Discipleship

These are all of my old posts from when I first created this blog when the original subject was discipleship.

BEGINNING THOUGHTS
Today most followers of Jesus Christ wear the name Christian.  However, the term Christian only appears 3 times in the scriptures.  The term disciple or disciples appears over 250 times.  In the gospels, Christ refers to his followers as disciples.  While I am not against the term Christian,  I feel many wear the name without it having real meaning in their lives.  As I continue this study,  I want to look more in depth at the idea of what it means to be a disciple, and what we must do to be the type of disciple Christ wants us tobe.  I am keeping my posts short for the moment as I learn about wordpress.  I may hit at random thoughts and wander off on a tangent occasionally, so bear with me as I begin this task.

WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?

I guess the 1st question that needs should be addressed is the meaning of the word disciple?  The word comes from the Greek word “manthano” and simply means a pupil or a learner.  That’s probably enough Greek for now.  We may look at this in more detail later but I that is as far as I will go now.  The other thought I would like to mention is that sometimes people tend to use the phrase interchangeably with the word “apostle”.  An apostle is a messenger.  I will end by simply asking if being a disciple is an accurate description of your relationship with Christ.

SCRIPTURES MENTIONING DISCIPLES

Listed below are a few of the verses that mentions the term disciple.  It is not a complete list by any means but this set of verses will be the first ones a want to talk about in studying being a disciple.

There are 2 thoughts that come to mind when looking over this set of verses. The first is that being a disciple of Christ is not an easy thing to do.  It takes effort and committment.  The second is the teaching aspect of the relationship.  I am sure you see more but will start looking more in depth at these verses with my next post.  Have a good day.  My next post will be in a day or two.

Mt 10:24 -The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

Lu 14:26 – If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Lu 14:27 – And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple

Mt 9:37 -Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Mt 21:6 – And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

Mr4:34 – But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.

Mr 7:17 – And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

Mr 8:33- But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Mr 9:31 – For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

Lu 9:18 – And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am?

Lu 11:1 – And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

Lu 12:22 – And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.

John 2:11 – This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

John 6:60- Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?

John 8:31 – Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

John 13:35 – By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 15:8 – Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

JOHN 8:31

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

Notice that the verse says Jesus was talking to people who already believed.  Therefore being a disciple goes beyond just believing in who Jesus is.   The next step is to continue in his word.  This means more than just reading or knowing the scriptures.  We must apply them to our lives.  This takes us back to the idea of a disciple being a pupil, or someone who is wanting to learn from the teacher.

VERSES MENTIONING DISCIPLES IN THE BOOK OF MATTHEW

Here is the list of all the scriptures that use these 2 words in the book of Matthew (KJV)

Mt 5:1 – And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

Mt 8:21 – And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Mt 8:23 – And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.

Mt 8:25 – And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

Mt 9:10 – And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

Mt 9:11 – And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

Mt 9:14 – Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

Mt 9:19 -And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

Mt 9:37 – Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Mt 10:1 – And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Mt 10:24 – The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.

Mt 10:25 – It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?

Mt 10:42 – And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Mt 11:1 – And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Mt 11:2 – Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

Mt 12:1 – At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.

Mt 12:2 – But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.

Mt 12:49 – And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

Mt 13:10 – And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

Mt 13:36 – Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.

Mt 14:12 – And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Mt 14:15 -And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.

Mt 14:19 – And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Mt 14:22 – And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.

Mt 14:26 – And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.

Mt 15:2 – Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

Mt 15:12 – Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

Mt 15:23 – But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

Mt 15:32 – Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

Mt 15:33 – And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

Mt 15:36 – And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

Mt 16:5 – And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.

Mt 16:13 -When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

Mt 16:20 – Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Mt 16:21 – From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Mt 16:24 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mt 17:6 – And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Mt 17:10 – And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Mt 17:13 – Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Mt 17:16 – And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

Mt 17:19 – Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

Mt 18:1 – At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Mt 19:10 – His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.

Mt 19:13 – Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

Mt 19:23 – Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Mt 19:25 -When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?

Mt 20:17 – And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them,

Mt 21:1 – And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

Mt 21:6 – And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,

Mt 21:20 – And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Mt 22:16 – And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Mt 23:1 -Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

Mt 24:1 – And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.

Mt 24:3 – And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Mt 26:1 -And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,

Mt 26:8 – But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?

