Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany” and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.”
Listen Now. We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
ENGAGED: The Call to Be Disciples
Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
A disciple is not above his Teacher, nor a servant above his Master; it is enough for the disciple to be like his Teacher, and the servant like his Master. Matthew 10: 24-25
Good morning Prayer Team!
One of the “titles” given to Jesus is the title “teacher.” In many instances, the word that is used is “didaskalon”, which means “teacher.” In several cases where “Rabbouni” is used, this word is translated as “master.”
So one of the ways we are to see Jesus is as our Teacher. If He is our teacher, then we are the students. In a student/teacher relationship, the teacher is the expert in the subject, and the good students are eager to learn. They show some sense of trust, respect and obedience to the teacher’s direction because the teacher is, after all, the expert. The good teacher also wants to see the students excel in what they are learning, and the good student continues to learn and enjoy learning long after his or her days of formal education have ended.
In today’s verse, Jesus tells us that the disciple is not above his teacher. We said above that a good student will hope to exceed the teacher, to learn even more than the teacher. If Christ is our teacher, we cannot think we will exceed or surpass the teacher. That is impossible, our teacher is God. However, just as a servant can try to be like his master, so it is enough for the faithful disciple to be like His teacher, for the faithful disciple that means to strive to be like Christ.
I love to learn. I continually seek to learn from experts in “my field” (church work) for how I can be more successful in my role as a priest. I love not only what it feels like to learn something I didn’t know previously—I love just being a student and listening to the successes (and even mistakes) of others.
Good disciples, good Christians, love to learn about God. They continually seek to learn more about the Scriptures as well as to learn the deeper and less subtle nuances of Theology.
There is one critical difference between our schoolteachers and the Lord, our Teacher. When we were in school, very few us had (our sought out) good relationships with our teachers. How many of us, in fact, keep up with old teacher, sending updates about ourselves? Very few.
I’m sure we all learned at least a couple of things from our great teachers. We learned their trivia, dates and battles in history class. We learned numbers in Math. We learned spelling and comprehension in English class. But how many of us really KNEW our teachers? Probably few or none.
The most important thing in Christianity is not doing about Him, as if to say you have mastered an impressive amount of knowledge of something. The most important thing in Christianity is to know HIM. In the course of learning about Christ, we will all pick up some trivia about His life and ministry. However the most important, course of study seeks to know Him and to do His will.
The good college student is a collector of knowledge. The good Christian student craves relationships. The good Christian wants a deeper relationship with God, and a greater opportunity to share God’s greatness with others. In essence, the good Christian is a lifelong student of Christ—both studying about Him and building a relationship WITH Him.
To Thee, o Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in Thee I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. Yea, let none that wait for Thee be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous. Make me to know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth, and teach me; for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day long. Psalm 25:1-4
We are the students. He is our teacher. So, spend some time today earning about Him. More importantly, however, spend time with Jesus. Let’s let His example of love guide the course of study and let’s enjoy being students throughout our adult lives. As I mentioned above, I love to learn. As I get older, I realize that it’s not knowledge I crave but relationships. As I mature in my Christianity, I realize that it’s not merely knowledge of God through Scriptures that I crave, but a deeper more abiding relationship with Christ.
With Roger Hunt providing today’s Daily Reading: Listen Now.
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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