April 28, 2015
During the review of a weekly Sabbath school lesson some time ago, some important aspects of discipleship emerged.
- The Hebrew word, from which ‘disciple’ is translated is talmid (the Greek is mathetes) simply means a ‘student’ or ‘pupil’. In this era of time, just about everyone understands what it means to be a student – some of us are academic students for most of our lives. 🙂
- Sometimes using the word disciple limits our understanding. ‘Disciple’ is not a commonly used word… but ‘student’ is. We can then approximate then that a ‘student’ of Christ will be one that is eagerly listening to what He is saying, and is trying to imitate Him. A student is ready to follow his teacher, no matter the sacrifice.
- In Bible times, people were students of only one rabbi, teacher, et cetera. That teacher would teach on all aspects of life – religion, secular affairs, and so on. The benefit of this is that there would be just one voice, rather than many voices – I guess it would be easier to concentrate then.
- Students are tested by the teacher. One of the early tests was when the disciples were told by Jesus to go preach the Kingdom of God, taking nothing with them but a ‘tunic’. “And He said to them, ‘Take nothing for the journey, neither staffs nor bag nor bread nor money; and do not have two tunics apiece.’” (Luke 9:3) I observed that this was a great test of faith, on many levels. Good teachers know that testing is an integral part of learning – as it reinforces principles.
- Paul, James, Peter and John (the disciple) were excellent students. Each of the books that they wrote are seasoned with the words of Christ. It is easy to identify them as Christ’s disciples, because they said exactly what Christ said; they based their counsel or advice on the solid words of Christ, with no deviation/contradiction.
So then, we have some questions to ask ourselves.
– Do we follow Christ? Are we students of Christ?
– Do we say the things that He says?
– Is He our only teacher, or do we have multiple, conflicting voices teaching us?
– Are we sacrificing in order to follow Him?
Lastly, there is a worrying tendency among Christians today; basically, Christians nowadays are attending the ‘courses’ (from Jesus’ teachings) that they like or are in agreement with. For example, everyone loves the fact that Christ is our Mediator for sin (1 Timothy 2:5), and that He loves us (Ephesians 5:2); but how few go on to discover that His ‘love’ involves rebuke and chastening! (Revelation 3:19) How few realise His claims of Lordship (leadership) in our lives, and His commands in terms of dress, diet, and conversation? In every earthly school I know, this method will result in failure.
I am convinced that Jesus isn’t at all amused by this, since we know what it means to be a student in earthly schools: wear the proper uniform, follow the rules, attend all your classes, do your assignments, pass your tests – and then you succeed. Student-ship in the school of Christ is no different.
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“Then to everyone he said, “If anyone wants to come after me, let him say ‘No’ to himself, take up his execution-stake daily and keep following me.”
— Luke 9:23 (CJB)