Monthly Archives: July 2022



The next question we have to answer is, “Who is this Rabbi we are called to follow?”

It is important that we answer this question accurately because we do not want to give our absolute allegiance to someone who is a fake.

Jesus asked His disciples this question in a very strange place. He took them to Caesarea Philippi, a city and a region in the north of Israel, near the foot of Mount Hermon. Caesarea Philippi was a city named after the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, and Herod Philip. Caesarea had a temple dedicated to the worship of Caesar. In the vicinity was a huge rock face at the base of which there were niches carved into the rock where the statues of Greek gods were placed, and a temple to the goat-god, Pan.

There was also a cave, called “the Gate of Hell” at the bottom of the rock face from which water flowed and joined the snowmelt from Mount Hermon to form the source of the Jordan River. The region was called Banias in honour of the god, Pan. His worshippers believed that the gods retreated into the underworld in winter and returned, in the spring, through the grotto from which the water flowed. They worshipped Pan by holding sexual orgies with goats, to lure the gods from the underworld in the spring.

Imagine Jesus taking His disciples to a place like that! It was there that He asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” What did Peter understand by his response? He believed that Jesus was God’s Messiah, the one who was promised from the moment Adam and Eve fell into sin, whom God would send to deal with the enemies of God’s people and restore to them everything that their enemies had stolen. For Peter and the other disciples this meant that Jesus was the one who would drive out the Romans and re-establish the glory of David’s kingdom under His rule because He was the Son of David. They saw Him as a political deliverer

Jesus immediately corrected their expectation by telling them about His coming death at the hands of the religious leaders, but they refused to listen and understand. For them, it was about getting rid of Rome, not about getting rid of sin and restoring them to fellowship with God as their Father. They missed the prophetic picture of Messiah as the Suffering Servant.

It took the cross and resurrection of Jesus to make them realise that Jesus came to deliver them from a greater enemy than the Romans. He rescued them from their rebellion against God and gave them back their right to be God’s children and members of His family.

They had to learn that Jesus was not there to satisfy their demands and expectations. He was there to put them back into a right relationship with God so that they could once again come under God’s rule and live God’s way.

The good news of Jesus is not about going to heaven when we die. It’s about being obedient to Jesus because He is the Son of God and Lord. We are to obey Him so that we will do God’s will on earth.

It was important for them to understand that the message of God’s love and mercy revealed through His coming and through His death and resurrection was more powerful than the gods whom pagan people worshipped. In places like the environment of Caesarea Philippi where so much wickedness was being practised in the name of religion, Jesus would build His church and not even the demonic world would be able to stand against it.

When we follow Jesus as His disciples, we are following the Son of the living God to whom all authority in heaven and earth has been given, who was exalted by the Father to the highest place above all principalities and powers, and who has the name that is above every other name, the name “Lord”. We are to bow to Him and obey Him because of who He is, not because of what He can do for us.  

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE – continued

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE – continued

So far we have learned that a disciple is primarily a follower of Jesus. He sticks close to Him, learns from Him, imitates Him and becomes like Him.

Today we are going to talk about wearing the Rabbi’s yoke. Being a disciple of a rabbi (or teacher) meant being yoked with him. In a previous blog I explained what it meant to “wear the rabbi’s yoke.” His yoke was his understanding and interpretation of the Torah. The rest of the Bible, including the New Testament, is a commentary on the Torah and the way Jesus lived it out in His everyday life.

The other rabbis in Jesus’ day interpreted the Torah from a legalistic perspective. That’s the reason the Pharisees were always in conflict with Jesus. He applied the Torah from the point of view of God’s love and mercy which they did not like because it made God too “nice”. Jesus even went as far as telling His disciples that it was His yoke that would change the lives of wicked and depraved people, like those they saw at Caesarea Philippi where people were worshipping a god who was half man, half goat, by having sex with goats!

By being yoked to Jesus who was the older and more experienced “ox”, they would learn from Him to be gentle and humble in heart, not like the Pharisees who were followers of other rabbis and were proud and unteachable. Jesus’ yoke would bring them rest from the demands and results of religion, guilt, fear, shame, anxiety, burdens and hard work.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11;28-30.

