When you see it, if you don’t know what it is, you’ll miss it. Without reference or context, the visible is blurry and the tangible is scary. The only way to know is with the benefit of information. At the same time, information without application is relatively worthless. Sitting around thinking about stuff without the vision or courage to apply it wastes what otherwise could be good learning.
We saw in my last post and the one before that the recognition of Jesus began with the recognition of His identity as Rabbi, which means teacher. The teacher, however, in the context it was identified by Nathanael in John 1, is different from what we tend to consider a teacher. “Teacher” meant so much more than an accomplished learner who took what he learned and wrote about it, lectured on it and gave quizzes to test the transfer of information.
To be a teacher, two basic requirements were learning and giving. Fundamentally, the Rabbi (or disciple maker), would:
- Learn and know – the study of the Scriptures gives the disciple maker the requisite information for the coming task of giving it away. Without the framework of knowledge available through the Scripture, the disciple maker and subsequent disciples could not recognize the application as they sought to become doers of what the Scripture taught. Scripture knowledge is foundational to disciple making.
- Give it away – this is a major difference between how we see it and how they meant it. The giving away was by invitation to live life with the one that has something to give. The transfer between disciple maker and disciple was experiential. Of course, the disciple would have to study Scripture to eventually be a disciple maker (see #1, above), but the giving away of the disciple maker was real-time, shoulder to shoulder application of what was learned in the words of the text.
Want to be a disciple? Learn the Scripture while you are living life with disciple makers. Those that have gone ahead of you will help you understand the application and depth of the words that you are taking into your brain. The realization of truth is deeper than ideas; it includes the recognition of what the ideas look like in the human condition. It’s eyes to see the Kingdom.
I’ve learned as much about the Kingdom in a courthouse or jail as I have in a church. That doesn’t mean I don’t need to go to church; it’s there that I learn through teaching and walking in relationships. That knowledge and those relationships helped me see the Kingdom. The Truth came alive in the middle of life, not in a classroom. The classroom, and the teachers inside and outside of the classroom, prepared me for the opportunities that come in living in the Kingdom.