Jesus said, that one must, continue in the word of God to be his disciple (John 8:31). The word ‘continue’ is used in the context of the word ‘abide’. To abide is to be implanted or grafted. We must be like branches grafted to Jesus, The Vine. We cannot be a disciple of Jesus and not be part of him or let him not be part of us. But how can we know if we are abiding in Jesus or not? The answer is “fruitfulness”. When we abide in Christ Jesus, we shall bear much fruit (John 15:8); the fruit of the Spirit. Our life will be fruitful. In other words, it will be filled with love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, against which there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
Point(s) to ponder:
If we are disciples of Jesus, are we implanted with and in him and bearing much fruit of his Spirit?
John 8:31 (KJV)
31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
John 15:7-8 (KJV)
7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
How can one tell if you are a disciple of Jesus or not? The short answer is “love”. In fact, Jesus expresses, that all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another (John 13:35). But what kind of love must this be? The answer is given by Jesus as well. We must love one another as Jesus loved us (John 13:34). But what kind of love is this that Jesus loved us? He loved us with love that is greater than great love, for great love has one, who is willing to lay down their life for their friends, but while we were still sinners (enemies, not friends of God), Jesus loved us and gave his life for us. In like manner, we must have compassion and be willing to lay down our lives (i.e., be selfless) for one another.
Point(s) to ponder:
Are you a disciple of Jesus? or in other words, “Do you have compassion?”; “Are you willing to lay down your life for the other?” The same are the questions, I ask myself.
John 13:34-35 (KJV)
34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Jesus teaches on discipleship to the multitude that came to hear from him. In order for one to be a disciple of Jesus, Jesus said that one must not only be willing to count the cost, but also be willing to pay it. So what is the cost of being the disciple of Jesus? The short answer is “life” (Luke 14:26). The cost is “everything one has (including one’s life)” that it takes to be a disciple of Jesus (Luke 14:33). While the cost of “life” may seem extreme on the onset, closer scrutiny actually reveals that it is not extreme but equitable. Jesus paid the cost of our salvation with his life and so only “life” can be an equitable exchange for the Savior.
Points to ponder:
Are you/I a disciple of Jesus? In other words, have you/I forsaken all that we have, including our life for Him?
Luke 14:26 (KJV)
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:33 (KJV)
33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
The commission that is given by Jesus for his disciples is to go and teach and baptize in the name of God the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20). The word “teach” here is used in the context of “making disciples”. In fact, many versions of the Bible render this commission as “Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.” In other words, the commission of a disciple is to make disciples.
Apostle Paul taught for a year, the teachings of Jesus in Antioch and the people there came to be known as disciples of Christ Jesus (Acts 11:26). Paul was commissioned to make disciples and that is what he did. The same is true for all of us, who believe in Jesus. We are disciples of Jesus and our commission is to make other disciples of Jesus. This means that we teach with our lips and our lives, that there is only one Master and Lord, who is to be followed and that Lord and Master is Jesus.
Point(s) to ponder:
The question is not, “Are you/I a disciple of Jesus Christ?”, but “Are you/I a disciple of Jesus Christ, that makes disciples of Jesus Christ?”
Matthew 28:19-20 (KJV)
19 Go ye therefore, and teach (make disciples) all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
The disciples of Jesus were called Christians for the first time in Antioch (Acts 11:26). In fact to be a Christian, means “to belong to Christ” or “Christ Ones”. In other words, the disciples belonged to Christ.
In our materialist realm, when we say that, something (say a house or a car) belongs to us, it means that we have paid for it completely. As long as a someone, other than you (like a lienholder) has a claim on that property, you cannot truly say that that property belongs to us. The same is true in our spiritual realm as well. If we are to be called a Christian, then we must belong to Jesus completely. Jesus paid for us in full and so we cannot be encumbered by anyone or anything else, other than Jesus Christ, if we are to be his disciple. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a Christian and to be called a Christian means we are God’s property, paid in full by Jesus and we belong to Christ Jesus.
Point(s) to ponder:
Are you a Christian? In other words, do you belong to Christ i.e., Are you God’s property or can anyone other than Christ Jesus have a claim on your life?
Acts 11:25-26 (KJV)
25 Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.