DAY 1 || Disciples Are Those Who Are WITH JESUS
Read Mark 1:14-19, 3:13-18; John 6:60-70
Disciples are those followers of Jesus who actually follow Jesus. If you are not following Jesus, then you are not a follower of Jesus. In John 6:60-70 there is a larger group of disciples who become irritated about the teaching of Jesus. They don’t like it and they decide to no longer follow Jesus (6:66). At that moment, they ceased to be disciples. Jesus turns to his 12 disciples and asks them if they are going to leave as well. They choose to stay and remain disciples (see why in vs. 68-69). It is a good reason to become and remain a disciple.
The most important theme of discipleship is that of BEING WITH JESUS. Jesus invited people to come and be with him, to come and follow him, to come and do life together with him.
Discipleship is first and foremost not an invitation to an idea or ideology or morality or ritual or anything else. It is above all an invitation to deep relationship with Jesus. Then, in the context of that relationship with Jesus, everything else becomes possible. Never minimize the importance of a growing relationship with Jesus.
Reflect: How close is your relationship with Jesus? What words would you use to describe the current kind of relationship you have with Christ? What words would you like to have describe your relationship with Jesus?Pray: If Jesus asked you the question he asks in John 6:67, what would you say to him and why would you say it the way you did? Spend some time talking with Jesus about your intentions as a follower-disciple.
Day 2 || Disciples Are Those Who LEARN FROM JESUS
Read Matthew 7:13-14; Colossians 1:28-2:3
All first-century discipleship involved learning from a Master—a teacher-rabbi. Students (for that is what disciples are) would become apprentices under a rabbi. The rabbi would teach them how to study the Law and the Prophets.
Rabbi Jesus taught them the Scriptures, but Jesus taught much more than the Scriptures. Jesus taught life. Jesus taught virtue, ethics, and character. Jesus taught emotional, relational, and interpersonal dynamics. Jesus taught spirituality and spiritual practices. Jesus taught intimacy with his Father God. Jesus taught his disciples his Way, his Truth, and his Life.
Jesus was the supremely great teacher. He modeled the way (a powerful leadership principle). He lived what he taught. He walked what he taught. He demonstrated what he believed.
The disciples saw Jesus pray and they said, “Teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4). Jesus taught women. This was unheard of in that day. Jesus taught little children. Unheard of. Jesus taught Samaritans. Again, unheard of. But there was a small group of disciples that Jesus taught most deeply and thoroughly.
To be with Jesus is to be positioned for a holistic, situational, real life, real time, experiential way of learning. With Jesus, every moment of your day is primed to be a teaching moment.
Listen and Notice: Today, as you walk with Jesus, keep your heart open to what he wants to teach you. He will use the daily events to speak his words to you. He will use the experiences of the day to empower you in his Way.
Discern: What are the most important lessons Jesus has moved to the front burner of your awareness? How are you responding to Jesus?
Pray: Pray for wisdom, insight, discernment, and anything you need. Jesus will give you what you need.
Day 3 || Disciples Are Those Who BECOME LIKE JESUS
Read Matthew 16:24-26; 1 Thessalonians 1:6; Ephesians 4:32–5:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17; Philippians 2:5; 3:17; 4:9
The imitation of Christ is one of the most audacious and inspiring themes in all of Apostle Paul’s letters. Paul understood that salvation means we are renewed and restored to the likeness and image of God. That image was ruined in the fall. It is restored by grace.
We are empowered and filled with God’s life. Our inner person is being renewed. We are being transformed from glory to glory. We participate in Christ. We are united to Christ. All this is the basis for the command “Imitate Christ.”
The word Christian means little Christ. In a beautiful way, we are to be like Jesus, think like Jesus, act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, love like Jesus. We reflect Jesus to the world.
In John 12:20-21, some Greeks come looking for Jesus. They want to see Jesus. Today people still want to see Jesus. Today they can and will see Jesus in those who imitate Christ.
Reflect: What are some ways where you think people see Jesus when they look at your life? And what are some parts of your life, that when people see those things, they don’t see Jesus?
Reflect: What is your desire? What do you want? How much do you want to be like Christ?
Persevere: It is a journey and a process. Keep being with Jesus. Keep learning from Jesus. Keep putting into practice everything you learn from Christ.
Day 4 || Disciples Are Those Who WORK ALONGSIDE JESUS
Read Matthew 28:18-20; John 20:19-23
As the Father has sent me, I am sending you… John 20:21
Some of the very first passages you read in this devotional were Mark 1:17 and Mark 3:14-15. In those verses, you see the plan and purpose of Jesus in calling disciples to be with him, learn from him, and follow him. Jesus is looking for missional friends and partners to be about the work of his heavenly Father. Such missional friends will bear much fruit that lasts (see John 15:1-16).
In John 20:19-23, Jesus makes the pattern clear. AS the Father has sent Jesus, SO THEN, Jesus will send out the disciples. The Father sent Jesus on a mission. Jesus sends his disciples on a mission. That mission is to serve, love, help, heal, preach, teach, comfort, challenge, and do all that Jesus did so that people will become followers of Jesus and experience the fullness of salvation.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus tells his disciples they will have his exousia (Greek for power and authority) to do the work of Jesus. That exousia comes from being like Jesus. Being like Jesus comes from learning from Jesus. We learn from Jesus when we are with him. Do you see the pattern and connection? You can’t do the work of Jesus unless you are like Jesus! Jesus will do everything needed so you become like him.
Followers of Jesus follow him into the world he loves. As Scott McKnight wrote: “Those who aren't following Jesus aren't his followers. It's that simple. Followers follow, and those who don't follow aren't followers. To follow Jesus means to follow Jesus into a society where justice rules, where love shapes everything. To follow Jesus means to take up his dream and work for it.”
Pray: Pray that Jesus would change you and empower you to be one of his missional friends, doing his work in the world, making a real difference, and bringing glory to God in all that you do. That is what it means to be a Christian/disciple/follower!
Discover: Find your particular calling to work with Jesus, in your family, your neighborhood, your church, and the world. Be sure to take the Find Your Place Workshop we offer. It will help you discover how God has designed you and help you determine what will be the best ministry for you to do.
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