Mt 26:17 – Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Mt 26:18 – And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

Mt 26:19 – And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Mt 26:26 – And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

Mt 26:35 – Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Mt 26:36 – Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.

Mt 26:40 – And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?

Mt 26:45 – Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Mt 26:56 – But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

Mt 27:64 – Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Mt 28:7 – And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Mt 28:8 – And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Mt 28:9 – And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.

Mt 28:13 – Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.

Mt 28:16 – Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

JOHN 13:35

The next verse I would like to look at in this study is John 13:35

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Here Jesus points out that love is one of the main aspects of being a disciple.   Notice where this love is directed-  the other disciples!  There are a lot of  Christians today that have a love for God and Jesus but do not love other disciples.  How many people do you know that are Christians that do not go to church or have anything to do with other Christians because of personal differences of opinion or some other dividing factor.  Is this what love is about?  If you look at the preceding verse,  Jesus says the love is kind of love that Jesus has shown to them. Is your love for fellow believers like the love Jesus has shown you?

The other point I would like to make concerning this verse is the idea that we are not secret disciples.  When we are a disciple, the people around us should know that.   The way we love others that lets people know that we are Christians.  We exhibit that love by our speech, the way we treat people, and all other aspects of our Christianity.  It is the type of love should cause people to notice us and wonder why we are different.  If people wonder why, we can tell them.  I think this is especially true in modern America.  In a society that focuses on our own individual desires,  showing true love for our fellow man is on the decline.

That is all I have to say for now.  My next post will be about John 15:8.

JOHN 15:8

The next verse I would like to look at is John 15:8

Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

This verse points out two of the results of being a disciple. The first I would like to discuss is the aspect of bearing fruit.  When you read the earlier part of the chapter, Jesus is discussing being the vine to which we are connected.  He points out that a branch is connected to the vine in order to bear fruit.  This is important to remember because I see many people trying to be fruitful without being connected to Christ. Another  point to remember is that we will bear fruit if we are a disciple.  Jesus also points out the fate of those that do not bear fruit.

The second point I would like to discuss is the aspect of glorifying the Father.  This verse points out that the father is glorified by the disciple being fruitful, not just by being a disciple.  It is what we accomplish because of our relationship with God that glorifies Him, not just the fact that we say we know Him.  How many times do we think we glorify God simply be bearing the name Christian.

That is all I have for now.  The next verse I plan to look at is Matthew 10:24

MATTHEW 10:24

Today I would like to discuss Matthew 10:24

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.”

The first point I would like to make is that there is a definite hierarchy in our relationship with Jesus. He is the master!  While most people today do not claim authority over the master, many people act as if they are his equal.  This is most evident in how we treat Jesus’ teaching.  How many times do we find ourselves saying, ” I do not think that is what God meant”, or we simply ignore what he has to say.  If we are a disciple,  then we truly try to apply all of his teachings to our lives.  A few years ago the phrase “God is my co-pilot” became very popular.  Then some started to say, “Wait,  am I supposed to be equal with God?”.  While the phrase was catchy,  it showed how many people truly viewed their relationship with God.

The second point I would like to make is what Jesus says that leads up to this statement.  In verses 16-23 Jesus warns the disciples of the persecutions associated with teaching his message.  If you are a disciple, be ready for persecution.  This is one of the things that people have a hard time accepting about being a Christian.   While the benefits are beyond compare,  we do have to pay a price!  If we think this is unreasonable, we must remember that Jesus is master.  Since Jesus as the master suffered persecution, it should be no surprise that his disciples will do the same.

The last point I would like to make concerns the second part of the verse.  Along with disciples, we are also referred to as servants.  The earlier part of this chapter deals with the disciple’s mission.  The reason they were persecuted was their teaching of God’s word.  Not only were they disciples,  they were to teach the message so others would become disciples.  Discipleship and service are intertwined when you look at Jesus’ teaching.  Some want to serve but do it their own way.  Others want to act like Jesus but ignore the mission.  Let us not forget that they must go together in order to please God.

