I am not sure when I began to notice, but it hit me like a ton of bricks: what is discipleship, and is the church fulfilling the Great Commission of making disciples? Friends suggest it has been around six to seven years ago that the quest began. “Hold it,” you may say, “is this not a blog about how to achieve kingdom living by being poor in spirit, which is Christian character development?” Yes it is, but it starts with gaining an understanding of discipleship, which is Jesus’ call to every one of His followers. We will revisit character later done the road because it flows out of discipleship.
The Great Commission is given to us in Matthew 28:16-20 (NASB, emphasis added):
But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshipped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The questions I have considered over the years concerning discipleship turned into a Biblical search for answers. Questions like: is the church making disciples and am I a disciple? This blog is dedicated to answering the more specific questions of: Am I a disciple? And how does one become a disciple? I’ve found the beginning of this quest is clear in Scripture – it starts with the Beatitudes, and this blog will eventually focus specifically on the first Beatitude:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3, NASB)
We will travel the path I encountered in reaching the conclusion “discipleship starts in the Beatitudes.”
What is discipleship? Plainly it is the act of becoming a disciple. What is a disciple? A disciple is a learner, a pupil; an adherent who accepts the instruction given to him and makes it his rule of conduct. In the time of Jesus the rabbis had disciples chosen directly by the rabbis themselves to follow them in daily living. This was much like the Twelve leaving all to follow in Jesus the Christ’s dust on the dirty roads of His time and learn from His life as well as from His words. In understanding what Christian disciples look like we can go to the Scriptures to learn what the Christ, the Master Rabbi, had to say about disciples who followed the command to follow Him. When we know what a disciple looks like we can then look at how a disciple is made, which I propose starts with the Beatitudes.
Determine in your heart to want to understand what being a disciple is all about.