A disciple is more than a “learner” or a “follower.” The word in English that may best capture the meaning of the word is “apprentice.” An apprentice spends time with a mentor, watches what the mentor does, how the mentor does it, attempts to mimic the mentor, and over time, possesses the same skills and expertise as the mentor. That is what the disciples do. A disciple, by definition, is someone who learns how to be like Jesus Christ.
There are two rationalizations that I find particularly bothersome. The first is: “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime.” The second rationale I find particularly troubling.: It goes along the lines of “Don’t give money to a beggar because they’ll only spend it on drugs (or booze).”
The problem with this is it sounds like wisdom, and it convinces us that we are actually helping the person by not giving to them.
The scene is that Peter just declared that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus tells him not to tell anyone that. Jesus then immediately begins to teach that he is going to die. Peter gets upset and chastises Jesus for saying that he would die. Jesus then rebukes Peter and says that he is behaving like an enemy and is out of line. And to put the exclamation point on the sentence, he then says the words above.
Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus, son of Joseph, from Nazareth.”
But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from a shithole country like Nazareth?”
A Christian died in the streets of Boston,
He had no home to rest his weary head.
Being more like Christ than all the lost ones
Who securely dwell in stately homes,
He lived on the streets through which he roamed,
And by god’s hand, like a sparrow, was fed.
What Jesus esssentially tells us is that what we are worrying about becomes our master, and Jesus tells us that we cannot have two masters because we will come to love one and hate the other. He tells us we cannot serve both God and money, but the money he is talking about is not simply money as it is, but money as we make it: the key to our security and our survival. Money becomes the answer to our worries — or so we think — so we seek wealth to ensure we have food and clothing and housing and medical care and all the other things we need to survive.
This woman, who did not have much status if any in the society of the time, who was also hindered by the fact that she was a foreigner, confronted the King of the Jews and reminded him that Canaanite Lives Matter!” And Jesus, confronted by this challenge, agrees.