I recently rewatched the Rob Bell Nooma series video 008 called “Dust.” In the video, Rob describes an important part of discipleship in the cultural context of Jesus and the disciples. In that time period, Jesus was considered a great rabbi, and rabbis were among the most well-respected people in the Jewish community. Rabbis are the “best of the best of the best.” As Rob explains, to be selected to follow a rabbi would indicate that you were “one of the best of the best of the best” young people, with potential gifts to become a rabbi yourself. Once selected to follow a rabbi, the rabbi’s disciples would not only learn what the rabbi taught but would attempt to follow every single aspect of the rabbi’s life so closely that, as the saying goes, they would end their days “covered in the dust of their rabbi.”
In the Rob Bell video, this insight helps to explain the enthusiasm and excitement the ordinary, unschooled disciples would have felt when called to follow Jesus. When Jesus calls, the disciples drop their nets and immediately follow Jesus. Jesus’ selecting the “less than the best” to follow him immediately gives value to the disciples.
I have been trying to think of a modern day equivalent, and the best I can imagine would be if a some superstar saw your potential and picked you to become like them. Every field has its superstars. Imagine if a superstar wanted to teach you to be as incredible as they are. Who would you drop everything to follow if given the chance? Singer Adele? Soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo? Rob Bell? Marko?
In youth ministry, there are students in your ministry that feel like they are “less than the best.” Perhaps they are just waiting for someone to come along who can see their potential, select them, and teach them to be like Jesus.
By the grace of God, Jesus has picked you to follow Him. What does it look like in your life to follow Jesus so closely that your life models His? What do you need to learn about Jesus in order to teach young people how to follow Him?
The photo is a picture of my new baby’s hand in mine. Who is closely watching your life in order to learn about faithful living?