Jesus begins his Ministry 2

July 1, 2019

by Barry Fike


Jesus begins his Ministry part 2

Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:2-11, 27-28; John 1:40-42

    Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, from Nazareth appears on the historic scene around 27 CE preaching and teaching throughout the land of Israel. In a very Rabbinic way he claims to be the Messiah of God that has come to seek and to save those that are lost and to establish his kingdom.  The whole idea and concept of kingdom is a central theme in Judaism.  It’s what they have been talking about since the time of Moses: “And the Lord will reign forever and ever.”  There can be no king without a kingdom and vice versa.  If you’re going to reign as a king you’ve got to have something to reign over.  They’ve always had this idea of king.  For Jesus, this concept of kingdom becomes those who follow him!  In other words, for Jesus kingdom becomes those who follow him!  In other words, for Jesus kingdom are those who are part of his movement and are demonstrating the rule of God in their lives in action.   All those who followed him were Jews. 

    Let’s look at those first disciples discussed in the four gospels.  Obviously the calling of these followers is important since they are recorded in each gospel but not unheard of.  In the first century, each Rabbi would gather together disciples that would travel with him, listen to his teachings, observe his ideas and actions, and learn from the theological, practical and spiritual implications of living a life in God’s sight the way that this Rabbinical authority understood it.  Jesus was a Rabbi (John 1:31; 3:26; 4:31; 6:25; 9:2; 11:8; Mk. 9:5; 11:21; Matt. 23:7, 8; etc.) and as such would have followed Rabbinical protocol of this day and time.  The difference is that Jesus does not go to the Rabbinical schools to find his disciples, nor does he look for scholars of the Biblical text.  He chooses fishermen and tax collectors.  Common, even hated, men to become those who would travel with him, witnesses his works, his words, his righteous indignation, his frustration, and his beauty as one who follows God. 

    The word for “disciple” in Hebrew is talmid.  It really means “learner,” one who is open to change and is actively seeking to learn how to live life to its fullest potential in the kingdom of heaven.  In Rabbinic literature we often see the phrase talmid chakham, referring to a “student or learner of the sage.”  The sage, or rabbi, was known as one who could answer a question in any area because he had complete knowledge of the Bible, as well as the Oral Torah.  The disciple was known as one who could answer any question relating to his specific area of question of religious law related to his studies is able to answer it”.  So while the age had achieved a mastery understanding of all aspects of Jewish teachings, the disciple could interact with questions connected to his research. 

    The disciple is willing to endure hardship for his learning experience.  They are expected to serve his master teacher in caring for personal needs.  By serving the master the disciple learns how to conduct his affairs in everyday life situations.  Therefore, the master teacher was a mentor whose purpose was to raise up disciples who would not only memorize his teachings but also live out the teachings in practical ways.  (Brad Young, Meet the Rabbis.  Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Mass. 2007, pp. 30, 31.