Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Becoming A Disciple

In our day when someone wants to become a pastor they go to seminary, take classes, earn a degree, work in a church, get ordained. In Jesus’ day, this process was much different.

Around the age of fourteen or fifteen most kids had moved on from studying Torah and talmud, to learning the family business and starting families of their own. But there were a few who showed great promise and continued to study with the village elders and rabbis. These few would apply with a well-known rabbi to become that rabbi's talmidim, his disciple.

Being a disciple was far more than being a student. The goal of the disciple was not just to know what the rabbi knew, but to be just like the rabbi.

So a student of Torah would approach a rabbi and say, "Rabbi, I want to become your disciple." I want to take up your yoke.

The rabbi would then put the hopeful young student through a series of interviews to discover if this young teen had what it took to become like the rabbi and one day spread his yoke. Then he would make his decision.

* If no, he would send the student home to learn the family business.
* If yes, he would say, "Come, follow me." After that it was expected that the student would leave his home and family, his synagogue, his friends, his village and devote his life to learning how to be like his rabbi.

These first five disciples probably did not really know what following Jesus would mean for them. But the Lord was no ordinary rabbi. Jesus was going to develop their faith by showing them Who He is, and what would be in store them as they put their faith in Him.

Jesus wanted His disciples to really know Him, because then they would be able to trust Him. And John will be showing you and me what it will mean for us to follow Jesus.

If this post got you to thinking, please leave a comment by clicking on the word "comments" below, and join the conversation


  1. I believe the decision to become a disciple is what Jesus was getting at when he said that we must become as little children. How open are kids to absorbing, learning? They even play at pretend, in an effort to try on their own vision of adulthood!

    And, it's not just about 'learning' but also subjecting oneself to discipline for training of the will. I find it an interesting thought (though unsubstantiated in the Bible) that Jesus himself may have studied under some long-forgotten rabbi. Can you imagine?!! The Bible does talk about Jesus' development / growth, and after all, we did see Jesus submit himself to baptism, and his whole life was an example of self-sacrifice.

  2. Good insights, I can see what you're saying. The whole learning process is much more than sitting in school. It's the whole experience of discipline.

    And I totally agree with you that Jesus Himself studied under a rabbi! Of course He did, He was born a real baby, He had to learn just as other children did. I love to imagine what it must have been like for the Lord to have heard the words of scripture spoken to HIm the very first time. Did His heart thrill? Did He get goose bumps? Did He recognize those words at some deep, unspoken level?


Thank you for sharing your thoughts