Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. (Matthew 27:57, NKJV)
And a man named Joseph, who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God. (Luke 23:50-51, NASB)
In these passages we are introduced to Joseph of Arimathea who became a disciple of Jesus. We do not know how or when this took place but the Scriptures clearly identify him as a disciple, and he is obviously not one of the Twelve. Though he was a member of the Sanhedrin he became a disciple, and as a member of the council he opposed the condemning of the Christ. A disciple will always stand up for his Lord and defend Him even to the death. We see in the rest of this passage that Joseph does the deeds of a disciple by taking the body of Jesus, preparing it for burial, and providing a burial location for the body. The next of kin is entitled to the body and legend has it that Joseph was the uncle of His mother Mary. Be a disciple and defend your faith and serve the Master.
But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3:15-16, NASB)
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. (Luke 6:40, NKJV)
The disciple is not above the teacher. The disciple of Christ needs to recognize that he will never become exactly like Him, but the disciple should be learning and growing to be more like the Lord. Discipleship is more about replication than about duplication of the mentor/teacher. Replication is defined as is a copy or reproduction that is so similar you can hardly notice any differences, but technically is not an exact copy. The disciple is not above his teacher in authority or stature. When the disciple notices he is surpassing his mentor (assuming a human mentor in his life) he needs to find somebody that can continue his growth process. Discipleship is learning and growing.
Everyone who is perfectly trained. Perfectly trained has the idea to refit, repair, mend that which is broken such as the nets. Metaphorically this means fixing of a person in error, to restore, set right as in Galatians 6:1 (see below). By implication meaning to make a perfect fit, suitable, such as one should be, deficient in no part. Thus discipleship is a process of fixing a broken person and restoring him to what God intended him to be. I will suggest once again that this happens in developing Christian character, and that begins when the disciple is poor in spirit. The disciple through both the teaching of a mentor, his prayerful study of the Word of God, and his walk with the master Rabbi becomes thoroughly instructed or informed. The Christian disciple should be like his Master Rabbi (and to a lesser sense his human mentor) – holy, harmless, and undefiled, and separate from the world in which he lives. He should replicate their examples, and grow into the likeness of Jesus the Christ.
Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. (Galatians 6:1, NASB)
The call to be a discipler or mentor is also given in Scripture as this passage and many others indicate. This is beyond the scope of this study, but should be prayerfully considered by a disciple to be in the life of those who know less than himself. The Church should be actively engaged in a discipleship program to fulfill the great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).
Prayerfully consider becoming a disciple/mentor yourself as you learn and grow in discipleship and becoming poor in spirit.