Jesus Called us to Be His Disciples

Apr 05, 2010 No Comments by

5th April, 2010

Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

Did you notice this instruction by Jesus Christ did not command that we should ‘make Christians?’ Specifically Jesus said, ‘make disciples’?

The word ‘Christian’ has a variety of meanings. Election candidates (particularly in the U.S.A.) often quote the Bible to influence ‘the Christian vote’ but we have observed, use of the Word does not always mean living it out.

Others like to wear religious artefacts but that display does not always reflect their true heart values. Religious bumper stickers on cars make me shudder at the behaviour of so many drivers!

Even some church attendance can be categorised as ‘doing the right thing’ rather than an act of personal worship or adoration. Why there are some who even hope to make friends or even pick up prospects for their business activities by mingling at church.

So Jesus was very specific. He told us, ‘make disciples.’

It goes without saying. If we are to ‘make disciples’ we should be one first.  Jesus also said if we walked in obedience to His form of discipleship, there would be specific evidence.  “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

The fact is clear. Those who display bitterness and unforgiveness for any reason, cannot be His disciple. Their attitude exhibit a lord other than Jesus has control of their attitudes and emotions.

We have concocted all manner of things to be evidence of ‘pure faith’, but Jesus made His guideline clear – ‘love one another.’

‘Learning Knights’

What is the difference of thinking of yourself as ‘a Christian,’ or knowing you are called to be ‘a Disciple’?

Jesus called no one Christian. He did, however, call ‘Disciples’ and He did it with clear directions.

The word ‘disciple’ in the old Anglo-Saxon context means  ‘learning knights.’ What does the phrase ‘learning knights’ say to you? A knight is one close to the monarch, who trains and prepares to defend the castle or the King when attacks come.

As disciples or ‘learning knights’ (a) we train – meaning ‘prepare’, (b) we defend – the gospel – even by our lifestyle, (c) we wear the full armor of the Lord and (d) we ‘go!’ according to His orders.

Jesus said, “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” (John 15: 8)

He said, our lives and actions will bring forth fruit that provides proof of our discipleship. He works through His disciples, that the promise.

The Disciple Concept.

The Greek word ‘mathetes’ is translated ‘disciple’ and means ‘learner’ or ‘pupil’.

Mark 2:14 “As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting in the tax booth, and He *said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.”

‘Follow me” is the Greek “akolouthein” which infers following that involves risk and cost. It is used 19 times in Mark’s Gospel and indicates ‘load-bearing.’ This carefully chosen word highlights the priority required of disciples, which is to walk behind, or follow Jesus.

Disciples know we will never qualify as His ambassadors, by how much we know, or how brilliant we are academically, intellectually or financially. Anointed, life-changing discipleship relies on how closely we walk behind, or follow Him.

There are 261 references to ‘disciple’ in the New Testament and they all occur in the Gospels and the Book of Acts. The major emphasis is in the Gospels.

It is absolutely vital for those who seek to Know Him and to Show Him, that our focus is Jesus – ‘Christ in you is the hope of glory.’

Discipleship Facts.

Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

Jesus appoints and anoints His disciples.

Luke 9:57-60 “As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, “I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

And He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But He said to him, “Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God.”

i)     Disciples are called to display Kingdom standards. This requires new Christ-directed priorities.

Consider the Rich Young Ruler – Mark 10: 17-27.

II)   Disciples know the authority of Jesus.

Luke 11:20 “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

Jesus ignores race and social standards when choosing His disciples.

Mark 3: 18 – Simon, the Canaanite, was a zealot

Mark 2: 14 – Levi – a tax collector

Women followed the Lord – Luke 1: 1-3

Women followed Him to the Cross – Mark 15:40

Jesus called disciples regardless of social, religious and ethnic backgrounds or gender.

Disciples were called to total commitment.

a)   Break with the past – leave families and even jobs – Mark 1: 16-20; Luke 14:26)

b) The break required self-denial – saying no to self. This often called them to break with independent income. Mark 8:34 “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

c) Disciples live under the authority of the Lord.

Mark 10:41-45Hearing this, the ten began to feel indignant with James and John.  Calling them to Himself, Jesus *said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them.

“But it is not this way among you, abut whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Anchor Bible Dictionary:The call of Jesus demands and makes possible the break with the past in as much as it gives the disciple a new future.”

The disciples call of Jesus involves….

A lifelong relationship —- Mark 3:14 “And He appointed twelve, so that they would be with Him and that He could send them out to preach.”

Anchor Bible Dictionary: “Discipleship is characterized by establishing a fundamental life relationship to the person of Jesus (and not merely to his teaching).”

There is a great verse by which we can all be measured.

The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them.” (Matthew 21: 6)

Now, there’s the key!!!!

Bible Blog

About the author

Ron Ross worked as the first Sports Editor at WINTV. In Wollongong. He ran The Hamburger Hut an outreach and discipleship program for youth. He served with Youth With a Mission in Hawaii, Philippines and Australia. He was senior pastor of the Noosa Baptist Church, Queensland for 9 years. He reported news from Jerusalem for five years and is now the Middle East correspondent for United Christian Broadcasters and travels regularly preaching and teaching.
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