The Mustard Seed
Becoming Jesus' Disciple
One of the last things that Jesus said to His Eleven Disciples shortly before He ascended back to heaven was this:
"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 and the 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.: (Matthew 28:18-19 NLT)
Today we call these final verses in the Gospel of Matthew "The Great Commission." The Eleven to whom Jesus gave this command have long since died -- most, possibly all, died as martyrs for Christ. But the command did not die with them. Christ has passed it on to us. Now to us He says, "Go and make disciples..." But before we can help other people become His disciples, we must (1) understand what a disciple of Christ is and does, and (2) we must become His disciples ourselves.
This past summer at Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf we have studied God's Word about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. Now we will summarize some of our discoveries for our university students (and anyone else who finds this helpful).
The first problem we encounter is: How should we sign the word "disciple?" Some folks sign "follower." Many sign "follow" with a double-D handshape. The problem here is the New Testament Greek word μαθητής (pronounced "math-ay-TASE") which we translate as "disciple" does not come from the verb that means "follow." Rather, it comes from a word that means to teach, train, instruct, equip. The mathetes eagerly receives that training with the goal of becoming like the one who is training him/her. "Student" is a fair translation. "Devoted student" is more accurate. Your university professors hope to inspire you to become their disciples, their devoted learners. They want you to not merely acquire their knowledge, but they hope you will absorb their passion for their field. Our goal in life is to become devoted disciples of Christ, to become like Him. Only then will we be able to help others also become His disciples, too.
#1. Disciples of Jesus are totally committed to Him.
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand (Google that name, if you don't already know his amazing story) often said that many Christians come to Jesus, not as His disciple, but as His customer, simply to get something from Him. When you go to a bakery to buy a loaf of bread, you do not become the baker's disciple. You are merely his customer. But if you want to become the baker's disciple, you would quit your job, work with the baker all day, every day, and learn all you can from him about his craft.
We come to Jesus to get forgiveness and salvation, as we must. ...and oh, yes, we have other things we also want from Him -- good health, financial security, a happy family, and world peace. But in all these things, we often act like we are His customers, not His disciples.
When Jesus first called His Twelve Disciples, they left everything for Him. Peter and Andrew, James and John, left their family fishing business to become "fishers of men." Levi (a.k.a. Matthew) left his very profitable tax office in favor of the true riches of knowing Christ. Their commitment to Jesus was total surrender of everything they were, everything they had, and everything they could hope to do. Like their ancestor Abraham, they followed, not knowing where or how their Lord would lead them.
Along the way they met others who asked to join them. "But first," said the new volunteers, "let me go and..." (take care of some other personal business). In other words, "Jesus, I will follow you... later." Jesus always had an answer to these procrastinators, in which He alerted them to the danger of putting anything ahead of Him in their daily priorities. (See Luke 9:57-62 for specific examples.)
The customer asks, "What can Jesus do for me?" But the disciple asks, "What can Jesus do through me?"
To view live Signed Sunday morning worship, click here
You are invited to Christ Lutheran Church of the Deaf in Silver Spring
a couple blocks south of the Metro Red Line Forest Glen Station
Sunday Worship: 9:30AM
in Ely 118.
Drop in and introduce yourself!!
Pastor Ron Friedrich