by John Eddy

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

(Matthew 4:19)

A Rabbi is a Jewish spiritual leader and teacher. In the first century, boys would become a Rabbi by studying for twenty-four years, memorising the Old Testament by age fifteen, and being ordained by a senior rabbi. If they couldn’t complete their studies, they would ‘drop out’ and learn their father’s trade.

In Jewish culture, Rabbi was the title given to the highest of high achievers. To be a disciple of a Rabbi, you had to be undergoing your own studies and be quite advanced in your knowledge and discipline of the scriptures.

Yet in Matthew 4:19, we see Jesus approach fishermen. He didn’t head to the local synagogue to find his disciples as other Rabbis may have done. No, Jesus headed to the Sea of Galilee to find men who dropped out. Men who learned a trade. It was in this verse that Jesus reversed the traditional model by pursuing his disciples.

Shane Willard puts it this way, “He came to qualify disqualified people.” Just as Jesus came to qualify dropouts by offering them the chance to follow him, so too are we qualified before God through Christ Jesus.

Be blessed knowing that your Rabbi, Jesus, has also chosen you. Your Rabbi doesn’t measure you by the way society measures you. Through Jesus, our Rabbi and teacher, you are qualified before God.


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