If you are a Christian, you are a disciple of Christ. A disciple is one who has come under the instruction and guidance of another. A disciple is one who is trained for understanding and life. A disciple is a learner. To be a disciple of Jesus, we must come to Jesus as our great Instructor in the only way possible. We come to be under the training and instruction of Christ not just as a mentor but as our Savior and Lord. The disciple of Christ can only accept the training of Christ when we know that our training happens because Christ is the way, the truth and the life and the only way of reconciliation with God. Even the training and instruction of Christ commences at the cross.
As a disciple of Christ, we often ask the question that every new Christian asks. How must I now live? What is the call of a disciple? Often when we talk about our Christian life we talk about holiness and Christian disciplines. We talk about prayer and bible reading and fellowship in the body and all the wonder and riches that go with them. These are all very important factors of the Christian life as we seek to please Christ. There is an aspect of being a disciple that many of us may not feel so comfortable with. A disciple, disciples, and a big part of discipleship is teaching. Let’s hear it from one of the most regularly quoted verses in Scripture.
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Under the authority of Christ, we are commanded to firstly make disciples and do so indiscriminately with global focus. The first command in the great commission is to go and make. A disciple is one who is active in the intentionality of explaining to others the only way to become a disciple of Jesus and know eternal forgiveness of sin. This means that even in the making of disciples that we need to teach people how to become one. As soon as we say the word “teach,” many people become uncomfortable. We may not all see ourselves as a teacher, but Jesus is clearly showing here that being a teacher of the gospel is par for the course in being a disciple. We are to make it our mission to teach the gospel.
After seeing someone make public confession of their salvation in Christ through baptism, Christ also says that disciples are to teach this new Christian to know the Scriptures and obey them until the day we die or Christ returns. Again, we are to teach. A disciple is one who has learned the truth of Christ to share the truth of Christ with others. We are to keep learning the truth of Christ to help others to know how to live for Christ, how to obey his word, how to understand his word and how to grow in his image. Of course, this does not happen because we simply teach people, but because of the way the Holy Spirit grows us through the application of his word. All the same, for many of us, there is an aspect of being a disciple that seems uncomfortable. Disciple’s, all disciples, teach.
Yet again we find in the Scriptures that our calling in Jesus is not always comfortable. Disciples are not simply those who are a saved version of the normal human being seeking a comfortable life. Disciples are those who pursue the calling of Christ in obedience to his will even when it takes us out of our comfort zone. When we understand that our pursuit as a disciple is based on Christ’s calling for us to instruct others in becoming and living as a disciple, this should have impact in our life. We take the calling seriously and prepare ourselves to live out the calling before us. We study God’s word. We seek counsel from other mature disciples. We practice our own obedience in spiritual disciplines. And…. we put it in place by doing the things we don’t want to do when we don’t want to do them. You don’t want to teach someone how to be a disciple? Well, unfortunately that option is not on the table. A disciple, disciples.