Jesus’ Disciples: Us

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 2, 2020 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

You may have noticed that last week, I said Thomas was the last on our list of Jesus’ twelve disciples. While that is true, today I want to address one more group of disciples: us.

All of us who follow Jesus today are also His disciples. No, we’re not part of the group of twelve men who walked around and did ministry with Jesus during His time on earth in physical form. But we are still commanded to be Jesus’ disciples, and He tells us how to do it. Throughout the gospels, Jesus provides us with many descriptions of the various aspects of discipleship. While His whole life was a model for being a disciple, He spoke of discipleship and following Him specifically many times.

In Luke 9:23-24, Jesus outlines three key points of discipleship: denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Jesus. Denying ourselves means that we are no longer the top priority; Jesus is. Taking up our cross means submission and obedience to Jesus, giving up our rights, and thinking of others. Following Jesus means a deeper commitment to the continual process of following where Jesus leads.

In Luke 14:27, Jesus looks at the negative of that situation. If a person does not carry his cross, he cannot be Jesus’ disciple. Carrying our cross means surrendering to God the things that we struggle with. By carrying our cross, we give up our rights to have things the way we want them, and instead to follow God’s leading.

In Luke 9:57-62, Jesus provides us with three examples of the cost of discipleship. These costs are losing the security of a place to live, making Jesus a priority over other people and emotional attachments, and focusing our lives on the goal of discipleship to Jesus.

In John 8:31-32, we learn that we must obey Jesus’ teachings to truly be His disciples. This leads us to the truth of God’s Word and who Jesus is, and through continual study, this makes the Word part of our souls. Similarly, in John 14:15 and John 14:23-24, we learn that we show our love to Jesus by obeying everything that He commands. Because of that love, we will receive God’s love and have a relationship with Him. We must “do” discipleship by obedience to his teaching, and we must be disciples through a relationship with God.

In John 15:9-17, we see that obedience leads to remaining in God’s love and bearing fruit because of it. We are dependent on Him, not ourselves.

Some of the most difficult words to understand about discipleship come in Luke 14:26. It appears in this passage that Jesus is instructing us to hate our family members. However, the meaning of the word that is translated as “hate” is more like to “love less.” Jesus is saying we should love everyone else (including our close family members) less than we love Him. He should be our top priority in life. Similarly, when we are disciples, Jesus tells us that the world will hate us, as in John 15:18-19. This again reflects that Jesus must be our top priority. If pleasing the world is our priority, then we are not disciples, because the world will hate us when we follow Jesus.

In Luke 14:33, we are told that we must give up everything to be a disciple of Jesus. This also sounds very harsh, but unless we give up everything that is of this world, we cannot truly follow Jesus and make Him the highest priority in our lives. If we do not, or are not willing to, give up everything, then we are not true disciples.

In Matthew 28:18-20, we read some of Jesus’ last words to His disciples. We are instructed to make disciples as we go through life, and we do so by teaching them to obey His commands. This concept of disciple reproduction is very important because without it the church will die in a few generations. We exercise our discipleship by discipling others – being an example for them to follow so they, too, learn to obey Jesus’ commands.

The American church culture today, as a whole, views discipleship as something that is optional in the church and not required for being a Christian. Being a Christian no longer appears to require a total transformation of our minds. The fact that this has been occurring in the American church for multiple generations has created a culture of non-discipleship – believers who are not truly disciples following Jesus daily. There is a lack of obedience to Jesus’ teaching in the church today. We call Jesus Lord but do not do what He commands us, as He Himself said in Luke 6:46.

The church culture sees discipleship as being all about “me” rather than about God. People go to church to serve and fill themselves and their own needs, rather than for the sole reason of worshiping God. Living in a consumer culture is a huge barrier to being true disciples because our mindset is to take care of ourselves and be served rather than to serve. Transforming ourselves to living as Christ did – for God and for others first – is a key factor in the discipleship process, and is essential for being a true disciple.

Examine your life and what you are actively doing to show that you are a disciple of Jesus. I hope this blog post series has helped you get to know the twelve men who were Jesus’ original disciples, and that through their lives, you have been encouraged to follow Jesus more in your own life. We can only claim to be Jesus’ followers if we are actually following Him. Keep reflecting on the above Scripture passages, and pray about how you can live them out more in your daily life as you continue your walk as one of Jesus’ disciples.

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