You don’t need to have a lot of different qualifications to disciple someone else. The original twelve disciples were just ordinary, unschooled men, you just have to be following and obeying Jesus Christ in your own life and be willing to help someone else do the same. To be a disciple of Jesus doesn’t require attending a certain church, participating in a certain Bible study or praying a certain way. But it does require doing the things of the Kingdom, just as the 12 disciples did. They were sent by Jesus to cast out demons, heal the sick, and proclaim the good news that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.
Matthew 10:5-15, 5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead,[a] cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 And when you go into a household, greet it. 13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!
The responsibility of the disciple hasn’t changed. We are still called to do these things alongside of other believers by sharing the Gospel in our communities as well as praying for the sick and hurting. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. All of us have sinned and deserve judgment, Salvation is deliverance from sin and its consequences, believed by Christians to be brought about by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus never sinned He lived the Law of God perfectly, because Jesus Christ never sinned, He has a perfectly righteous standing before God.
When the corrupt Jewish leaders forced Rome’s hand into crucifying Jesus, God used this crucifixion as the means to place the sins of the world upon Jesus. He took the punishment for our sins, on our behalf. Those of us who follow Jesus, discipleship should be a central aspect of our faith. Jesus commanded His followers in what is commonly known as “The Great Commission” to go and make disciples of everyone throughout all nations. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:18-20).
This is not a suggestion that Jesus makes, it is a command. Put simply, discipleship means intentionally partnering with another Christian in order to help that person obey Jesus and grow in relationship with Him. So that he or she can then help others do the same. Jesus taught His disciples to follow Him and obey His commands so that they could lead others to do the same after His death, resurrection and ascension. The Apostle Paul continues the pattern with Timothy and encourages him to keep the cycle going: “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2) Salvation is free, but discipleship will cost us our lives. Jesus put it bluntly, whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? (Luke 9:23-25)
- To be a disciple of Jesus means that we have given up our lives in order to follow Him wholeheartedly and unreservedly. It means that our lives are no longer our own they are His.
- While discipleship is all about Jesus, it’s not a solitary endeavor. Discipleship is relational, and to fully respond to the Great Commission, we need to be disciples who are making disciples of Jesus. This means we need to spend consistent time with other believers.
- Jesus and His disciples spent a lot of time together (Acts 1:21-22). They ate together, walked together, rode in boats together. They even fought together (Luke 9:46-48). The 12 disciples were in one another lives, constantly and intentionally.
- While we are all called to become disciples of Jesus, we become disciples with one another, learning how to love God and each other as we go. We need to allow others to disciple us by letting them challenge us and encourage us in our walk with God. This is why church and honest relationships with other believers are so central to the Christian life—we need one another in this journey of becoming wholehearted disciples of Jesus.
- Discipleship Isn’t Mentoring.
- As we allow others into our lives and let them help us obey Jesus, we also need to reach out and disciple others. But that doesn’t mean we are mentoring others.
- Mentoring has to do with what the mentor can offer to someone else through their own wisdom and experience; discipleship has to do with what Jesus can offer to someone else through His wisdom and presence.