Wearing Jesus yoke also brings responsibilities:

  1. The responsibility of relying on and learning from Him alone. Jesus said, “Apart me you can do nothing.” John 15:6. It is the disciple’s task to remain in Him, to stay connected to Him by spending time with Him and by obeying His instructions.
  • The responsibility of interpreting His yoke according to His disposition and His way. That means that a disciple cannot interpret Jesus’ teaching according to his own ideas. He must always stay true to who Jesus is and what He teaches.
  • The responsibility of “binding” His yoke on others and “loosing” them from other yokes. When a disciple of Jesus binds His yoke on others without adding to it, subtracting from it or changing it in any way, they are “loosed” from other yokes which bring them into bondage, (mostly to burdensome rules and regulations which are the heart of religion) and they become truly free.

Jesus gave His disciples only one mandate – to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19, 20). He did not tell them to build the church – He said He would do that (Matthew 16:18). They were to make disciples by teaching people to obey everything He taught them.

“Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31,32.

Free from what? Free from every yoke of religion, legalism, ritual, self-help or any other obligation or requirement to make ourselves acceptable to God apart from what Jesus did for us. Jesus did it all for us and He calls us into His rest.

So, to summarise:

A disciple is a follower of Jesus.

A disciple wears Jesus’ yoke and is set free from all other yokes, including the yokes that church or denomination binds on him or her that are not in line with Jesus’ yoke.

A disciple is one who correctly understands, interprets, and binds Jesus’ yoke on others, making disciples by teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded.

To be continued…



The word “Christian” covers a whole lot of ideas, both in the church and in the world today. Among some groups of people, a Christian someone who is not Jew or a Muslim or a follower of any other religion. To others, a Christian is a person who goes to church on Sunday, pays his tithe, perhaps even reads the Bible and, less likely, even prays sometimes.

The word “Christian” was actually a nickname given to people in the first century who followed Jesus because they belonged to Him. Whether it was the enemies of the church or the believers themselves who coined the name, we don’t know. Perhaps unbelievers gave them the name to mock them.

“The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26b.

 Note that they were initially called “disciples” which is what they were because they were followers of Jesus. It’s important to understand what a disciple is because, just like the word “Christian” is misunderstood, so we in the 21st century don’t understand what a disciple is.

So then, what is a disciple?

In Jesus’ day there were men who dedicated themselves to study the Torah – the first five books of the Bible – after they had completed their basic education at the local synagogue – called the Beth Safar. They would become followers, by invitation, of an “ordained” rabbi, one whose authority to be a rabbi was recognised and acknowledged. They lived with him, learned the way he interpreted the Torah and lived like he lived until they became imitators of their rabbi.

There were certain things a disciple was not permitted to do. He was not permitted to add to or take away from what his rabbi taught. If he did, he was automatically disqualified from being a disciple. He was also not permitted to deviate from his rabbi’s behaviour. He had to imitate his rabbi in every way until he became like him.

Jesus was a rabbi whose authority was recognised although people could not understand from where His authority came. Jesus made it clear that the authority for what he taught came from God.

“The people were amazed at His teaching, because He taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.” Mark 1:22.

“For I did not speak on my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it.” John 12:48.

He also insisted that those who followed Him should not allow anyone or anything to come between Him and them. They were to die to themselves and their own will and allow Him to lead them, otherwise they could not be His disciple.

“Large crowds were travelling with Jesus and, turning to them He said: ‘If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.’” Luke 14:25-27.

“That’s harsh,” you might say. But that what a disciple is – someone who gives Jesus total loyalty above everyone and everything else. Jesus does not take away our loved ones. He redefines our relationship with them.

First, then, a disciple is a follower and imitator of Jesus.

I believe that there are many people who think that they are disciples of Jesus, but they are mistaken. Discipleship is a tough road to walk. It demands everything.

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say.’” Luke 6:46.

To be continued…


Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



It saddens me to see how far the church has fallen away from Jesus’ call to His “disciples”. His entire mandate was wrapped up in four words – “Follow me” – that’s what they were, followers of Jesus – and “Make disciples” – that’s what they were to do, make more followers. So where do all the other things in the church come from; things like bowing to an altar, carrying a Bible on a cushion, wearing fancy clothes, chanting and genuflecting, elevating people to superior positions with fancy titles, and so on, just to name a few.

Jesus, in fact, had to battle His disciples because they were constantly bickering about who would be the greatest among them. “Servants,” He insisted, “are the greatest. Really great people are those who can stoop to the lowest level and lift people up, not those with titles who swagger around giving orders.”

