“He (Jesus) appointed twelve … to be with him…” Mark 3:14
Jesus had many listeners but only a few disciples. Even today relatively many hear about him but only a few know him personally! What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus, today? What do you think?
A disciple is more than a pupil or a student. Most dictionaries define ‘disciple’ as ‘a follower’ of a teacher, or leader. Someone who believes in the ideas of the leader. A pupil needs to learn only a predefined subject material, which is only a segment of the whole, and they are not required to believe in it. A disciple had to assimilate with their master’s worldview, and ideals. Today pupils or students spend only a short time with their teachers. In Jesus’ time a disciple literally lived together with their master for years, followed them wherever they went, they were involved in everything the master got involved. They received not just the master’s teaching but also witnessed the master’s behaviour, the ways how the master lived out their ideas in daily life, how they applied it to particular circumstances. It was so with the twelve, the gospels give plenty of evidence how they went where Jesus went, they got involved in the things Jesus was attending to. Because of the continuous togetherness they got assimilated to the master, to Jesus. Jesus also reminded them that they are to act as he was acting – that’s how people will recognise them as Jesus’ disciples (cf. John 13:34-35)!
Jesus called his disciples for this purpose, to be with him and then becoming like him they will be sent out to proclaim Jesus’ message and do Jesus’ acts of love. This is the order, first being together with Jesus, becoming a spiritual unity with him, then going out in his strength and love serving in His name.
The big personal question is: Are you a listener or a disciple? A listener, a pupil can preserve their distance, independence, neutrality to the teacher. They just study the material taught to them. A disciple on the other hand is a committed person. They take in and accept the teaching and try to implement it as a way of life. They make it their own! They remain faithful to the master and the teaching no matter what.
So, are you a listener or a disciple? Do you have only knowledge about Jesus, or do you know Jesus personally? Are you seeking spending time with Jesus only occasionally (Easter, Christmas), or are you in a daily fellowship with Jesus? Is your life beginning to resemble the life of Jesus? That’s a sign of becoming an actual disciple!
One needs to become truly His disciple here in this world and this life to be able to enjoy eternal fellowship with Him in glory!
Lord, Jesus, help me to follow you always not just listen to you!