Walking With a Rabbi

by Shala W. Graham July 18, 2023
“Later, when Jesus was alone with the twelve disciples and with the others who were gathered around, they asked him what the parables meant.” Mark 4:10 (NLT)

This past winter, I found myself walking the streets of northern Italy for 17 days with a group of women from my seminary class. It was an intensive class on women in the early Church and the arts, pondering their lives and documenting evidence of their church leadership.

Our two professors guiding the trip taught us to interpret Christian art, understand the context of New Testament scriptures, and uncover the stories of dozens of female martyrs in the early Church. And we each had an opportunity to teach one another about a woman or a related topic we researched.

Whenever we would gather in a center of worship in Italy, one of our professors would launch into a hymn, and our ragtag group of women would join in chorus. The first time, I had no idea what was happening! But it quickly grew to be one of my favorite things we did. People thought we were a real singing group and would sometimes ask for an encore, which we happily obliged. I mean, we all could use a little more worshipping of the King in our lives!

After departing a church in Assisi, I was intrigued by something I saw.

My professor was surrounded by a few classmates who were asking all their questions about scriptures related to women in the Church. As they walked together, they discussed the Apostle Paul and the situation in Ephesus. So what did Paul mean when he said this and that?

Then our professor would pull up an app on her phone to read the scriptures in question in Greek, interpreting them for all of her curious students. She was patient and always eager to teach so we could understand and be equipped in our unique callings.

Then it hit me. This is a taste of what it must have been like to walk with Jesus!

At that moment, God gave me this beautiful image of what it must have been like for Jesus’ disciples to walk with their Rabbi through the streets of Galilee.

We had opportunities to walk, talk and eat with our professors and to be taught by them on a hillside. We asked our professors big life questions and got to know the personal details of their lives. Our professors were like our rabbis, teaching us about Jesus in the way of Jesus.

The way of Jesus made room for His disciples to ask all their questions. Regularly, throughout the Gospels, we see this beautiful relationship in action.

When Jesus began teaching in parables, those who were gathered with Him asked “what the parables meant,” and Jesus was careful to reveal to His followers “the secret of the Kingdom of God” (Mark 4:10-11, NLT). In their walking and sailing with Jesus, they saw Him teach people, calm storms, cast out demons, eat with sinners, and raise people from the dead. Then Jesus sent them out two by two, giving them authority to do as He did (Mark 6:6-13).

I could see Jesus as I walked with my “rabbis.” And while I’m grateful to have had the privilege to learn from these incredible women in Italy, I’m most grateful that God has given the Holy Spirit to all Christ followers in all places to guide us and cultivate our training as disciples.

The Holy Spirit can also lead us to spiritual mentors: Think about a faithful woman whose life and maturity you admire — maturity in age, season or experience — who demonstrates what it looks like to follow Jesus in the everyday things. Then consider humbly asking her to take you under her wing for genuine discipleship.

Likewise, maybe you are the woman who has spiritual maturity to share. Has God put someone on your heart who is going through a season you've already walked through and could use your guidance? Invite her to come near and walk with you as you walk with Jesus.

As we reach out to hold hands in true discipleship, may we imitate the beautiful relationship the disciples had with Jesus as they walked with their Rabbi.

Father, we thank You for never designing us to walk the road of discipleship alone. Send us teachers who are faithful in the way of Jesus and who demonstrate what walking with Jesus looks like in our daily lives. And keep our eyes open to see and our hearts soft to receive what You want them to teach us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Announcing our newest event … Reset: A Saturday To Tend to Your Soul with Proverbs 31 Ministries! Join us on October 7 at First Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC, for a one-day event where you can experience uninterrupted time away from the noise of your daily life and connect with Jesus through intentional worship. Hear from Lysa TerKeurst, Dr. Joel Muddamalle and Wendy Blight as you gather with other women who are seeking to grow deeper in their faith too. Click here to sign up today!



Visit Shala W. Graham’s website, Calling Qualified Ministries, to access free resources to activate you in your calling to Jesus.

You can also find Shala on Instagram for more everyday reminders of God’s unlimited truths.


1 Corinthians 11:1, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (NIV).

Luke 10:23, “Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see’” (NIV).

We are all called to follow Christ. Do you have a “rabbi” in your life whose teaching and example show you what it looks like to follow Jesus? Is there someone in your life who needs you to be their “rabbi”? Lean into how God might use you in this season.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2023 by Shala W. Graham. All rights reserved.

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