded for lack of practice but I sometimes debate doing a total immersion weekend where I would be thrust into a classroom with a teacher and others where nothing but French would be spoken all weekend. If I couldn't ask to go to the restroom or for a meal in French, well ...

The Rabbi / Disciple Learning Model
  • The relationship between a rabbi and his disciples in this historical context was one of total immersion -- it was intense and short. Disciples and rabbis traveled, ate and slept together as a pack.

  • A disciple was picked by a rabbi, not vice versa.

  • A disciple would submit their will entirely to the authority of their rabbi.

  • The focus of this group was the Word of God, in this context, the Old Testament. They would sometimes debate minor issues and compare interpretations of various scholars for weeks at a time, not focused on the resolution of the debate but rather on the methodology of considering the issue. To achieve this result, a rabbi would answer a question with a question or use illustrative stories (parables) to encourage thought process and not just conclusion. You can see this pedagogy illustrated in Mark 3:20-30 when Jesus is accused of being of "Beezlebub" after casting demons out of a man.
Mike and I seek to emulate this learning model along with you. We will spend weeks presenting ideas on the topic of The Men Jesus Called in an intense but short burst of interaction once per week featuring introductory videos by Mike and blog posts by me. We seek to follow Jesus' model in the context of modern technology, joining hands with people from all over the world in a way that is entirely new for the purpose of reaping a result that is ancient, that is, a rabbinic, Christ-like way of interacting and changing lives.

Study Questions

Feel free to answer any or all questions in the comment section below for interaction with fellow participants~Thx

1. Find one example of Jesus and any of his disciples in the role of rabbi and disciple. What tips you that they are in these roles in your example?

2. What do you think would be a contemporary model for the intense relationship of a rabbi and disciple?

3. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when I say “disciple”?

4. Do you think contemporary Christian culture has lost this kind of relationship?

5. In what ways would you characterize your life as completely submitted to Jesus’ (your rabbi) authority?

6. What characteristics of the rabbi/disciple relationship of Jesus and His disciples do you NOT see today?

7. What changes are you willing to make to achieve this level of intimacy in your spiritual walk?

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1 Comments:

At January 15, 2011 at 7:03 PM , Blogger Marie said...

1. Find one example of Jesus and any of his disciples in the role of rabbi and disciple. What tips you that they are in these roles in your example? - Choose any of the parables - he is teaching all to look past the surface. Look deeper still. Learn.

2. What do you think would be a contemporary model for the intense relationship of a rabbi and disciple? - hmmm... someone taking a young preacher boy under his wing, helping to prepare for the good, the bad and the ugly? Even some of the older, precious "saints" helping the younger ones along the way.

3. What is the first thing that pops into your mind when I say “disciple”? - verb - teach - - as well as learning for the student.

4. Do you think contemporary Christian culture has lost this kind of relationship? I do. We do not spend enough time teaching, mentoring and such. We are in a have it my way, right now day and age that we don't slow down enough to develop these relationships.

5. In what ways would you characterize your life as completely submitted to Jesus’ (your rabbi) authority? - being willing - submitting to whatever road HE leads me on.

6. What characteristics of the rabbi/disciple relationship of Jesus and His disciples do you NOT see today? - they followed and trusted completely. we have a hard time doing that. we don't "leave" things/family behind as easily. Even when we are waiting on the Lord, we tend to wonder, should I be doing something to help this along, should I simply wait. What to do? Or at least, I struggle with that. We hear the teachings, see the miracles and like even the disciples, we still fear and doubt.

7. What changes are you willing to make to achieve this level of intimacy in your spiritual walk? - Just to keep growing, learning and doing all that i can do. stay in the Word of God more, and listen more....not just for the thundering answers, but the still quiet voice as well.

@spreadingJOY

 

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