Today’s Scripture: Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; John 6:70
Jesus selected some raggedy guys to follow Him, but He took those relationships quite seriously. He went out of His way to enlist His followers, and He spent more than three years teaching and grooming them for full-time ministry. It was an unusual relationship between the Rabbi and His students.
The fact that Jesus called these men to follow Him is significant—and quite out of the ordinary for Jewish custom. First, beginning at the age of four, young Jewish boys were encouraged to memorize the books of the Torah—specifically, Genesis through Deuteronomy. By the age of twelve, the sons were to become involved in their family business; however, the more academically gifted ones would continue to memorize other portions of the Old Testament, including writings of the prophets. Then they could select a rabbi to follow.
Before agreeing to allow the young man to become his disciple, the rabbi would “test” him to be sure he met the expectations for further learning. If the boy passed, he became a follower of the rabbi. But, if he failed, he was sent home to work in the family business.
When Jesus enlisted the disciples, most of them were already involved in their family’s business, which meant they had failed the rabbinical test. They didn’t make the cut. Jesus saw otherwise and extended an invitation for them to follow Him.
The relationship between rabbi and student was different from how we consider a student/teacher relationship. Today, students want to learn from the teacher and know what he knows. Followers of rabbis wanted to become what the rabbi was. With that in mind, consider the deeper meaning when Jesus called these men to follow Him. He was really saying, “Come be like Me and I’ll teach you everything I know.”
He was—and still is—the Perfect Model.
- How does it make you feel to know the Lord hasn’t chosen you based on your merit, but on the premise that He wants you to become like Him?