In previous weeks of thinking about the theme of discipleship, we have taken the biblical account of Jesus and the Twelve Disciples as the pattern from which we can discern important aspects of discipleship.
Being a disciple of Jesus begins with coming to Him in personal faith. Just as with the Twelve, our discipleship extends from an initial coming to Christ in saving faith to a lifetime of following after Him — going where He leads us to go and doing what He directs us to do.
All the while, we are to live our lives in spiritual fellowship with Him through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. In all of this, we are to be learning from Him as the Master Teacher.
This week we give thought to the added dimension of discipleship as modeled by Jesus and the Twelve, namely, going for Him.
When He chose the Twelve, the account in Luke 6:13 tells us “He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles.”
Whereas the term disciple carries the basic idea of a learner, the term apostle conveys the basic idea of one sent forth.
The key passage about going forth for Jesus is the one we have come to know as the Great Commission. As recorded in Matthew 28:19–20, this matter of going for Jesus is captured in His command to those original Twelve (minus Judas): “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
This command is an awesome and staggering assignment.
In sending His followers forth, Jesus compared them to workers being sent into a field to work. Then He enlarged His meaning by declaring that “the field is the world” (Matt. 13:38).
John Wesley is often cited as one who declared, “The world is my parish.” What was true for him is true for all of Christ’s followers. Together, we have an awesome responsibility coupled with a glorious possibility — getting the good news to everyone everywhere.
For this to happen, many will have to go personally to the nations. Others will participate by helping make it possible for some to go by contributing financially to the support of those who go. All of us also have the responsibility of praying always for those who go.
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