Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just Like Jesus

Talmidim...The Hebrew word for disciples was Talmidim.

In Jesus' day, it was common for gifted students to listen to various rabbis and then approach their chosen rabbi and ask, "May I follow you?" In effect, the student was asking, "Do I have what it takes to be like you?" The rabbi would either accept the student as a talmid or would encourage him to pursue a trade.

Jesus broke this pattern when he chose his own talmidim. As he asked his disciples to follow him, they knew without a doubt that their rabbi believed in them. And as they came to see Jesus as the Messiah, they realized that God believed in them too. The disciples understood this when Jesus said, "You didn't choose me, I choose you. Jesus believes YOU have what it takes to be just like Him. Do you get that? Think about this...Jesus invests the time in us because He believes that He can make us like Himself.

Occasionally, a talmid grew disillusioned with his rabbi. Peter reached this point during the night when Jesus was arrested and imprisoned by the Roman guards. No doubt he felt confused and pained to see his rabbi being led to his death. In his frustration, he denied that he had ever known his rabbi.

For any other rabbi, Peter's action would have spelled the end of his position as a talmid. Peter seems to have thought he was finished with being a talmid because the Text tells us he went back to fishing.

But Jesus was a different rabbi. After his resurrection, he reinstated Peter, telling him to "feed my sheep." And by encouraging Peter to take the role of shepherd, a role that Jesus had filled himself, he was telling Peter. "Even though you've stumbled, you can still be like me."

He is not mostly angry and mad; Jesus is mostly glad over us and our weak little "yes!"


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