WILL YOU PAY THE PRICE OF DISCIPLESHIP?
"If anyone comes to me
and does not hate his father and mother,
and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters,
yes and his own life, also, he cannot be my disciple".
The words of Jesus are strong as shown in the scripture above. For those who claim Him as Lord and Savior, He demands total commitment to Him, and insists that His followers enter whole-heartedly into the Kingdom of Heaven. The first words Jesus spoke after his wilderness testing, were instructions to "Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand" ( Matt. 4:17).
Understanding the word repent from an Ancient Hebraic understanding gives it layers of life-giving meaning. The word for repentance in Hebrew is Teshuvah. Teshuvah in it's root form is pronounced shub or shoov, and is spelled with the 21st letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Shin and the second letter of the alphabet, Beth. Shin = teeth and to destroy. Beth = a house. Repentance literally means "to destroy the house." For those of you who are not familiar with Hebrew, that definition could sound very destructive. This definition, however, is a word picture illustrating that in order to go fully forward, you must abandon everything from your past to which you may be tempted to retreat. In other words, in order to enjoy ALL the benefits of following the Lord, you can have no plan B.
First century discipleship looked a lot different than what we consider to be discipleship in this country. To be a disciple of Jesus one must first count the cost then be willing to leave everything and everyone behind in pursuit of Him. There is no such thing as being half-way committed to Jesus. By your agreement with Jesus' statement "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, sisters and himself, as well," shows us that without the 100% commitment to follow Him, we don't qualify as being one of his disciples/students. The word "hate" in the Hebraic sense does not carry the same meaning as "hate" in its usage in English. Hebraicly, "hate" means to "love less."
As we know from Scripture, one day a certain scribe came to Jesus and said, Master, I will follow you wherever you go. Jesus replied to him that foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head. Jesus never painted pictures of luxury inns and high quality food to get people to follow Him. He never spoke as to create false expectations. Very much the opposite, He said the road is narrow and hard and few find it.
Then another disciple (student) said to Jesus, "LORD, allow me first to go and bury my father." Jesus plainly tells him to follow HIM and let the dead bury their dead (Mat. 8:19-22). Upon first examination without knowing Hebraic thought, you might think that Jesus was being cruel in discouraging him about attending his own father's funeral. Jesus would never have taught contrary to the Torah's 5th commandment given in Exod. 20:12, "Honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God gives you."
Understanding the Hebraic allows us to know that this sharp sounding statement from Jesus was being directed at a Jewish tradition concerning a "second burial" which was in violation of Scriptures. Without a working understanding of Hebraic idioms, culture, thought processes and ideas, interpreting the Word accurately is impossible. To more fully understand theHebraic idiom:"Follow me; and let the dead bury the dead," the information in red will open your eyes to what this represents.
From Dr. Ron Moseley's book, Yeshua, A Guide To the Real Jesus And The Original Church, pgs. 27 -28
Understanding the Secondary Burial
"This tradition required the body of the deceased to be placed in the ground on the day of his death (Deut. 21:22-23, John 19:31 and Acts 5:6-10). This was the first burial.
The family then observed a seven-day period of mourning called shivah, during which they were not even permitted to leave the house. After the body was placed in the burial chamber, it was left to decompose. The Jerusalem Talmud says "When the flesh had wasted away, the bones were collected and placed in small chests called ossuaries. After the flesh had gone from the bones, and the bones were placed in the ossuaries, the son stopped mourning."
This transfer of the bones to an ossuary was known as the second burial. It was done by the oldest son, who took the bones, either to the holy city of Jerusalem or to a family burial cave, where they were placed near the bones of their ancestors. This practice had become popular during the first century, but had an UNSCRIPTURAL concept behind it of which Jesus apparently did not approve of."
The reason Jesus objected to this practice is because of the cultural belief that once the flesh fell off of the bones, a man's sins were atoned for. We know that only Jesus is the one who can make Atonement for sin. From the observed circumstances in this story, it is believed that this man's father was buried a year earlier, since he was not in mourning at the time he asked Jesus the question.
To walk with Jesus is a full time apprenticeship. He needs our undivided attention in order to successfully teach us about Himself as written in the Torah, in the Prophets and in the Writings. Because Jesus can be found throughout the entire Bible, the Western Church should surely stop calling themselves a New Testament Church. Doing so deprives the congregation of knowing Jesus in His fullness. "Whoever transgresses and abides not in the doctrine /teaching of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine/teaching of Christ, he has BOTH the Father and the Son" (2 John 1:9). One translation says "whoever goes beyond his doctrine." I believe this is why the secondary burial practice was an abomination to God. How many places in our lives and ministries have we created a substitute?
If we choose to be His apprentices, Jesus reveals Himself to us from the BEGINNING. What is BEGINNING? "And beginning at Moses (Torah) and all the Prophets (Nevieem), He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning HIMSELF" (Luke 24:27). "And He said unto them, these are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses (Torah), and in the Prophets (Nevieem) and in the psalms (Ketuvim) concerning Me" (Luke 24:44). Jesus will always reveal the end from the beginning. (Isaiah 46:10). Yeshua is the fulfillment of the Tanak.
Torah - Law - Pentateuch
Nevieem - Prophets
Ketuvim - Writings
If you have walked away from the apprenticeship of Jesus, the Father extends His hand today, opens His heart and His door longing for your return.
Blessings and honor,