God's people seem to have the term confused.
Mark 1:16-20 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, "Come, follow Me, and I will show you how to fish for people!" 18 And they left their nets at once and followed Him.
19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee's sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed Him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
In today's scripture I see the first time that Jesus invited somebody to "Come, follow me" break away from the typical, ordinary life and choose to become a follower of Christ. These guys were familiar with the concept of being a disciple, all the big religious groups of the day had disciples, even John the Baptist had disciples (Matthew 9:14). Jesus had a different lesson plan for his disciples, they were going to learn how to "fish for men."
Webster's dictionary says that a disciple is:1. A learner; a scholar; one who receives or professes to receive instruction from another; as the disciples of Plato.
2. A follower; an adherent to the doctrines of another. Hence the constant attendants of Christ were called his disciples; and hence all Christians are called his disciples, as they profess to learn and receive his doctrines and precepts.
Easton's Bible Dictionary says that a disciple of Christ is one who:1. believes His doctrine,
2. rests on His sacrifice,
3. receives His spirit,
4. imitates His example.
Jesus invitation wasn't an invitation to become worshippers, tithe givers or workers. He didn't invite these guys to become nice, care about others, he didn't ask them to be lovers of the Bible, or church goers rather he only invited them to be his students. Too often in our churches we try to find all of those other people but there isn't any place in the Bible that tells us to go and make anybody be anything other than a disciple.
If we attempt to qualify a disciple by saying that he has to be loving, kind, a tither, a church goer or a teacher then we are saying that at some point a new Christian crosses over to being a disciple after he has accomplished a certain degree of growth.
We must be careful that we don't get a check list mentality and stick with the basic definition of a disciple as being a student that is learning about Jesus teachings and applying what God has revealed to him.
I want to continue to learn from Jesus teachings and do a better job of being a man that is:
- Called To Walk With Christ
- Equipped To Live Like Christ
- Sent To Work For Christ
For more on What is a Disciple? from "Man In The Mirror"