Yesterday my mentor taught a great lesson on discipleship. It was part of a more laid back contemporary service our church is launching to reach those who relate to God and others in a more relaxed setting. The environment was conducive for intimate conversation with one another and peaceful worship through simple acoustic worship sets. It was a time when we could join as disciples reclining at the table with Jesus.
The goal of the evening revolved around a simple verse “After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized.” John 3:22. The Greek word used in this sentence for ‘spent some time with’ literally means “to rub through.”
We are more familiar with the idea of “rubbing off.” For example, when you hang around someone for a very long time, you start to pick up on some of their mannerisms and maybe you’ll even catch yourself saying the same things they say. This is rubbing off; an external change. Rubbing through on the other hand, encompasses a much deeper level of relationship with another person and is an inside out process.
Take Peter for example. Before Jesus changed his life, he probably thought he had everything figured out. He was going to inherit the family fishing business, marry some cute Jewish girl and live a generally successful life. That was before Jesus rubbed through him.
If Peter was going to be the first leader of the Christian church, it wasn’t enough for him to just pick up on the sayings and mannerisms of Jesus. Instead, he needed to have a heart change. By himself, Peter was brash and stubborn, from cutting off the centurions ear to his prideful confidence that he would never deny Jesus.
He was so sure of himself until he heard his own words denying Christ three times before the crucifixion. Yet Jesus kept spending time with him and little by little we see Peter’s heart change. In 1Pe 4:12-14 ESV he writes “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
That is the words of someone who has had their heart worked on. Indeed, there was a lot of “rubbing through” Jesus had to do on Peter to turn him into the first leader of the church.
As Christians we need to have someone constantly rubbing through us and be constantly rubbing through another. My mentor rubs through me as I rub through others. My mentor knows things about me that nobody else knows, Jesus knew Peter completely. Rubbing through is planting seeds in someones life for growth.
So I challenge you, take on a disciple and be discipled. Rub through someone else’s’ pride, stubbornness, lack of experience etc. and have yours worked on too.