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What Kind Of Disciple Are You?

                                  What Kind of Disciple Are You?

     Depending upon where you look, slightly different definitions of the word “disciple” can be found.  From a general standpoint, we find:  a) One who embraces and assists in the teaching of another.  b) An active adherent, as of a movement of philosophy.   From a religious viewpoint, disciple is usually associated with being “a personal follower of Jesus during His life, especially one of the twelve apostles.”  

     We are aware that all of these definitions or descriptions fit the term we are examining in this article.  Many have shown themselves to be “disciples” of a given set of beliefs, or thinking, based on how they act or react to that which occurs around them.  But as we respond to the question of the article this week, let’s confine our thoughts to the “disciples” of Jesus.    We know that Jesus had disciples (followers) during His life’s ministry.   We should be aware that one can also be Jesus’ disciple today, many years after His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.  Hence the question all followers of our Lord should ask: “What Kind of Disciple Are You?”

     To answer this, we need only go to God’s Word and see examples of the types of “followers” existing in Jesus’ day, and see where we stand.   There are always those that seek blessings, and for such will “follow after” Jesus. 

In Matthew 9:27 we are told of two followers with a need.  And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. They had a need and Jesus filled that need,albeit a physical one.   They weren’t being selfish.   But today, many seem to be willing to follow, or claim to be a disciple of Jesus, based solely on the temporal blessings they receive.   When the going becomes difficult, or the times get tough, these are the one’s that often forsake Jesus.  Of course, these too will “cry for mercy”, being justly punished for living for themselves and only looking to God when they needed or wanted something from Him.

      Indeed, as we read in Mark 2:15, there were many during Jesus’ time that followed Him.  And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, (Levi the publican’s) many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him.  But we are also told in John 6:66 that some who once followed, did not continue as disciples of Jesus.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.   The “hard sayings” of Jesus made them choose to be disciples no more.    There are some today that no longer continue as disciples because they think the Word of God too hard or that it is too constricting for their desired “lifestyle”.   

      This perhaps causes some today to be the type of disciple Peter was as the Lord was being tried by the Jewish leaders.    Luke 22:54 shows us how Peter followed at that time.   Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest's house. And Peter followed afar off.  Perhaps fear was not Peter’s only motivation for not standing up.   As Matthew 26:58 indicates, He wanted to “wait and see” how it all would turn out before committing fully.  But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end.  Thank God Peter saw his error, wept, then repented and became a diligent “disciple” and served faithfully.    Had he continued to wait he might have lost his soul.

    Today, Christians are to be reminded of 2Peter 2:20 as we examine our own discipleship of Jesus.  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

      We (Christians) should take the attitude of Thomas, one of Jesus’ original disciples, who also became an apostle, as is shown in John 11:16.    Thomas, often called “doubting Thomas” was among the apostles elect as they talked about how the unbelieving Jews of Bethany had sought to stone Jesus. Here, he showed what true discipleship is.  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

      This same discipleship is shown in the Words of Paul as the Spirit had him write to the brethren in Philippi in Philippians 1:20-21According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. 21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

      What kind of disciple are you?  Are you following, seeking only temporal blessings in this life?   Have you ceased being an “active disciple” because the teaching or the circumstances were “too hard”?  Are you just following “afar” off, staying in the peripheral, and not being “too involved”?   Or are you, as a “true disciple”, boldly standing for truth and right, knowing that the reward far exceeds the sacrifice?   What kind of disciple are you?

     Only you can make that choice.   Become a Christian today and continue to serve as His faithful disciple and one day hear the Words from the Lord Himself: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”.  

                                     Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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