Summary: A look at the historic process of becoming a disciple using material from Ray Vander Laan and some practical applications into our lives today.

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A study of the gospel of Mark

“When the Rabbi says Come”

March 16, 2008

Me: As a student, I had a seminary professor who saw more in me than I saw in myself. He challenged me to throw myself into ministry and to passionately follow God. To this day, I still talk with him and he encourages me to explore areas of myself that I woudl never have discovered on my own. Gary Stanley believes in me.

You: Who has shown faith in you? Who has pushed you to be more than you thought you were capable of being?

Today we are going to look at what happens when ordinary people are invited on an extraordinary journey.


After John the Baptist is arrested, Jesus withdraws into the rural area of Galilee. With the exception of traveling to Jerusalem for the worship feasts, Jesus spends the rest of his ministry life traveling in the rural areas of Israel.

In this area there are three villages that make up what is known as The Triangle: Capernaum, Korazin and Bethsaida. For whatever reason, this area was known as a place where people were passionately following God. They were passionate Jews following YHWH. All of Jesus’ closest disciples come from this area.

The main ingredient to life in these villages is the concept of community.

Today, we are looking at Jesus in Bethsaida. The word literally means “Fishing Village.” In this town there are five boys who loved God, had gone to part of the Jewish education system and were now practicing the family business of fishing. Peter, Andrew, James, John and Philip are all residents of this village.

In these villages, life revolved around the synagogue. That is where you went to listen to the word of God, to hear rabbis debate the word of God and to learn what the word meant to your life.

The most important building block in the community was the scripture.

Out of these communities came disciples who would learn the scripture and then be trained to teach it to others. However not everyone became a disciple. There was a process to go through and most people never completed the training.

The first part of training was for boys and girls ages 6-12 that was called Bet Sefir.

In Bet Sefir you were taught the Torah, the first five books of the bible. It was the foundation for life in the Jewish world. It dealt with the laws of God, the worship and sacrifices to God, and the history of God leading the nation of Israel.

Most people were done with their formal education after Bet Sefir. Girls were getting ready to be married, and young men were being trained in the family business.

If you were the best of the best student, you would go to the rabbi and ask to continue your study with him. If he consented you would continue to Bet Midrash.

In Bet Midrash you studied the rest of the Old Testament.

You would learn to interpret scripture and debate the meaning.

If you were the best of the best at Bet Midrash, you would go and ask your rabbi to become a Talmid.

The word “Talmid” is where we get the English word disciple.

You could be a disciple without being a Talmid.

For instance, at one point scripture tells us that Jesus had 500 disciples, he sent 70 out and so on. But when it refers to the 12 apostles that is the concept of Talmudin.

A disciple is someone who wants to be what the rabbi is.

You had a deep passion to follow the rabbi. You left everything and spent 24 hours a day for years following your rabbi.

So, how did you become a disciple:

• Went to school

• Found a Rabbi

• Asked to follow

“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.” Mark 1:14-20

Some lessons from the text:

• Jesus went and found his disciples.

• The disciples of Jesus had never made it into the schools of other rabbi.

• The disciples of Jesus had a passion to be like him.

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