Jesus’ concept of discipleship

by Eduard Schweizer, in his book The Good News According to Mark:

This concept of discipleship is Jesus’ own creation. The Greeks and the later rabbis spoke of ‘disciples of God,’ however they meant by this ‘becoming like him’ in an ethical sense, or the obedience to his commandments. The relationship of the rabbis to their students seems to be a closer parallel to this discipleship. The primary difference is that the rabbi does not call his disciples–he is sought by them. Above all, the rabbis never could have conceived of a call so radical as to make clear that being with Jesus is more important than all of God’s commandments. A disciple of a rabbi might dream of some day becoming even better, if possible, than his master; but a disciple of Jesus could never expect that some day he himself might be the ‘Son of Man.’ Jesus never debated with his disciples as a rabbi would have done. Thus the word ‘follow’ received a new sound when Jesus said it, a sound which it has nowhere else except in those passages of the Old Testament which declare that one must follow either Baal or Yahweh.”

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