As promised I have the first session of “Faith Lessons in the Dust of the Rabbi.” It begins by taking you to the Decapolis city of Scythopolis. Scythopolis was a huge city next to where Jesus grew up. He would have known of this city and it was very advanced for Biblical times. It had running water, a theatre, an Arena, a university and a Temple. But Jesus did not choose any of His disciples from this big city.
Where did He go?
He went to the triangle along the Sea of Galilee. The first town was Bethsaida which means “fishing village.” There were no theatres, no university, and no running water just a simple rural village of about 600 people. From this village came Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Phillip. The next two stops were Korazin and then Capernaum. He did not go into depth with who came from these cities, but he moves on to explain what a disciple was in Biblical times and today.
What is a disciple?
A disciple lived in community, but not everyone in a community was a disciple. First, one should know that the villages mentioned revolved around the synagogue. This was the school and teaching in the community. Each synagogue had a Moses Seat. This is where the person reading the Torah would sit to read the scripture because it was the words given to them by Moses. Jesus even sat and read from the scripture in Moses seats from village to village. The torah would then be kept in the Holy Ark and when it was taken out to be read people would dance for joy, touch it, and even touch it to their lips. The people would come to the synagogue to learn from the Torah, but not everyone that came to the synagogue and knew the scripture was a disciple.
The school was connected to the synagogue. This is where disciples began. By the age of 12 or 13 most Jewish boys and girls would know the Torah and have it memorized. At this point many were finished. They were done learning the Torah and would begin the family trade. But some would have the ability and passion to move on to be taught by the Rabbi in what was called Beth Midrash. It focused on the deeper meanings of the Torah (Tenah). From this group a select few would look for a Rabbi and seek to become a Talmeed-disciple. Talmeed directly means or refers to someone who wants to be what the Rabbi is. Both a deep commitment and passion to follow them around everywhere they went. They were consumed every minute of every day with God and His word.
Are you a Talmeed? Do you have the passion and the commitment?
From there you would find a rabbi and say may I follow you? If he saw the fire he might say “come follow me.” But most would get turned down and decide that they did not have what it took and go work the family trade. Very few would become rabbis and make their own disciples.
But how did Jesus pick his disciples?
Jesus went out and found ordinary people doing something ordinary: fisherman, carpenters, and tax collectors. They did not get into anyone’s rabbi school, they did not have the training, and they thought they were not good enough. But Jesus picked them and told them they have what it takes! He took ordinary people like me and you. Remember Jesus said, “You did not pick me I chose you.” It took time but the disciples became like Jesus by spending everyday and every moment with Him.
Do we have the fire?
Do we understand how much he wants to be with us?
How much time do we spend with Him?
How badly do we want to be like Jesus?
A student is not above his teacher, it is enough for a student to become like his teacher.
Now it is our turn!!! Be a Talmeed!!