What Is A Disciple?

At my church, we are in the middle of the series we’ve titled The Original BIG XII:  That is the 12 disciples.  So I thought I would look up the definition for disciple.  Here is what I found.  Disciple – “One who embraces and assists in spreading the teachings of another.”  Have you ever been convicted by the dictionary? (I know that the Holy Spirit is the real one who convicts all men.)
We have assumed for too long that just because we have been saved that we are automatically “disciples.”  That is our mistake.  As the saved church of Christ – His body, His bride, His beloved sons and daughters – we are called to be disciples, but not every one of us who is saved answers that call.
I think there are a number of reasons or obstacles that keep us from being disciples.  One reason, I just mentioned; we assume we already are disciples.  We make the hearing the call with answering the call.  You’ve been told that you are called, but just being called is not what made the original BIG XII into disciples – Answering the call did.  They “embraced and assisted in spreading the teachings of Jesus.”
A second reason we don’t answer the call is because we think it is too difficult.  A narrow path and filled with many trials it is. (Did that just sound like Yoda?) Personally I’d rather walk the narrow path, where my guide is Jesus himself, than walk the easy path, where my guide only has one thing on his mind – my destruction.
The original BIG XII understood that Jesus was calling them to “embrace and assist in spreading his teachings.”  He was called Teacher by Peter in Mark 9:5.   Even Pharisees called Jesus teacher. (Mark 12:13-14) (John 3:2) The disciples embraced Jesus’ teachings.   And as far as the second qualification for a disciple – as assisting in the spreading of Jesus’ teachings – Jesus let them know, from the beginning, that this was why he’d called them.  Mark 1:17 “And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”  And that is exactly what they became.  In fact, the original XII – minus Judas – died because they would not stop spreading the teachings of Jesus.
These are the men who, along with Paul, penned the New Testament.  These are the disciples God is calling us to join.  This is the original BIG XII whose examples we are invited to follow.
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4 responses to “What Is A Disciple?

  • Susan

    Channeling Yoda aside, I don't think you have anything to worry about. You are a disciple! You faithfully share your insights and your flaws in order to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Isn't it wonderful, here in the 21st Century, that we have this cyber-fellowship with other believers, and at the same time the Holy Spirit takes our feeble words out wherever they need to go. Keep up the good work. Your blog reaches many, and I am blessed to be one of them. God bless you!

  • Alden Schoeneberg

    Thanks Susan. You're very kind. I love how the blog world allows believers to share, encourage and exhort. Paul would have been a big blogger, I think. Of course, the blog should be just one of the ways we "assist in spreading" the good news of Jesus. It is supplemental to living Jesus out in our relationships and conversations. But it additionally links us with other believers whom we don't hear or see. I do think it is a wonderful thing.

  • Bryan

    Spot on. If we determine our discipleship based upon the definition, many believers fall short. Pew perching and disciple making fall into two very separate categories. Be sure to get in on my challenge at my blog for this month. I promote it in my FB status update.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

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