Friday, July 4, 2008
“The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. ”
What is discipleship? Who is a disciple? A disciple is a student or a learner. Someone who studies under a teacher is a disciple. As we seek to follow and learn from Jesus, we are students of Jesus, we are disciples of Him. He is the Great Teacher and we are his pupils. We as Christian are disciples.
Wikipedia notes that the word disciple appears two hundred and thirty two times in the four gospels and the Book of Acts. The Greek word disciple (3101), according to the Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon, appears two hundred and sixty-eight times. This trumps the word Christian, which only appears around three times, like in Acts 11:26: "the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." This term Christian was first used to describe those known to be disciples, or followers of Jesus. The other two occurrences in the New Testament are Acts 26:28 and 1 Peter 4:16. These occurrences refer to the public identity of those who follow Jesus and His teachings.
The Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament describes a disciple this way: “27.16 μαθητήςb, οῦ m: (derivative of μανθάνωa ‘to learn, to be instructed,’ 27.12) a person who learns from another by instruction, whether formal or informal—‘disciple, pupil. ‘No pupil is greater than his teacher; but every pupil, when he has completed his training, will be like his teacher’ (Luke 6.40). ” In plain terms, we are learners of Jesus and in the end we will look like and be more like Jesus.
Paul taps into this idea of discipleship and beautifully describes a portrait of it in his letter to the Colossians in chapter two, verses two through four:
“I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery! I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or “the Secret.”
A disciple is someone who looks like their teacher. They are woven into the fabric of the tapestry of the teacher’s lesson. In this case that lesson is the gospel message of love. This love is none other than God Himself. A disciple is in tune with everything that the teacher is instructing them. In this case the instruction is everything that there is to know about God. A disciple is confident, secure, and at peaceful rest with the message of their teacher. They are focused on the lesson. In this case, and as it pertains to Christianity, the lesson is Christ Himself. There is nothing greater according to Paul in these verses of scripture than the wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ who has been fully revealed to us. A disciple follows this revelation of God in Jesus Christ and is not led astray by false teachers. We don’t have to look any further and we don’t have to look anywhere else.
May we not follow after a cheaper imitation or be misled by the world’s false teachers.
As true disciples, may we look like our teacher who is none other than Jesus Christ: God incarnate.
Sitting at His Feet,
The Holy Bible : King James Version. electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version. Bellingham WA : Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1995, S. Lk 6:40
Louw, Johannes P. ; Nida, Eugene Albert: Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament : Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York : United Bible societies, 1996, c1989, S. 1:327
Peterson, Eugene H.: The Message : The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, Colo. : NavPress, 2002, S. Col 2:2-4