Friday, March 23, 2018

Discipleship is Jewish!

January 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Focus On Israel, Monthly Articles

January 2013

It’s a new year with many new things going on in Heart of God Israel!  As a man who LOVES to study and teach, I am honored to have the opportunity to share this first Monthly Messianic Messages teaching newsletter with you!  But, rather than taking a lot of your valuable time with introductions and such, let’s get right into it.  Did you know that … 




“And Jesus came up and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”  (Mt. 28:18-20)



This is one of the most well-known passages in our Gospels. It’s the passage that every missionary organization speaks about and uses to inspire people to action. In fact, it is these words that our Master left us with before His ascension to the Heavenlies! It reminds us of Jacob’s last words to his sons before He left to sleep with his fathers. He wanted to leave them with very important, weighty words that they would take with them throughout their generations. And here in Matthew, Jesus is doing the same. This is His last chance to speak into the lives of His disciples in such a tangible way. What would he say to us? Would He speak to us of the value and character of love? Would He give us final eschatological instructions before the rough times come? No. Rather He spoke to us of a very Jewish concept-the institution of discipleship.


Throughout the last 2000 years, we in the Christian Church have extended the message of the Gospel into much of the known world. We’ve traveled into the farthest reaches of the globe to share a message about Jesus of Nazareth to the various tribes and clans that we know of. We’ve gone in groups of two or three. Some of our forefathers even carried the message alone. We’ve held services in stadiums with tens of thousands of eager ears listening to the words of a preacher. By the millions people, have heard the message, believed the message and given their hearts to this Rabbi from Israel. Often times, in the wake of these events, you’ll hear the cry of lament that we don’t have the resources to properly disciple these many new converts. These converts have had an internal change, yet they are left to themselves and more often than not, the world’s pressures pull them right back into the same lifestyle that they were formally living.


We feel the need for discipleship. After all, Jesus didn’t tell us to go and make converts; He told us to make disciples! But unfortunately, to many of us, making disciples means leading converts through a 12-week course on the elementary principles of our faith. We look at Jesus’ teachings on love and forgiveness. We talk about the necessity of reading our Bibles and spending personal time in prayer every day. We touch on subjects like the life of the Spirit vs. legalism, the fruit of the Spirit vs. the works of the flesh, love of God vs. love of the world, etc. And these are all important and necessary subjects to talk about with new believers, but is it quite fulfilling Jesus’ intent to make disciples? I don’t think so.


You see, discipleship is an institution specific to the Jewish culture. It was designed by Jews and passed down by Jews. Outside of a Jewish context, it loses most of its sense. But when we look at Jewish discipleship as it was understood within the context of Jesus’ first century setting, we’ll begin to understand just what Jesus was demanding that we do among the nations. So let’s do that-let’s look at discipleship from its original Jewish perspective.


History of Discipleship


From the days of Moses, Israel has held a tendency to stray from God’s ways and turn to the imaginations of their own hearts. Over and over again, we read in the Scripture about Israel committing idolatry and being oppressed by and enemy for chastisement. The Prophets were sent to call the people to repentance. And there were times when Israel responded in heart-felt obedience, but too often that return was short lived. Eventually this stubbornness on Israel’s behalf gave way to exile among the nations. The northern tribes, the House of Israel, were exiled under the hand of the Assyrians; the southern 2 tribes, the House of Judah, was taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon….. (continued on the website)


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There is so much more to tell you, but this newsletter is already getting long and there is a LOT more.  I hope you don’t mind if I ask you to click on the link above to read this teaching in its entirety on our website. That way, it will be there for you to return to in the future to refresh your mind and engage in further study.  Plus, it will be easier for you to respond with questions as I would love to hear from you with comments or questions.
You are encouraged to share this newsletter with your family and friends.  Use the “Join Our Mailing List” button below to receive future teaching newsletters as soon as they are available.
Thank you so much, Chaverim, for your prayers, encouragement and support!
John Daugherty, Director
Heart of God Israel
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