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.