LUKE 14:26

Today I would like to look at Luke 14:26 in my ongoing study of discipleship

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

It is easy to see how this verse can cause a lot of problems to the one wanting to be a disciple.  After all, aren’t we supposed to love one another?  Then why should we hate the people the people that are supposed to be the most important people in our lives?  The study I have done on this verse indicates that we do not literally hate our family, but by comparison our love for Jesus should be greater.  I will relate a story I heard several years ago that I think best describes what is meant here.  A young man had just gotten a job and had started a family.  His life was getting very busy so he decided to sit down and prioritize the things in his life.  He came up with the following list

  1. God
  2. Family
  3. Job
  4. Self

After a few weeks he became frustrated because this did not seem to be working.  After time in prayer and study of God’s word he realized this was wrong.  He decided to look at his priorities in the following way;  in his relationship with God, God came first;  in his relationship with his family, God came first;   and so on.   So many times we tend to prioritize the way this man did in the beginning.  The problem with that type of thinking is when you think you have given God his share of time for the week, we forget about Him the rest of the time.

Verse 27 emphasizes the concept of hating one’s own life.  Sometimes we forget the horrible type of death crucifixion is.  To carry your cross not only means giving your life, but also dying in the same manner as a despised criminal.

I hope to begin posting more frequently now that the holidays are over.  My next post will be about the rest of chapter 14 of Luke.

LUKE 14:28-33

My last post dealt with Luke 14:26 and idea of having to hate your family if you truly want to be a disciple.

Verse 27 then points out we have to be willing to bear his own cross in order to be a disciple.

I would now like to talk about verses 28-33

In verses 28-32,  Jesus uses two real world examples to help his listeners understand the full commitment that comes with being a disciple.  The first of these examples deals with counting the cost of building a tower. It points out that we must think about what is involved in becoming a disciple. How many people do we see who begin a relationship with Christ but fall away when things get tough?  This is reminiscent of the parable of the sower and the growth that gets choked out by weeds. Unforunately, many people make a commitment to Christ that is based on an emotional, spur of the moment event.  We need to help people understand that being a Christian is a lifetime relationship.

The tower example also helps us understand the view the world has of those who turn away from the task at hand.  I am sure we all know people who have fallen away and the world has made fun of them, saying they knew they would not stay a Christian when it inconvenienced them in some way.   From the viewpoint of believers it is sad to observe those that give up their relationship with God, especially the farther they are along the journey.

The other example given is of the king getting ready to go to war.  The one point I get from this example is that when you look at becoming a disciple,  it is not to be taken likely.  Some might say they have plenty of resources to build  a tower as we look at the first example.  However,  the second example shows as we look at the situation,  We realize that what we are about to undertake is not a walk in the park but one that we will not succeed at unless we are fully committed to the cause.

Jesus then closes out by going back and reminding those that are planning to be a disciple the attitude that one must have concerning his worldly relationships and possessions.  I hope these thoughts have been helpful to you.

The next verse I will look at is Matthew 9:37

MATTHEW 9:37

Mt 9:37 -Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

Jesus makes the above comment to his disciples after a period of teaching and healing.  During this period he noticed that the people were not happy and had reached a point in their lives that they did not know which way to go.  It then states that he had compassion on the people.  He realized that they would respond to his teaching when they heard it.

This is followed by the observation made to the disciples in Matthew 9:37 concerning the harvest. The are two observations I would like to make on this verse.  The first is the fact that the harvest is plenteous.  What did Jesus observe to make him say there was a plenteous harvest?  He saw people who were desperate and looking for answers.  It reminds me of the world today.  However, most people today think that people are not interested in a relationship with God.  I do not think that is the case.   Based on the amount of self-help books I see and the bookstores I believe a lot of people are looking for answers. It reminded me of a situation on my dad’s farm this year.  Last year we sold the last of our cattle.  This year the pasture had not been used and some of the grass grew to the state that it would have been good hay for someone to get.  However, circumstances led to the point it was not harvested.  So no hay was cut on our farm.  Does that mean there was not a harvest?  No!

That leads to the last part of the verse.  A harvest only takes place when there are laborers for the job!  Jesus recognized even at this point in his ministry was not the fact that people were not interested in His message.  The problem would be for them to hear the message.

In verse 38 we see what Jesus puts forth as the first step in dealing with this shortage of laborers.  That is the prayer for workers.  As I think about the prayers I hear today concerning this subject it seems like we focus on things differently.  I recall many  prayers for our attendance at worship services to grow and a few for current bible studies to go well.  Sometimes we pray for people to the word, but I do no recall prayers for us to go out and gather the harvest that is out there for us to glean.

If you think I am off base on this line of thinking please let me know.

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