Friday, June 21, 2013

"Disciples Are Apprentices"

"Ancient discipleship was essentially a form of apprenticeship. As apprentices, disciples follow an expert and absorb their master’s mindsets and practices until they become capable on their own. Jesus’ disciples do not graduate from apprenticeship to perfection this side of death, and Jesus never leaves the disciples without his presence. But Jesus works to make his apprentices like their master, not least so that they will be capable of making other apprentices.

"Apprenticeship is increasingly a lost art in the contemporary world, and a number of obstacles suggest that this metaphor requires more attention than it normally receives. When we follow a coach or the CEO of our company, that doesn’t mean we are authorized to do things they do. As a result, it is not readily apparent to modern disciples that when Jesus calls people to follow him, he means they are to imitate his self-sacrifice and dependence on God. It is not clear that our vocations are similar to his vocations or that following Jesus means doing Jesus-like things.

"The notion of a 'personal relationship with Jesus' is sometimes presented as a self-styled relationship capable of being tailored to our tendencies and desires rather than being understood in terms of lordship and apprenticeship (which are, of course, personal and relational). We shall have more to say later about apprenticeship in the Gospels, but for now it is enough to note that apprenticing with Jesus requires putting ourselves second, which means putting ourselves on a cross (Mk 10). Apprenticing with Jesus requires the surrender of prized traits of the Western world: independence, comfort, originality and efficiency. Apprenticeship also sometimes involves trading breathless activity and accomplishment for the seemingly unproductive task of sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet (Lk 10:38-42)."

-- Jason B. Hood, "Imitating God in Christ: Recapturing a Biblical Pattern" (Kindle Locations 898-912). InterVarsity Press. Kindle Edition.

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