Disciple: a follower, one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.
Have you ever done a deep-dive into Jesus Christ’s relationships with the 12 disciples? We recently did, and guess what? Christ’s relationship with His 12 closest followers had an over-arching theme: discipleship! Fancy that! The key component of Christ’s interactions with His disciples was discipleship!
So, now that we have solved that question, we can just close down our computers and go about our day, right? Well, hold on. We have been telling you that we wanted to explore friendships through the example of Jesus, and we began that process last week by looking at Christ’s Inner Circle – the three disciples He related with most closely. We invite you to go back and watch that if you haven’t already.
As we continue to look at Christ’s example in His friendship with the 12, we must ask ourselves: Is discipleship a focus of our friendships? In order to determine that, we need to look closely at the attributes of His relationship with this special group of friends – attributes that we can emulate as we invite others into fellowship.
• Look forward. See others with their future and the world’s in mind. – As Jesus met each man who would become His disciple, He had not only their individual futures in mind, but also their role in carrying His message forward to a world that needed to hear it.
• Look beyond ethnic and political differences. Among the men Jesus befriended was Levi – later named Matthew. As a tax collector, Levi represented the Roman government that had oppressed Jews for centuries; thus, the Jews hated him and men like him. Jesus’s invitation to follow Him showed Matthew and the other disciples that Christ followers invite not just those who we like, but those who are very different from us as well – even our enemies.
• Look prayerfully and protectively. Not everyone that we extend an invitation to will accept it. Some will be hard-hearted from the get-go. For them we keep on praying. Some will be responsive initially, but then may start to succumb to falsehoods and enemy attack. God calls us to protect them by continuing to plant God’s truth in their hearts.
• Look missionally. Look for ways to invite friends into serving the needs of others in the love of Christ. Missions allow a front-row seat to seeing God’s marvelous power and grace in action – in ourselves and those we serve.
• Look expectantly and share widely. We can live each day expecting to see the power and love of God at work in our own lives. Part of having a life that invites is to share with others when those Godly encounters occur. Sharing will increase the faith of the speaker and the listener!
• Look mercifully. We alluded to this last week when we described how Jesus looked beyond the superficial flaws of Peter, James and John to the God-given design they each held deep within. Don’t let the world or worldly behaviors of someone cause you to dismiss discipleship opportunities with them. The gospel of Mark was authored by a man Paul thought would never serve the Church well. But Peter and Barnabas continued to disciple him, and two other gospels – Matthew’s and Luke’s — were largely based on Mark’s writings.
One final note. These attributes of discipleship are written around the word “Look” for two reasons:
1. We hope it will make for an easy way to keep discipleship continually on our minds and also to be purposeful in our actions.
2. We want to encourage ourselves and you to be continually looking. Look for the Spirit’s leading in people to befriend. Then disciple them with their future in mind and their best interests at heart.
We will be praying for you, friends! To God be the glory!
— The Sublime Soiree © May 23, 2021