Becoming like our Rabbi

#servetogrow part 4

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth. For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all his ways, and holding fast to him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.
— Deuteronomy 11:18-23 ESV

The idea of teaching about God in every situation of life, sitting, walking, lying down, and rising, has really become what I’ve strived for as a parent.  This is how real life truths are taught, by observation of lifestyle and by answering questions as we encounter them.  In Jewish culture, rabbis took this model and used it to teach their most gifted students.  The student would become an apprentice, living life with the rabbi.  The rabbi taught their students by making them accessible to their life.

Jesus adopted this rabbi-student model with his apostles.  He told them to “come” and to “follow me.”  But Jesus did something no other teacher could do, He atoned for their sin, and then He promised them that they would do greater things than He had done.  Jesus knew the Holy Spirit was coming to be their helper and dwell inside of His students.

Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.
— John 14:12-14 The Message

This promise of doing greater things than Jesus, it was hard for the disciples to believe.  It is hard for me to believe.  They knew what Jesus had been doing.  They’d seen it.  I’ve read my Bible.  I know what Jesus had done.  But Jesus said it.  He said to trust Him.  He said the Father would give us the same work to do that He had been doing.

In this statement, Jesus answered a question that every person and every local church asks, “What should we be doing with our life?”

We should be doing what Jesus was doing here on Earth.

I listed this out in part 1 of my #servetogrow series, but let me summarize again what Jesus did on Earth.

Jesus traveled from town to town, loving people.  He healed men, women and children.  He raised people from the dead.  He fed huge crowds of people.  He taught in stories called parables.  He preached the sermon on the Mount.  He welcomed the children to Himself.  He calms storms.  He gets alone to pray to His Father.  He dines with tax collectors and sinners.  

Are we really expected to be like Jesus Christ?  Can we really do all of these things, and even greater things than these?

Paul said this, in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

He asked his brothers in the church in Corinth to imitate him, as he did his best to imitate Christ.

That is the call of a disciple maker.  As we carry out ministry on Earth, as much as possible like Christ, we should have young people who are coming along with us in that ministry.  They will learn from us as we make our ministry accessible to them.

These verses confirm my suspicion that discipleship is active.  It doesn’t always involve books, classroom, and study.

As I continue my #servetogrow series in the coming weeks, please comment.  Let me know if you have thoughts or ideas on this subject.

If you want to read more about the rabbi-teacher relationship in Bible, here is a great article.