The following is an excerpt from “The Call,” Book 3 of Disciples Path, a series of resources published by LifeWay. You can check out other resources in this curriculum series at lifeway.com/disciplespath.
A 3-D object is fully formed. It’s not a flat, one-dimensional image or even two-dimensional with only length and width. It’s fully formed with length, width, and depth, and usually lifelike. Jesus never called for some kind of one-dimensional, shallow commitment or lip service. He was looking for fully devoted followers.
As He was walking along the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon, who was called Peter, and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen. “Follow Me,” He told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. Going on from there, He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and He called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.” —Matthew 4:18-22
Let’s use three D’s to define a true disciple of Jesus. A true disciple is:
1. Devoted to Jesus. Jesus said, “Follow Me … and I will make you fish for people!” (Matt. 4:19). Jesus’ favorite invitation was simply, “Follow Me.” He used it 24 times in the Gospels. Jesus called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him, and they dropped everything. He spoke those words to Matthew, the hated tax collector, and Matthew left everything to follow Jesus (see Mark 2:14). The same invitation was extended to Philip from Bethsaida, and he followed Jesus (see John 1:43). He spoke those words to casual observers who praised Him with their words but were unwilling to change their lifestyles (see Luke 9:59-62). He even spoke that invitation to a wealthy, young ruler who chose to hold onto his own money and power rather than follow Jesus (see Mark 10:21-22). Jesus invited everyone to follow Him. But what does it mean to follow Jesus? For starters, it means to be devoted to Jesus by placing your trust and faith in Him for salvation.
2. Developing the attitudes and priorities of Jesus. Jesus saw the potential in these fishermen, but it would take time with Jesus to develop them into trained followers. Over the next two years, they would begin to develop the same attitudes and priories as Jesus.
Love for one another:
By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35
Self denial, even death:
Summoning the crowd along with His disciples, He said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it.'” —Mark 8:34-35
Learning and living the Word of God:
If you continue in My word, you really are My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” —John 8:31-32
Allegiance to Jesus above all other allegiances:
Now great crowds were traveling with Him. So He turned and said to them: ‘If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, and even his own life—he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.'” —Luke 14:25-27
3. Deployed to make disciples who make disciples. Jesus said, “Follow Me … and I will make you fish for people!” (Matt. 4:19). No longer were these men going to settle for just fishing; now they were going to fish for people. From this point forward they were going to be captivated by a greater vision of multiplying disciples and taking the message of Jesus across the globe. And this is the same vision Jesus cast to His disciples throughout all generations.
Jesus came near and said to them, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'” —Matthew 28:18-20
A disciple is a person who is devoted to Jesus, developing the character/priorities of Jesus, and deployed to make disciples who make disciples. A true disciple is devoted, developed, and deployed.
Adapted from “The Call,” Book 3 of the Disciples Path series of resources. © 2015 LifeWay Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.