Sunday, July 12, 2009

"May You Be Covered in the Dust of Your Rabbi"

Anyone who has seen Rob Bell's "Dust" video has heard of this concept. This has become a very controversial video because in it Bell makes the coment, "Everyone talks about believing in God. But do we realize that God believes in us." Of course the Evangelical world jumped all over this statement (for reasons that seem silly. Why do Christians LOOK for reasons to argue?). But as I was preparing to teach my Life Group lesson this morning I started to find something interesting in the Gospels.

We are teaching through the Book of Matthew. We've just finished going over Jesus' baptism and what appears to be his immediate tempting after 40 days in the wilderness. But Matthew 4:12 indicates that after Jesus hears of John's imprisonment, He leaves for Galilee. Then after he arrives there, we are told of the call of Andrew and Peter, followed by James and John. Great story. But it is only a part of the BIG Story.

John's account of the Gospel tells that after Jesus' baptism, John declared to Andrew and "another disciple" that they should go follow Jesus. We read that they approach Him and ask where He is staying. Jesus answers, "Come and See." (Most scholars believe that the other disciple was John, the brother of James.) Andrew then goes and tells Peter that he has found the Messiah. Phillip and Nathanael are called. Jesus then heads to Galilee.

We see His first recorded miracle of turning water to wine at the wedding in Cana.

Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the Passover and cleanses the Temple for the first time.

Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and hears, "You must be born again."

Jesus' disciples baptize many (more than John the Baptist and his disciples, which causes a bit of controversy.)

John the Baptist declares, "He must increase, and I must decrease."

It is then that we read Matthew 4:12, where Jesus hears of John the Baptist's imprisonment and returns to Galilee.

OK. Great. Interesting. What's the point?

Peter and Andrew, James and John have not yet been called to be His disciples.

They're back working their trades. Rob Bell calls them the "not good enoughs". Jesus has begun His minsitry. Throughout this time you hear no mention by name of any disciples (following the end of John chapter 1), just a generic reference to "disciples."

We all know that Peter, James and John will become Jesus' "inner circle." But look at all that has happened before they come on board.

Stop for a moment and meditate on what this must have been like for them. Immediately following Jesus' baptism, we know that these four (if you include Andrew) desired to follow Jesus - even acknowledging that He is the Messiah. But they aren't called for what is likely months.

What was that time of waiting like?

Are you in the waiting room?