What does it mean to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ?
”Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matt. 28:19-20
This famous portion of Scripture is known as The Great Commission. It is the last great command of Jesus before ascending into heaven. The Church has looked upon it as its “marching orders” ever since.
This is a call to discipleship, to being a true follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not interested in those who “believe” but continue on in their own ways. [In fact, that is not true belief because what we really believe we will act upon.] We are to teach [and do!] all the things which He commanded us. This includes the entire Bible, not just the gospels, as Jesus is the ultimate Author of all of it.
True followers sit at the feet of the Master Jesus, like Mary, study His every movement and word and then begin to live according to it. They do not question whether the Master is right or wrong, their goal is to understand and imitate. To question the correctness of the Master is to sit in judgment over Him and claim, by implication, to be greater than the Master. True followers may question the correct way to implement something in a given situation, but they never doubt the Master’s Word that it should be done.
A true follower of Christ is concerned with obedience to the Master’s Words. He is not concerned with the consequences. His trust is in the Master. He knows that if he obeys then the consequences are in his Master’s hands no matter whether he perceives them as negative or positive. It is not his job to figure everything out or even understand it. One simple objective is all he sees: To become like the Master through obedience to the Master - although knowing he will never become the Master.
It may be a “simple objective” but the road of discipleship is far from easy. Everything in our flesh and our society screams for independence and looking out for number one. A disciple is dependent on the Master and seeks His best interest even in the face of great personal self-sacrifice. He or she will even lay down their life at the Word of the Master - as the eloquent testimony of the Christian martyrs witnesses.
If, instead of self-sacrifice - a disciple is given power and position, he does not abuse it. He uses it to the benefit of the Master. All things are under the control of the Master. He views nothing as his own. He doesn’t think that because he has paid his tithe his duty is finished.
I confess, I have not made it yet. I have too much self-interest. But I am on the path to becoming a disciple, and I trust you are too. May we be more willing to yield to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit to make us into true followers of Christ.