Defining a disciple

Webster’s dictionary defines a disciple as one who accepts and assists in spreading the doctrines of another.

Jesus’ definition of disciple is much more complex. It has more depth, more dimensions than just the teaching of doctrine. 

So how does Jesus define disciple? 

“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” Matthew 10:24-25

A disciple is one who “[goes] and [makes] 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 [Jesus] commanded [them]….” Matthew 28:19

“Whoever does the will of God, he is My brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35

“Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” Mark 2:17

“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”  Mark 8:34-35

Taking a child, He set him before them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them [the disciples] “Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.” Mark 9:36-37

Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their great men exercise authority over them. But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:41-45

Jesus to the disciples, “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11:25

“In His teaching He was saying: “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, and chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at banquets, who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.” Mark 12:38-40

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Who ever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you…Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge and you will not judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you.” Luke 6:27-31; 36-38a

Explaining the parable of the sower Jesus said, “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” Mark 8:15

“Now no one after lighting a lamp covers it over with a container, or puts it under a bed; but he puts it on a lamp stand, so that those who come in may see the light.” Mark 8:16

When speaking with the Samaritan woman, “But an hour is coming, and how is, when the true worshipers will worship the Gather in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:23-24

After washing the disciples feet Jesus says to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. for I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” John 13:12-15

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” John 13:21

These are only a few of the ways Jesus defines a disciples. There are countless parables and other teachings in the gospels, not to mention all the teachings found in the Old Testament and letters written to the churches. 

I am learning so much about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. As I crave more and more of Him, I learn more about Him and the beauty of living in His richness.

So, what have I learned so far? 

Jesus is calling me to be a forgiving, loving, humble, obedient, serving, worshiping, full of His light, bearing fruit, merciful, following, teaching, baptizing, self-denying disciple. 

And that is only the surface. 

I can’t wait to learn more. 

And then to begin to be transformed by the Holy Spirit to look more like the One who saved me. 


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