Rabbi Jesus and His Band of Merry Men- Part Two
“As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. “Come, be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.”
In his day, Jesus wasn’t the only Jewish teacher in the land. There were many other rabbis with disciples. There are, however, some notable differences in the way that Jesus did things. As leaders, what can we learn from Jesus’ relationship with his disciples?
3. Traditionally, the relationship between the rabbi and his followers was that of a master/student type. There was a clear delineation of power. The relationship that Jesus had with His disciples was much deeper. He called them “friends.” This unique relationship affected how Jesus’ disciples learned. Traditional rabbis taught their followers in a traditional way- lecture, memorization, study, etc. Jesus’ disciples learned by watching Him. They watched Jesus in everyday contact with real people in real situations. EXAMPLE- Jesus raising little girl from the dead and Peter raising Dorcas in Acts. Peter does what he saw Jesus do.
LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE: People learn how to live and be successful by watching us. In the arena of service in the church, people learn more by watching than they do by us telling them.
4. The rabbinical schools eventually evolved into exclusive groups of disciples. The Pharisees, Sadducees and their disciples loved to flaunt their knowledge and used their positions to gain prestige and power over others. Jesus, however, called His followers to be servants, to endure persecution, and to be the salt and light of the world. Mark 9:33-37 Learning how to serve is a prerequisite for true Kingdom leadership and for true success in life. It is unlikely that any other rabbi would have ever considered washing his student’s feet. Jesus turned social norms upside down by kneeling on the floor and washing his follower’s feet.
LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE: The higher up the leadership ladder we go only increases the amount that we are required to serve. Do you want to be a leader? Develop a servant’s heart. Leadership flows out of service.
5. The call of Jesus to His disciples went far beyond what the other rabbis expected of their disciples. Mark 8:34-38 The implication is strong that at some point, the disciples could expect to lose their lives in the service of Jesus. No other rabbi would ever teach this way. The cost of following Jesus was great, but the reward was even greater.
LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLE: Let’s not be afraid to challenge people. It’s easy as leaders to fall into the trap of catering to peoples’ comfort zones. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and people’s needs but don’t hesitate to call them “higher up and further in” as C. S. Lewis would say!
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