An encouraging word from Mark 3


Biblical Israel Ministries & Tours (BIMT) is all about teaching the Bible in the context of the land of Israel and other biblical countries (Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, and Italy). We teach the historical geography of the Bible as well as archaeology, customs and culture of the land. We aim to make connections between  the Bible and the land in all that we do.

This is another session in the new series of teaching videos called “Devotions from Israel.” This brief five-minute devotional comes from Mark 3The setting for this narrative is most likely somewhere near the western shoreline of the Sea of Galilee near Mt. Arbel.


About the Devotional

Jesus was a very popular itinerate teaching rabbi. Prior to Jesus’ day, Hillel and Shammai were the leading rabbis. One was more conservative/rigid in his understanding of the Torah than the other. Yet both were very influential. Both had followers (talmidim in Hebrew). We know the term to mean “disciples.”
Jesus hand-picked His talmidim as well. What was different than Hillel and Shammai was this: Jesus didn’t pick the “cream of the crop” or “rising star” rabbinic student. He chose ordinary men who had regular jobs. He chose those who didn’t show much potential in the cultural field. He even chose Matthew (Levi), a tax collector of all things! Yet Jesus saw potential in all of them as kingdom citizens!
Mark 3 records the “official” calling of the initial 12 talmidim. While it doesn’t really matter where this calling took place, I like to think it was somewhere along the western coastline of the Sea of Galilee, perhaps near the slopes of the Arbel cliffs (or Mt. Arbel today). This is a high cliff that hovers about 800+ feet above the Plain of Genessaret. Even climbing the lower slopes of Arbel would have provided Jesus some privacy for this transformative calling.

“Jesus called His initial 12 disciples from various walks of life. They were not proven religious students in that culture. Rather, they were called to be citizens and ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven.”

To be a talmid (singular) of a rabbi, this implied leaving your profession and following every where your rabbi went. This meant “walking in the dust” of your rabbi, hanging on and hungering for every teaching and thirsting to understand every word! Like dust, you wanted to be symbolically covered by everything he said. It was a total commitment.
For us today, following Jesus isn’t just about what we need to give up/ It is also about the joys of learning how to live out the kingdom of God. While sacrifice to self is necessary to follow Jesus whole-heartedly, the joy of being chosen by Him and living with an eternal purpose outweigh the costs.
Take encouragement today that God delights in choosing you to be one of His talmidim!
I hope you enjoy this video below. These five minute devotionals are produced on a regular basis. We are sharing two devotionals per week this summer. As you are encouraged by the video, please consider sharing this post with others for their encouragement as well.

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