Are You a Disciple
I have a quick question – are you a Disciple? Now, let me ask you another question. Are you a Christian?
OK, so that was a bit of a trick question, wasn’t it? The truth is that I just asked you the same question in two different ways. If you identified yourself as a Christian, then you are a disciple of Jesus. And if you identified yourself as a disciple, well, Christian is just a nickname for a disciple of Jesus. The disciples were first called Christians in a city called Antioch, a couple thousand years ago, and the name has stuck.
But some of you may have been hesitant to call yourself a disciple, because somehow, over the years, we have begun to use the word “disciple” for a special class of Christian. We have begun to think of a disciple as someone who has been “discipled.” Has someone ever asked you “Who discipled you?” Or “Who have you discipled?” Or, “Are you discipling anyone?” Actually, that is kind of odd isn’t it? We don’t call you a driver, because you have been driven, or a baseball player because you have been played. You are not a mother because you have been mothered or a brother because you have been brothered. Why is it that we have begun to suggest that the only real disciples are somehow people who have been discipled?
We all know that the last instruction of Jesus to his disciples was to “make disciples.” However, I think that we have complicated the command so that it refers to formal “discipleship” programs. We think of a couple of people meeting together, one who has been a Christian for a long time and the other person who is a newer Christian. And often, between them is a Bible and some kind of a book that they are talking about. Sound familiar?
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I am in favor of formal plans that lead to the maturing of disciples. However, when we restrict the process of making disciples to formal meetings, I fear that we have lost the power of ordinary disciples like you and me who constantly, in our everyday lives, are both disciples and people who disciple others. After all, is not the last command of Jesus to make disciples simply a restatement of his initial discipleship invitation: “Come, follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”?
That first discipleship invitation gives us the essence of what it means to be a disciple: A disciple of Jesus is someone who follows Jesus and who helps others to follow Jesus (i.e. is someone who can “fish for people”). Note that the two go hand-in-hand. When Andrew and Simon left their nets in response to the invitation, it was a response to both aspects of that invitation: they were willing to follow Jesus and they were willing to become fishers of men. If that describes you, then you are a disciple.
Bible Verse: “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’” (Matthew 4:19)
Scripture Reading: Matthew 4:1-25
— David Freeman, Promise Keepers Canada
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Here are a couple of great resources for Discipleship. Hope you have enjoyed reading my Are You a Disciple post.