Fresh – Discipleship – What is a disciple?
Sunday 19th January 2020
With Peter Veysie
Matthew 4: 18-22 – Col 1:3-14
8am and 10am
Background to discipleship
One of the questions I have been asking myself is this : What would it take for people to completely follow Jesus Christ? When the first disciples followed the Lord and who were they ? Adam and Eve, there was perfect harmony and unity until such time that sin intervened. We can go on and on with the characters and stories in the bible and it seems that in most cases there is this absolute devotion and love and commitment to serve God and in only a few cases do they get it right for the whole of their lives. My understanding is that discipleship is not easy. Fast forward to the time of Jesus and we see that there is an understanding amongst the people that it was a really high honor to be called out to follow a Rabbi. To be in a school of the rabbi meant to be chosen and most of them had to do with your standing in the community. But Jesus in his 30th year and remember that you could only become a Rabbi in your 30th year and in order to be one you would need to witness who would confirm your calling (in the Methodist church we have presbyters or mentors and mine were Mvume Dandala and Costa Stathakis along with my Dad).
Jesus had John and his heavenly Father at His baptism. (another long question for another day is as to why Jesus was baptized ?) I think the most important part of being a disciple is the questions we are asking but we will get to that. Let’s get back to the beach.
The call of the first dispels of Jesus
In Matthew 4:18-22pp — Mk 1:16-20; Lk 5:2-11; Jn 1:35-42. We will follow the story in Matthew
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Jesus goes down into this trading area and walks along the beach.
He sees two brothers – now just pause and thin for a minute about this. For the father to have two sons in the fishing business meant that he would have had a thriving industry – not quite I&J but almost.
They are at work and busy with their profession. It’s interesting to me that Jesus does not have a long conversation with them and yet there is an immediate connection, which tells me that they knew about him already and His schmeka – authority. He was no stranger to the people of Galilee and a recognized Rabbi – teacher. One with Schmeka could preach and give insight into the law.
The journey towards becoming a Rabbi
Age 6 – The Bet Sefar – school of the book – recite the book of Leviticus
Age 6- 12 Recite the Torah – first five books of the Bible.
Ages 12 -18 – Bet Telmud – Discipleship school under a Rabbi
Ages 18 – 30 – Rabbi school to be trained as a rabbi
Age 30 – two witnesses needed for you to become a Rabbi. Jesus had John and his Father – This is my son with whom I am well pleased.
Jesus chooses those outside of the Rabbi’s schools and he goes to the beach.
As I have said many times before it is possible that the reason these two brothers Peter and Andrew were not in Rabbi school is because they possibly either had not been chosen or had an obligation to their earthly father to secure the business for the future. This would be a huge thing for them to be recognized and called by a Rabbi and so when Jesus calls them to come and make fishers of people (I am not so happy with the translation above – “fish for people” because disciple making as we will learn is much more than this). The fishing rod vs just handing out fish.
The powerful shift into discipleship. One of the craziest moments in our lives is when we make a commitment to Jesus. I am sure you can recall that deep wonderful beautiful moment when you said yes to the Lord and your life turned around. I could spend an hour just on this but during this series I am trusting that some will share their testimonies. It was at this at once moment that you “left your nets” so to speak and decided to follow Jesus. A powerful transition in time when you knew a deep first love that you didn’t have before. Your senses came alive and you were suddenly deeply in love with God – your prayer life took off and you started to see the need to join a church and a home group. You wanted to tell others about what had happened to you and it felt like you were compelled to share.
Then slowly but surely the nets of the world slowly lured you back into them again and you lost that first passion. You fell back into the routine of life and it was all just a distant memory.
The Sons of Thunder
Jesus calls upon twelve men to become His apostles in Mark 3. Amid the twelve are “James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges- pronounced “bone urges”, which means “sons of thunder”)” (Mark 3:17). This is the sole location in the Bible that references the name of Zebedee’s sons as the “Sons of Thunder.” You don’t get a nickname like Sons of Thunder for no reason. But that is how Jesus’ disciples, James and John, were known. They were rough-hewn guys—amazing, colorful characters. They would not back away from a confrontation. In fact, they might even have looked forward to one. They could be very aggressive. And they also could be very insensitive.
The art of being a disciple
What does it mean to be a disciple?
The term “disciple” originally means a pupil (of a teacher) or an apprentice (to a master craftsman). Many people believe they have become disciple
A disciple is another word for a follower of Christ, one who is learning to be like his Master. As a disciple you follow Jesus Christ, who is the Master and by living like Him you become more like Him. (Matthew 16:24; 1 Peter 2:21-22) …
Indeed, we were dead in our trespasses, yet through forgiveness He made us alive together with Him. (Colossians 2:13) However, forgiveness of sin is not discipleship. Once we have received atonement for our sin and are reconciled with God through Jesus’ death, we come to the starting point in following Jesus’ example in His life.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” Luke 6:40. A disciple of Jesus enters a life-long learning process to live the same life as Jesus lived. The life of Jesus is the perfect expression of God’s will.
Throughout His life, He personally went through a training process to do God’s will instead of His own.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8.
Jesus had to learn to discern God’s will and had to learn obedience. (Hebrews 5:7-8) His whole life, He said, “Not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42; Hebrews 10:5-7) Each day He was tempted in all points as we are. (Hebrews 4:15) Yet He chose to humble Himself and suffer in the flesh (deny His self-will, the demands from sin in the flesh), instead of giving in to sin. (Philippians 2:8; 1 Peter 4:1) As a result of this incredible faithfulness, He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth. He never fell out of love, purity and goodness! This is the teacher, the forerunner whom disciples have as their example, to follow in His footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21-22)
(For more about the Jesus’ life, read the topic: Christ Manifested in the flesh.)
10 attributes of a disciple:
- Identity in Christ Phil 1
- Journey Luke 9 and 10
- Listening prayer Pray in the Spirit Ephesians 6:18
- Deep connection 2 Tim 2:2
- Authentic community Hebrews 10:24-25
- Intergenerational Jer 31
- Risk based Hebrews 11:6
- Waking up to the crisis. Wake up O sleeper and rise from the dead. Ephesians 5:14
- Kingdom dreaming – imagine a different outcome as Jesus does. Matthew 4:17
- Three-year process and sometimes longer – Jesus and His disciples. At once yes but we all know that it takes time to learn and we should all have a big “L” learner sign on our backs !!!Seven questions :
- Up until this point in your life would you call yourself a follower of Jesus? Why do you say that? Do you see evidence of your faith as described in Luke 6:40
- How do you understand grace and faith when it comes to discipleship?
- If you had to evaluate your faith how is Jesus Lord of your life?
- How are you exercising the discipline of learning and loving as a disciple?
- What is the cost of following Christ for you?
- What holds you back from following Jesus?
- Spend time in prayer and pray for each other in the areas of discussion.
- Please note that it is not necessary to go through all the questions.