4. What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Jesus? Notes
What Does It Mean to be a Disciple of Jesus?We will begin by looking at what Matthew wrote about what Jesus did at the beginning and the endof His earthly ministry.Matthew 4:19 (NLT)“Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Most of the time when Jesus calledmen to be His disciples He said simply, “Follow Me”.Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father andthe Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?First of all, a disciple of Jesus is someone who believes the gospel message that Jesus died fortheir sin and rose again. This results in them turning from their rebellion against God back to Himand giving Him His rightful place in their heart and lives and putting their trust in Jesus and all thatHe did in order for them to be reconciled and restored to God.They then accept Jesus’ invitation to follow Him, to be His disciple and they join with others whohave also become disciples of Jesus.Meaning of “Disciple”The word “disciple” came from the Greek word Μαθητής – mathētēs (math-ay-tes’) and it meanslearner, apprentice and follower.The idea of being a disciple was not exclusive to those who followed Jesus. John the Baptist haddisciples, so did Paul, even the Jews of Jesus’ day considered themselves to be disciples ofMoses. The ancient Greek philosophers and the leaders of the mystery religions also haddisciples.Customarily, disciples left home and moved in with their teacher, who provided their food andlodging. The disciples became his servants and were under his total authority.The emphasis on discipleship was not just on formal school learning, but also included fellowshipwith the teacher. Disciples derived not only information from their teacher but also inspiration.They lived with their teacher and carried on the tradition of their teacher. After he died they taughtthe same things that he did to their own disciples. Having disciples was the main means ofperpetuating teaching in the ancient world, since many great teachers wrote no books.This understanding of what a disciple was in ancient times helps us to see that a disciple is notonly one who is just a learner but someone who has a intimate relationship with the teacher. Theyexperience life together, they spend time together and through their interaction the disciplebecomes more and more like his teacher.Being a Disciple According to JesusIn order to really understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus we need to take a look atwhat He said makes someone His disciple.
Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father andthe Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have givenyou...Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for thegospel will save it.Luke 6:40 (NKJ)A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.Luke 14:25-27, 33 (NIV)Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: “If anyone comes to me anddoes not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow mecannot be my disciple… In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you havecannot be my disciples.John 8:31-32 (NIV)To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really mydisciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 13:35 (NIV)By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.John 14:15-16 (NIV)If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you anotheradvocate to help you and be with you forever—John 15:7-8 (NIV)If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done foryou. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.Summary of what it takes to be a disciple according to Jesus 1. Denies self, carries cross and follows Jesus. 2. Loves Jesus more than anything else, including life itself. 3. Obeys and holds on to what Jesus taught. 4. Loves other disciples. 5. Bears much fruit. 6. Becomes like Jesus.What did Peter and Paul say that also helps us to understand what a disciple is?1 Peter 3:15 (NIV 1984)But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord...Reminds me of a good quote by Paul Tripp- “The fundamental difference between the kingdom ofGod and the kingdom of self is captured by one question. Who resides at the center?” 2
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you havereceived from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God withyour bodies.2 Corinthians 5:15 (NKJ)and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who diedfor them and rose again.Galatians 2:20 (NIV) - The Disciple’s CreedI have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live inthe body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.In addition to learning what it means to be a disciple of Jesus from what He said we can also learnwhat a disciple is from looking at how Jesus lived.What Did Jesus Do? 1. He did the will of the Father not His own, He denied himself. 2. He depended on the power of the Holy Spirit through the Father. 3. He studied and meditated on the Word of God. 4. He spent time alone in prayer with the Father. 5. He loved others sacrificially; He gave of Himself to help others. 6. He proclaimed the gospel and called people to repent and turn back to God. 7. He made disciples; He spent time helping others to grow spiritually.Jesus Invites YouJesus invites you to die to self and follow Him. The life of a disciple of Jesus is not easy but it is alife full of adventure and blessings as you learn to trust and obey Jesus. 3