“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
In Christianity, the term disciple primarily refers to students of Jesus and is found only in the New Testament in the Gospels and the book of Acts. The New Testament records many followers of Jesus during His ministry, but only some became disciples.
Vine’s New Testament Word Search defines the Greek word (mathetes) that is translated “disciples” as a learner. It denotes ‘one who follows one’s teaching’. A ‘disciple’ was not only a pupil, but a believer; an obedient servant to his teacher. “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
Disciples begin as followers of Jesus at their new birth (born again believers), and they quickly learn that to grow in Christ requires time with Him. Just like Jesus spent time with the Father, a disciple quietly spends time with Jesus in prayer (Mark 1:35; Matthew 14:23; Luke 6:12). Disciples pay attention and learn from the Lord through His Holy Word. Moreover, disciples of Jesus are not obsessed by gifted men and women of the faith. They respect and learn from these seasoned leaders, but only for the purpose of growing in their devotion to Jesus Christ. Disciples are called and commanded to follow God, not man. Like John the Baptist, humble and wise Christian leaders take the focus off themselves and point people to Jesus.
John the Baptist said: “He [Jesus] must increase, but I [John] must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Jesus’ apostles and disciples learned from Him as they lived with Him for more than 3 years. What a blessing it would have been to have Jesus to be your Bible school professor for three years. Jesus taught them by the Holy manner in how He lived, meaning by His example. He instructed them by word, and they asked Him questions.
They asked about scripture (Matthew 17:10), about what He meant by what He had said (Luke 8:9), about how to live (Mark 10:10), about their failures (Mark 9:28), and about His will (Luke 9:54). As His disciples we are to do the same by searching the Scriptures, learning from wise and godly counsel and spending much time in prayer. Remember what Jesus taught us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). When we ask for wisdom, discernment and knowledge He is so gracious to give it to us through His Holy Spirit.
Christ’s disciples are to “bear much fruit.” What did Jesus mean by “fruit”? What kind of “fruit” does a disciple produce? How does a disciple’s fruit glorify God the Father? He said: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)
Just as a child learns as he grows we also learn, as we grow in Jesus. Growing and maturing in Christ is becoming more like Jesus every day. Just as His early disciples accepted Jesus’ invitation to come and learn and walk with Him, Jesus invites us to come and do the same. Therefore; as disciples of the Savior we need to spend time with Him and listen to His voice.
As we learn and mature in Christ we are to invest time in those around us to help them grow in their faith. God through His Holy Spirit makes us disciples to be facilitators in other’s faith development. We are to search the Scriptures together for God’s answers to life’s questions. Disciples are made by their Maker to grow with each other and remain faithful.
Just like Paul after preaching the gospel and returning to Lystra, Iconium and Antiochin we are to strengthen new disciples and encouraged them to remain true to the faith. (Acts 14:22)
Disciples are trained by the Holy Spirit to follow the Spirit’s leading. They learn to make much of their master Jesus and make less of themselves. Disciples schooled by the Spirit bear the fruit of the Spirit and they are made to invite others to meet their Savior Jesus Christ.
We are to go and make disciples wherever God has called us and we are to baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit once they understand, have accepted what Jesus Christ has done for them and you can see a definite transformation in their life.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’ Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32