Thursday, August 09, 2007

Four Aspects of Discipleship

My ministry work is changing to allow me to do more discipleship. I should be more specific about what "more discipleship" means.

In the first century the master-disciple relationship was well established. The goal of discipleship was for the disciples to become like the master. Our goal, as followers of Yeshua, is to become like him.

Currently God is doing many things among American believers in Yeshua to emphasize the foundational importance of discipleship and being set apart for God. Within American Messianic Judaism, God has been highlighting four aspects of discipleship.

The first is the need to pray as Yeshua and his early disciples did. This is a bit different from how traditional Jews or Christians pray. God has taught the Messianic Jewish movement quite a bit about this during the past two years (although there is no sense of having learned enough).

The second is the need to understand the world as Yeshua and his early disciples did. This is why I work on sharing the scriptural understanding of concepts through which Yeshua understood the world. In this aspect, also, there has been a lot of progress, although no sense of satisfaction or completeness in quantity.

The third is the need to have a lifestyle of repentance as Yeshua and his early disciples did. Focusing on God instead of ourselves and our desires is tricky. From what I have seen, the Messianic Jewish movement has not learned as much about this aspect of discipleship as the previous two, although some notable progress has definitely been made.

The fourth is the need to read and interpret scripture as Yeshua and his early disciples did. Once I have put it online (hopefully next week), the congregation's Matthew study notes for chapter 12 (in which some Pharisees confront Yeshua in a grain field and both parties cite and expound of scripture) are a good example of how Yeshua uses the written Word of God in a manner quite different from how Jews and Christians have been taught. From what I have seen this is the this aspect of discipleship in which the least progress has been made: in general, Messianic Jews still approach scripture through Rabbinic or Christian perceptions and methods of analysis quite different from Yeshua's own.

P'nei Adonai, along with many other Messianic Jewish groups, is prayerfully learning more about these four aspects of discipleship. Please pray that our eyes and ears are open to learn from God!

I expect that six months or a year from now, were I to get a phone call from a local pastor asking me if my congregation wanted to exchange with theirs what God has been teaching us about discipleship and holiness, that I would have a more coherent picture to share. Currently that phone call would be a bit much for P'nei Adonai; we are not yet ready. But we will be.