The Heart of Jewish Discipleship (Part 3)

In the previous two articles of this series, we began exploring discipleship in 1st century Israel; how this important topic may have been understood by Jesus’ Jewish disciples. In Part 1 we learned that the heart and core of Jewish Discipleship is the art of imitation! In Luke 6:40, our Rabbi Jesus said, “Every disciple, after he has been fully trained, will be like his Teacher.” When the disciple was fully trained, he became a carbon copy of his teacher, a mirror image, who would then pass on what he had learned from his rabbi to others, who then passed on what they learned, etc. Discipleship was much more than just learning some elementary principles of the faith. The goal of a 1st century, Jewish disciple was to become fully trained so that he could become just like his teacher. In Part 2 we learned four imperatives of a disciple: Memorize Their Teacher’s Words Learn Their Teacher’s Traditions and Interpretations Imitate Their Teacher’s Actions Raise Up More Disciples No Lukewarm Disciples In Revelation 3:20-22 Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and […]

The Heart of Jewish Discipleship (Part 2)

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) When Jesus said go and make disciples, it was a Jew speaking to other Jews within the context and culture of 1st century Judaism. Those words had a very specific meaning and were clearly understood by His 1st century Jewish listeners. Since then, those words have been translated into Greek, and then into Latin, before being translated more than 1000 years later into English. To more fully understand what Jesus said, we first need to ask how those 1st century Jews who first heard those words would have understood them. Only then are we in a position to ask what might those words mean as we apply them to our modern efforts of discipleship. In Part 1 (https://equip412.com/2019/11/06/the-heart-of-jewish-discipleship-part-1/),  I talked to you about the kind of absolute dedication and loyalty that disciples held for their Master. In our churches, Christian schools and colleges, or in our culture, there is nothing to compare that to. Imagine if, rather than just hanging out in school and having […]

The Heart of Jewish Discipleship (Part 1)*

The heart and core of Jewish Discipleship is the art of imitation!! In Luke 6:40, our Rabbi Jesus said, “Every disciple, after he has been fully trained, will be like his Teacher.” When the disciple was fully trained, he became a carbon copy of his teacher, a mirror image, an exact replica. He then passed on the teaching to disciples of his own, who in turn, when fully trained, became teachers and raised up disciples of their own. Discipleship was much more than just learning some elementary principles in the faith, like we typically do today. The goal of a 1st century, Jewish disciple was to become fully trained so that he could become just like his teacher. A true disciple was expected to be able to repeat his Master’s teachings word for word! He was expected to live in such a way that was a mirror image of his teacher. That was at the heart of Jewish discipleship. How it Worked In the days of Jesus, all young boys (and in some cases girls) were taught by their local rabbi the Torah and the Prophets beginning at age 5; meaning that at age 5, they began to memorize the […]

E20–Jesus’ Resurrection: A Look at the Facts (Part 2)

In this episode, Jesus’ Resurrection Part 2, we’re going to learn 3 more facts in support of Jesus’ resurrection. What caused Paul, a persecutor of the early church, to become largely responsible for the spread of the gospel in Asia Minor, Greece and Rome? What caused Jesus’ half-brother James, to go from skeptic, to becoming the leader of the Jerusalem church? And, what are the facts surrounding the empty tomb? Join me as we search for the answers to these questions and more.

SALVATION AND IMITATING OUR RABBI*

In order to gain a fuller understanding of salvation, I want to, first, examine how it was viewed by the ancient Greek mind compared to the ancient Hebrew mind. Second, I want to consider how our salvation is to be lived out accordingly. GREEK MIND To the ancient Greek mind, the concept of salvation is centered entirely on the state of the soul. Salvation is right thinking by its very definition. Simply to ‘believe’ in a certain set of creeds is to know the right things. The appearance of creeds in the early church is important because they began to form what became known as the “confession of faith,” which became necessary to be received into the Christian Church. The confession of faith was what decided who was a Christian and who was not. A person who agreed with or “confessed” the correct set of beliefs gained the standing of being “saved.” It was about intellectually agreeing with a certain set of doctrines. How many times have we heard teaching in the church that emphasizes mainly right thinking? Non-believers are pleaded with to “believe in Jesus” by raising their hand, walking an aisle, praying a prayer, or signing a card. […]

JESUS’ JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD–Part 2

GREEK THOUGHT VS. HEBREW THOUGHT In Part 1 we began our study of Jesus’ Jewish Neighborhood by looking at the importance of context when studying the scriptures. We learned that we must never forget that the Bible is essentially a Jewish document. Therefore, studying the Jewish context of the Bible opens up previously overlooked windows of meaning. To expand on that, this time I’m going to examine some differences between how the ancient Greeks thought versus how the ancient Hebrews thought. Greek Thought Beginning around the time of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. to the death of Cleopatra VII in 30 B.C., “Greek thinking” gradually became the dominant influence in the region. Hellenism, as it came to be known, mixed the social and cultural traditions of Greek life with traditions of the various nations which Alexander had conquered. The Greeks were known for their philosophy. To the religious Greeks at the time of Jesus, right belief, or right ideas, was what was most important. They were more concerned with right thought, right mind, right purpose, and right doctrine. To them, knowledge was salvation. One merely had to say the right things and believe the right things. Saying and believing […]

JESUS’ JEWISH NEIGHBORHOOD–Part 1

By Bill Venard Author Ken Bailey is a prominent biblical scholar, known for his insights into the gospels based on his long familiarity with Middle Eastern culture and languages. He was once asked the question, “why is it important to study the Jewish roots of Christianity?” He answered: “suppose I spent my life going to a beach. I’ve seen waves splashing against rocks, ships on the water, fishermen casting lines. One day at this beach someone says, ‘Ken, I have two snorkels. Let’s go.’ Suddenly I see coral, seaweed, and fish. These undersea views in no way invalidate the beauty of what’s above. In my work, I’m looking for the coral and the fish.” As Christians are we willing to dive deep to discover the beauty, the depth and the wonder of what lies below the surface of the Word of God? We must never forget that the Bible is essentially a Jewish document. Therefore, studying the Jewish context of the Bible opens up previously overlooked windows of meaning. Also, I am convinced, will also deepen our faith and strengthen our walk with Jesus. It’s All About Context When teaching believers how to study the Bible I always start by […]

E17–Why Did God Become A Man?

The apostle Paul wrote, “AND WITHOUT CONTROVERSY GREAT IS THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS: GOD WAS MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH…” Paul admits that the incarnation of God in the flesh is a great mystery. It is beyond the range of natural human understanding. Our finite minds cannot grasp with meaningful comprehension how this happened. It can only be known by Divine revelation in the Word of God and illumined by His Holy Spirit. But, “why?” is the question. In episode 17 that is the question that will be addressed: Why did God become a man?      

E18–Did Jesus Really Die?

Hi, friends! Did you know that the idea that Jesus never really died on the cross is making a comeback? I’m not kidding. There’s no doubt in the mind of any reasonable person that Jesus was crucified. There’s just too much historical evidence not only in the bible, but also in the writings of historians of the time. Thanks to social media today, this theory has a growing number of followers. In this episode I will be examining the question, “Did Jesus Really Die?” Please help me get the word out. Click “subscribe,” “share,” and “follow.” Thank you.