You’re hired!

31 01 2012

Being an apprentice has been popularised by the aggressive finger-pointing Alan Sugar. Those who fail to do their research about him and his business empire fail in their quest to become his apprentice.

Contrast that with being apprenticed to Jesus. He walks along the seashore and calls to some fishermen; he walks past a tax collector and says “you’re hired”. There is no interview, no CV, just a personal invitation. I’m not sure what surprises me more – that Jesus wants these people to follow him or that they respond to the invitation.

Being an apprentice, a disciple, means following closely. There’s listening, watching, learning the craft – doing as the master craftsman does.  Interestingly, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day don’t offer this kind of training, as Mark tells us later on (Mark 12:38-40). [ Matthew explicitly says not to do as they do because their words and actions are inconsistent (Matthew 23:3).]

And here is the extraordinary thing about apprenticeship to Jesus – apprentices make apprentices, who make apprentices.  Fast forward to the end of the story and see what I mean –

‘Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”’

Now there’s a challenge!

I wonder if the early disciples had any idea what they we’re letting themselves in for. Jesus tells them that it is now their responsibility to apprentice others, to pass on all they have learnt and to cheer them on.  And if we are in the line of apprentices, we have the responsibility not to drop the baton.

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