In the Dust of the Rabbi – Part 2

This series of messages is presented in part by video from That the World May Know Ministries found HERE.

You may watch the video for this lesson HERE.

Review of last week’s lesson:

Luke 2:52 NKJV (52)  And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

  • There is a great misunderstanding about the people of Galilee.
  • The people of Galilee were actually more educated in the Bible and its application than most Jews.
  • This translated into vibrant religious communities, devoted to strong families, their country, whose synagogues echoed the debate and discussions of keeping the Torah.
  • They resisted the pagan influences of Hellenism more than their Jewish counterparts.
  • When the great revolt against the pagan Romans and their collaborators (66-74 AD) finally occurred, it began among the Galileans.

There were three levels of Jewish education in Jesus time. This was called the Mishnah.

Bet Sefer

  • At 4-5 years of age, Jewish children began their formal education and learned to read and write.
  • The textbook was the Torah and their goal was not just to read but to memorize the text.
  • This would continue until the child’s first Passover at 12 years old.


 Jesus was taught to obey the law:

 Luke 2:46-47 NKJV (46)  Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. (47)  And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 

Bet Midrash

  • Boys from age 13-15 who were deemed worthy to continue their educational pursuits went on to study (and memorize) the entire Tanakh (the Torah, the Prophets, and the writings, and verbal traditions), as well as learning the family trade.
  • Most boys did not make it this far in their educational training and would focus on the family trade.
  • Memorization continued to be very important because most people did not have their own copy of the Scripture so they either had to know it by heart or go to the synagogue to read the village scroll.
  • Memory was enhanced by reciting aloud. Constant repetition was considered to be an essential element of learning.

Bet Talmud

  • A very few of the most outstanding Bet Midrash students sought permission to study with a famous rabbi often leaving home to travel with him for a lengthy period of time.
  • These students were called talmidim which is Hebrew for disciple.
  • This is much more than being a student. A student wants to know what the teacher knows for the grade to complete the class.
  • A talmid wants to be like the teacher; that is to become what the teacher is.

1 Corinthians 11:1 AMP (1)  PATTERN YOURSELVES after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah).

Ephesians 5:1 NKJV (1) Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.

  • The students were passionately devoted to their rabbi and noted everything that He said or did.
  • As a rabbi taught his understanding of the Scriptures, his students listened and watched and imitated so as to become like him.
  • The goal was so they too would become a rabbi and have talmidim of their own.
  • Those who were chosen to be talmidim would literally follow in the dust of their rabbi – desiring to emulate him in all of his mannerisms.
  • They would eat the same food exactly the same as their rabbi.
  • They would go to sleep and awake the same way as their rabbi.
  • They would learn to study the Torah and understand God the exact same way as their rabbi.

It is a remarkable affirmation of the confidence the teacher had in the disciple.

Matthew 4:18-22 NKJV (18)  And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (19)  Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (20)  They immediately left their nets and followed Him. (21)  Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets. He called them, (22)  and immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.

What were the expectations of the Talmidim?

  • They were to live by His teaching:

John 8:31-32 NKJV (31)  Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. (32)  And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

  • They were to imitate His actions:

 John 13:12-15 NKJV (12)  So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? (13)  You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. (14)  If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. (15)  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.


  •  They were to make everything else secondary to their learning from the Rabbi:

Luke 14:26-27 NKJV (26)  “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. (27)  And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.