Luke 9: 57 – 10: 2.
John 6: 60 – 69.
In our Wednesday Bible Study group we have begun a new series on Discipleship. This has caused me to re-examine the use of the term in the New Testament. What is it that we think a disciple is? A follower of Jesus is the usual answer I would think. So let us look at some of the Gospel narratives to see what actually was going on back then, and how it can inform us as to what is expected of us today.
Mark 1: 16 – 20. This is how we think of the Disciples being called – and they left their boats, their father, their lively hood, and followed Jesus.
Luke 5: 27. The hated Tax Collector - Levi - left all his profitable business working for the Romans, and followed Jesus for no monetary gain.
The Twelve Apostles are whom we often mean when we speak of the Disciples, but we can find passages in the Gospels that give a different story.
Look at Luke 10: 1 where Jesus selected 72 for His disciples to go out to the villages in pairs to prepare the way for His arrival in the surrounding towns and villages.
John 8: 28 – 32. Many people believed on Jesus, and He says that as long as they obeyed His teachings.
Acts 6: 7. “The Word of God kept on spreading and the number of Disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the Priests were becoming obedient to the Faith.”
So were all of these Disciples faithful? Unfortunately no! Look at the readings from the Gospels that we had previously. In John 6 we find that many disciples left Him because His teaching was too hard to take. In Luke we have the example of three who had excuses for not continuing on with Jesus. One was put off by potential homelessness. One by family responsibilities. Another by reluctance to let go off his old life.
There are many reasons for not following Jesus as He would have us follow. There is FEAR. Uncertainty as to what Jesus will have us do, where He will want us to go. Uncertainty ass to what He might want us to do.
We must remember that if He calls us to a task, He provides the strength and the ability to do that task, no matter how foreign the task might be to our natural inclinations.
There is FAMILY. Responsibilities are often put forward as an excuse. It is a good thing to have family, we all need someone, but remember that Jesus has said that if we don’t love Him more than we love our human friends and relations – even our Father, Mother, Sisters or brothers, then we don’t love Jesus enough to be a disciple. Family pressures can be very negative, anti Church and anti Christian. Even though it is a parent or brother, husband or wife, who tries to influence us we must in love stand against them and for Jesus and His truth.
There are our POSSESSIONS. There can be a reluctance to let go of ownership of what we see as OURS. God gave them to us to use for our own upkeep and our families, but ownership still resides in Him, and we must let Him guide us as to what we do with our homes, possessions and money.
There is BELIEF. We can be too materialistic to accept the Spiritual truth that is in God’s Word, and in Jesus’ teachings.
There is COMFORT. We don’t want to change that which we find fits our mind set comfortably. We don’t want change to upset what we are used to in the present situation.
It has been said that “Jesus came to comfort the disturbed, and to disturb the Comfortable.” The Church in much of the western world has become a very comfortable Club for the slightly religiously inclined. If we want to be Christ’s disciples, is it time we were disturbed out of our comfortable mind set, social strata, income bracket, faith in Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild who doesn’t disturb our thinking but keeps us comfortable, or what ever it is that keeps us from following Him whole heartedly and completely?
How are we to do this? Firstly – Look at Jesus with our eyes wide open. See who and what He is, and what His demands are. John 9 tells the story of the man born blind, and that man’s testimony.,
Listen to Jesus and what He says to the sinners who come to Him, and to the Pharasees who refuse to hear Him
Let Him lead us in all the pathways of our life. Remember John 10 about the Good Shepherd? Jesus is willing to lead us, are we willing to follow?
Secondly have Faith in Jesus’ saving Grace. He died for our sins, All we have to do is confess our sins and ask Him into our lives – not just the Sunday go to Church vestibule of our life, but into every room, hidden closet, dusty forgotten archives of memory. Let Him in and work with Him, allow Him to clean it all up, and make your life clean and new.
Worship Him, Read His words, study them and understand them. Pray to Him – Prayer should be a living and walking with the Lord every moment of the day and night.
Have an openness to Jesus and His blessings. He is the fount of all good things. Let Him fill your heart with Love. Let Him fill your mind with good and kind thoughts.
Dedicate your self, your life, your possessions, your family and friends to Him and to His service.
Do these things and you will be accepted by Jesus as His disciple and your life will be enriched and filled with love and light. Then and only then we will be equipped to obey Christ’s last great command – Matt. 28: 19 – 20.