Monday, January 17, 2011

Lesson 1: The Twelve

Read Mark 3:13-19

Video blog (by Mike)

Disciples Yesterday and Today (by Richard)

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 (Set 1)

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?

Study Questions (Set 2)

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

1. What do you think it was about Jesus that these twelve men would follow Him?

2. In your mind, what does it mean to "follow Jesus"?

3. Jesus prayed all night prior to choosing the Twelve (Luke 6:12). And then the Twelve He chose were, quite frankly, full of flaws. Do you think Christ's prayer was answered? Why or why not?

4. How did it happen that the Lord called you to follow Him?

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At January 29, 2011 at 4:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great questions and concept. I felt Jesus calling me from a young age, like 4 or 5.
I love the idea of the Disciple and Rabi. That is a great way to do life. I really wish that someone like that had invested in me when I was young. I completely see the need for it today in our culture.
If more men had these kind of relationships I can only imagine what that would look like.


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