Just finished tweaking a great lesson from Simply Youth Ministry for this Sunday, and it’s got me thinking about faith in Jesus in a new light, or at least a light that I haven’t seen it in in awhile. I wanted to put some of my thoughts down before I forget them.
The lesson focuses on the difference between being students and being disciples. The term disciple, as used in Jesus’ time, meant a person who was following a prominent rabbi. Rabbis, especially those who had been deemed rabbis with ‘special authority’, each had their own interpretation of scripture and lifestyle based off of that interpretation. For someone of that time to be a disciple of a rabbi meant that the person didn’t just learn from the rabbi, but rather tried to emulate everything they could about that rabbi’s life.
It’s like when I was younger and played baseball (we’re talking mid-90s here…). We ALL wanted to be Ken Griffey Jr. He was the best player in the game (probably the best in his generation), and he was the man. He was blazing fast on the basepaths, made the craziest catches in center field, and (oh my goodness!) that swing! (On a side note, I defy anyone to find a prettier swing than Junior’s. It can’t be found because it doesn’t exist.) Me and every single one of my teammates tried to emulate that swing. If it worked for Griffey, it had to work for us, right?
When following Jesus, we too often allow ourselves to be simply students. We read the beatitudes, the sermon on the mount, the discourses, etc., and we try to assimilate the information into our knowledge base. And all the time we’re missing out on what it means to be a disciple, a follower, someone who tries to emulate the actions and lifestyle of the master.
When I was young, I tried to play baseball exactly like Ken Griffey Jr. I almost tear up thinking about those times, his career, how special all of that stuff was/is to me. And then I almost tear up thinking about how different my life would be, how much more of a difference I could have made already, if I ever tried to emulate Jesus as hard as I tried to emulate Junior.