Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Christ’s Apprentice
(and a bit more)

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

2nd May 2010

A television show that has taken Britain by storm in recent years is The Apprentice.

It features a number of assorted hopefuls competing for an opportunity to work for the multimillionaire Sir Alan Sugar.

But really the programme isn’t about an apprenticeship at all.

An apprentice is invited on a journey with a master, to watch what they do and try to emulate it.

But Sir Alan doesn’t go anywhere, except to the boardroom where he shouts at those who are failing.

He’s not concerned about building a team for the show is bristling with the competitiveness that makes good television.

Those eager hopefuls don’t necessarily end up better people as a result of their journey but simply prove that they can perform certain tasks and make money.

Technically, the competitors on the show are not apprentices but are fighting for the opportunity to become one. Their apprenticeship won’t actually start until they ‘win’ the job.

Now Jesus was a rabbi with apprentices. Like the other rabbis of His day, Jesus invited His disciples to join Him on an initial three-year programme of training, and His training scheme wasn’t contained in the cloisters or the traditional classroom.

Matthew points out that,

‘As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him’. (Matthew 4:18–22)

Quite unlike the rabbis of His day, Jesus did not wait for an applicant to come to Him; He chose them, as Jesus Himself said in John 15:16 ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you…’.

Unlike the apprentice Sir Alan Sugar selects, the people Jesus chose were not the cream of the crop; rather they were the unlikeliest of followers. But His choosing of them was a great sign of hope. A rabbi’s call meant that he actually believed that the chosen one could fulfil the apprenticeship.

And so it is with us. Jesus believes in us, and is confident that we will emulate Him, bearing good fruit in our lives.

And the really good news is that Jesus doesn’t just consider us His apprentices but His friends.

‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last’. (John 15:13–16)

Let’s thank Jesus for inviting us to be both His apprentice and His friend.

Have a good week following Jesus.

Pastor Barry

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