What is a disciple?
A disciple is basically the pupil of a teacher.In the rabbinical writings the disciple is the pupil of a rabbi from whom he learned traditional lore. In the Greek world philosophers were likewise surrounded by their pupils. Since pupils often adopted the distinctive teaching of their masters, the word came to signify the adherent of a particular outlook in religion or philosophy.
The Jews considered themselves to be ultimately disciples of Moses (Jn 9:28) since his teaching formed the basis of rabbinic instruction. The followers of John were known as his disciples (Mk 2:8). Likewise the followers of Jesus were also called disciples.
According to Luke, the members of the early church were known as disciples (Acts6:1).
Christian discipleship is a concept that was born when Jesus hand-selected His first followers. Jesus chose 12 men to be his close friends, three of whom were even closer and with whom He shared even more. His disciples were those who followed Him while He was on earth as well as after He’d ascended into heaven.
Christian discipleship began the day after Jesus was baptised (John 1:35-39) According to this passage, the first two men to follow Him heard John the Baptist declare that Jesus was the Lamb of God. Andrew and his friend (probably John) believed what they heard and followed Jesus. Before long they were telling others about this amazing Man of God!
Andrew recruited his brother Simon; the next day Jesus found Philip in Galilee; Philip found Nathaniel. Not everyone came easily or willingly at first. However, before long Jesus had a group of disciples.
He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with Him and that He
might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. (Mk 3:14-15)
Christian discipleship is summed up in the Great Commission. After the resurrection and before He ascended into Heaven, Jesus appeared one last time to His disciples to give them one final instruction for the way forward :
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples
of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you
always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20)
Christian discipleship continued to grow when the followers of Jesus gathered in Jerusalem. These men now filled with the Holy Spirit, began to spread the word of who Jesus was and what He’s done. More and more people became disciples of Jesus as the original 11 shared their experiences with others and taught them more about Jesus.And the church was born.
Jesus’ words “go and make disciples of all nations….teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” , show us exactly what He wanted us to do: to tell others about Him and, when they decide to make Him Lord of their lives, to teach them to obey all He’d said.