Defining Disciple

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means “sons of thunder”), Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot,

Mark 3:13-19

This is the passage in Mark 3 where Jesus chooses the 12 disciples who would eventually become the apostles of the early church. If a brand new believer were to read this passage and one were to ask them, “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus today,” what would be their reply? Taken directly from this passage, this might be their response.

A disciple is:

1. called/invited by Jesus to follow Him (and they say “Yes!”).

2. to “be with” Jesus.

3. sent out to preach the gospel.

4. given authority to do the works that Jesus did (including driving out demons).

We see something very similar in a related passage of scripture in Matthew’s Gospel.

Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Matthew 10:1-8

If a brand new believer were to read this passage in Matthew and one were to ask them, “What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus today, ” what would be their reply? Taken directly from this passage, this might be their response.

A disciple is:

1. called/invited by Jesus to follow Him (and they say “Yes!”).

2. given authority to do the works that Jesus did (including driving out demons and healing every kind of disease and sickness).

3. sent out to proclaim the message of the Kingdom.

4. commanded to freely receive from the Lord and then freely give to others.

Can you see the pattern? Can you see the similarity?

There seems to be four main component parts of being a disciple. First, we are invited to surrender our lives to following Jesus, and we say “Yes” to Jesus with our whole life.

Secondly, we are invited to just “be with” Jesus so that, in the midst of increasing intimacy with Him, we can freely receive from Him. Because we freely receive, we can turn and freely give.

Third, there is an aspect of our life that includes the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the good news of the gospel declared with our words.

Fourth, we have the authority of Jesus to enact the demonstration of the Kingdom of God, the good news of the gospel shown through our actions. We have authority to do what Jesus did.

Are all four of these aspects of being a disciple of Jesus part of our own life? Are we missing one or two? If we’re missing something, ask the Lord to show you what it looks like to take the next step.

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