It all begins with one word. Discipleship.
I grew up in a Christian home and even went to a Christian school, but it wasn't until I was in high school that I had a scary realization. I knew a lot about Jesus, but I didn't really know Jesus. I didn't truly have a relationship with Him. We were probably more like acquaintances!
That changed overnight when a group of friends took me under their wing and showed me how to take my acquaintance with Jesus to the next level, to a deeper place, and my life has literally never been the same since.
How did this happen? One word: discipleship.
I like how Jesus always kept things simple. When he gathered up the twelve men that He would invest in and teach for three years of His life, He simply used the phrase, "Follow Me" (Matthew 4:19).
Jesus didn't have a sales pitch; He simply invited these men to follow Him. The Greek word for "disciple" is mathetes and it means "a learner or pupil." A disciple of Jesus is someone who accepts His invitation to follow Him and learn from Him. That's what discipleship is all about:
- committing to Jesus
- following Jesus
- teaching other people how to follow Jesus
When Jesus invited these men to follow Him, they had a choice to make. In the exact context of Matthew 4:19, He invited Peter, Andrew, James, and John to leave their fishing nets and come follow Him. They did, but that was a choice they made to commit themselves to Him.
That's the first step: to commit your life to Jesus. Acts 16:31 tells us, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." Nothing happens without first establishing this foundation. That's where I was stalled at in my youth. I'd made a commitment to Jesus, but I didn't have a habit of following Him.
The practical details of how those twelve guys were discipled by Jesus can't exactly be replicated today: they ate, traveled, ministered, and pretty much spent every waking moment together; yet, the mechanics are still the same. Being a disciple of Jesus means being His follower, which means we need to know Him personally. How can someone know Jesus?
- Learning how we are to behave and conduct ourselves by studying the Bible, which is God's written revelation to us
- Like all healthy relationships, we spend time communicating with Him; in this case, through prayer and worship
- Growing to love the things Jesus loves, such as His church, which means we actively seek opportunities to be connected in fellowship with other Christians
- As we spend time with someone they inevitably rub off on us and so we find ourselves knowing Jesus more intimately as we imitate Him through love and service
However, there's another component to being a disciple.
Disciples Make Other Disciples
Being a disciple also means showing other people how to be a disciple by discipling them. It's one traveler showing another traveler the path. Jesus said it like this: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20).
Disciples are called to make other disciples, like that group of friends that took me under their wing and showed me the way, and that's what I want to do with you.
May everything contained on this site give Him glory while it encourages you on the path of discipleship. Now, let's truly live out the life of a disciple of Jesus, together.
Pastor Erik V. Sahakian