Most Christians are familiar with the Great Commission. Before leaving them, Jesus told His disciples, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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. And behold I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). In this post I want to look at this sometimes forgotten component of the Great Commission – discipleship.
So what is a disciple? According to my dictionary, a disciple is “a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosophy.” Thus, a Christian is a follower or disciple of Jesus Christ. In the early chapters of the gospels, we read how Jesus called the first disciples. “Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him” (Mark 1:16-18). It always strikes me every time I read this how quickly they responded to the call of Jesus.
It is clear that Jesus spent time teaching the masses and had lots of close followers, but he only chose 12 disciples. Obviously, he did this for a reason. Jesus knew that he could give more to 12 men then he could to 50 or 100 men. Over the course of 3 years, the disciples apprenticed under Jesus and witnessed incredible things. As John tells us, “Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25). But even after 3 years of the best education on the planet, they were still not ready. Only after the resurrection, did they finally “get it” and were ready for the mission at hand.
What was the mission, you might be wondering? “And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Disciples making disciples making disciples making disciples – you get the point.
Everything I have said so far is pretty basic. I am assuming that at this point you are tracking with me. But here is my challenge for you – are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? I am not asking if you attend church or if you are part of a small group bible study or if you pray daily or if you ____________xyz. I am simply asking; have you ‘left your nets’ to follow Jesus? Have you left your old life to sit at the feet of a new Master?
Before we put to practice 2 Timothy 2:2, we must first settle the question of our own commitment to Christ. Only when we have sat under the Jesus will we be ready to “teach others also.”
In my next post, we will dig deeper into the “how” of discipleship. Hope to see you back.