Jesus used a term which was understandable to the people of his day but foreign to us, He said, “Take my yoke and learn from me.” We will better understand what He meant if we go right back to the ancient Hebrew script, called Paleo Hebrew, which preceded the modern Hebrew script

The Israelites wrote in pictures which eventually formed the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew name for God is El, sometimes written in the plural as Elohim. The pictures forming the word el were an ox head, denoting strength, for the letter aleph, and a shepherd’s staff, denoting authority, for the letter lamed. Their understanding of God was one who had strength and authority – the Mighty One.

A yoke – ol in Hebrew, was called “the staff of the shoulder”. A young ox was yoked with an experienced ox, by a “staff” in order to teach the younger ox to submit to the yoke. The imagery is the same as the concept of God, the ox and the staff.

A disciple, then is one who yoked with Jesus, the experienced “ox”, who teaches the inexperienced “ox” by association. A rabbi’s yoke was his way of interpreting the Torah, the five books of Moses on which the rest of the Bible is based, and the way he lived it out in everyday life. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Why? Because He was a son. He did not have to work hard to impress His Father. He invited people to return to the Father and He made the way possible by dealing with our sin.

To be in Jesus’ yoke is to learn to think and act like Him, being “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). It’s not about keeping rules or following rituals. It’s about being a son or daughter of God, reflecting Him by the way we live. So where did all this other stuff come from?




If evolution, and not the Bible is the truth, there are many implications for humanity and many unanswered questions. I cannot raise them all here and I cannot raise them in sequence but let’s get going.

  1. Why is there death in the world? From where did death come?

Without the record in the book of Genesis, of man’s fall from fellowship with his Creator to estrangement and separation ending in physical death, we have no way of knowing why everything on earth is subject to death and decay.

  • Why do humans have a free will and are responsible for their behaviour when the apes from which we are supposed to have evolved are not morally responsible?

Why do law enforcers not arrest and try animals that prey on other animals and yet people are held accountable for killing people but not for killing animals. How did this transition happen if man evolved from apes?

  • Why is humanity inherently selfish and greedy?

If humans became better than apes through evolution, why did they not become better than animals morally? We do not condemn animals when they behave in what we consider to be selfish or cruel ways because they function by instinct. Why do people not function by instinct alone?

  • From where does our conscience come? Why do we feel guilty when we have done wrong according to our conscience?

Without the Biblical explanation for the origin and nature of man – that God created man in His own image, to resemble Him and to have fellowship with Him, we have no authoritative way of knowing who we really are and what is right and wrong. God wrote His law on our hearts whether we like it or not. Our conscience alerts us when we transgress God’s standards of right and wrong.

(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) Romans 2:14-15

  • Why do people feel empty and restless until they have reconnected with God through His Son and realise that He is both their Creator and Father?
  • Tied to the above question is the next: why are we here and where are we going?

Life has no meaning, no anchor, and no hope until we understand that we were created by God, that He gives meaning to our lives, that He made us to have fellowship with Him, and that our destiny is to be with Him forever. Death is not the end but the beginning and completion of our journey. Until we reconnect with God, we are lost, and we will never find the way to the Father without Jesus.

What are the implications of believing in evolution and denying the existence of a Creator?

  1. We make God and the Bible out to be liars.
  2. If the Bible is wrong about God being the Creator of the universe, then it must be wrong about everything else He said and did.
  3. If there is no God, no Bible, and no truth, then we have no hope.
  4. If there is no God, there can be no moral absolutes. Everyone is free to make his own rules and do as he pleases. There can be no justice because justice is based on what is universally accepted as objective standards.
  5. Without objective standards, there can be no such thing as a crime if everyone is free to make his own rules.
  6. We have no reason to complain if people behave worse than animals and if the world is in chaos because there is no one to fix it since they evolved from animals,
  • Evolution disproves itself because evolution claims that everything is evolving upwards when our observation tells us that the world is running down. If everything is evolving into something better, why does every living thing eventually die? Why do our gardens, left to themselves, become overrun with weeds?

And we can go on. Belief in evolution rather than in a Designer and Creator raises more questions than answers.

There is only one solution to the chaotic mess we have made of the world over the last few thousand years – Jesus.

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come (2 Cor. 5:17).

He dealt with sin on the cross, unmasked the devil for the liar he is and promised to make everything new.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain for the old order of things has passed away (Rev. 21:1-4).

Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.