Monday, April 5, 2010

Who is a disciple?

The Great Commission
"Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:16-20)

The English word, disciple, is derived from the Latin, discipulus, meaning “a learner or pupil; one who accepts and follows a given doctrine or teacher”. A disciple of Jesus Christ, therefore, is a person (male or female) who accepts and follows his teachings. All who are baptized in the name of the Triune God and accept that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Lord are Christians and, by definition, disciples.

Here is some further help answering the question “Who is a disciple?” A disciple is a person who has faith in Christ and their faith bears fruit through keeping the rules of "Love God and Love one another": doing no harm by avoiding evil, doing good to all as often as possible, and practicing the means of gaining the grace of God through prayer, worship, taking part in the Lord’s Supper, reading and hearing Scripture, and performing acts of fasting and abstinence. Christian faith is exhibited by a life that strives toward holiness of heart and life (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13; Galatians 5:16-26; Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 2:12-13); perfection (maturity/ wholeness/ completeness) in love (Matthew 5:48; 1 John 2:3-6); “having the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5). A disciple is one whose life in the world is “faith working through love” (Galatians 5:6). A disciple’s life seeks wholehearted love for God through loving service in the world, especially with the poor, those who are sick, prisoners, lonely, tired, and lost (see Matthew 22:37-39; 25:31-46).

These are general rules for all Christians, regardless of denomination. They are simple, general, guides for living in the world as followers and friends of Jesus Christ. They are rules of life intended to help Christians to be mindful of the basics of loving God, loving neighbors and loving one another. They help disciples to attend to all of the teachings of Jesus and not only those that suit their temperament. A disciple, therefore, is a Christian who does his or her best to follow Jesus’ teachings every day of the week.

Peace and love,


"Be still and know that I am God"(Psalm 46:10)

Jesus of Nazareth

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