“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.” John 8:31
Do you call yourself a disciple? Think about it for a minute before you read on.
What does it mean to be a disciple?
The word has come to mean something very different than it did in Biblical times. In some respects, I think it has lost some power. A disciple is someone that is totally committed to his rabbi or teacher. It is a relational arrangement that requires vulnerability and submission on the part of the disciple. It necessitates availability and leadership on the part of the rabbi.
A first century disciple lived with his rabbi for 15 years and strove to become like him in every way possible. In other words, he was all in. Committed. It wasn’t something he added on to who he was, like another activity, but who he actually became. Everything else became a side note.
Today, we take classes on discipleship. Or we read a book – usually good information, but lacking a relational commitment. We seek intellectual assent with a certain set of core beliefs, but miss the call to follow wholeheartedly wherever our teacher leads. We can have head knowledge but lack that passionate drive to become like our teacher, our rabbi.
Those early disciples were willing to follow Jesus even if it meant giving their life. And ultimately, it did.
The life of the disciple isn’t for the comfortable, the curious, or the socially convenient. Let’s reclaim the label of disciple and keep it only for those that are all in – willing to follow Jesus no matter the cost, no matter the path.
I’ve met a few. I want to become one, too.
Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27