It sounds like a trick question but it’s not: Are you a disciple of Jesus? (If you’re curious, skip to bottom of this post and see how fully you can answer three questions. Then come back and read the rest.)
Ultimately, our work is to be disciples and then to make disciples. That is our primary task. This is the pattern set forth by Jesus; this is what the apostles did and this is what the early church did. Be disciples and make disciples.
Unfortunately and with disastrous results, we have divorced the idea of being a disciple from being a Christian. We focus on the name, Christian, and forget what being a Christian actually means.
To be a Christian is to be a follower of Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus is to be a disciple. A disciple is a student, one who diligently studies at the foot of his master, who learns from Jesus and his word throughout their lifetime.
Sit at the foot of a master? What does that mean? It sounds pretty vague because we’ve lost the cultural context and meaning of discipleship. Perhaps the best analogy we have today is apprenticeship – those who learn a craft or trade from someone with more experience, a master craftsman.
Jesus being God himself is the supreme master, and he taught his disciples day-in and day-out for three years. They listened, observed, talked, shared and tried to practice what Jesus taught. Along the way Jesus both commended and corrected them as needed. They learned from him as well they could and then they spent the rest of their lives growing and maturing into his image.
While we can’t go back in time and walk with Jesus as they walked, we do have his word given to us in Scripture. Therefore, we can learn to be better disciples by asking three fundamental questions when studying his word. The questions on their face are simple but they are not simplistic. Each question has a depth to it that will last you a lifetime.
The Three Questions
- Who is Jesus?
- What did he teach?
- How does that apply to me?
If you skip or ignore any of the questions, you miss the mark when it comes to being a disciple.
- If you miss the first one and don’t understand who Jesus is all of the other answers are off. Period.
- You need to determine if Jesus is God and understand why he had to die for our sin. For those who wish to have some help in understanding who Jesus is, Lee Strobel has written a very good book, “The Case for Christ.”
- If you skip the second question you are left with simply making things up out of thin air.
- You’ll hear people say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter what he taught as long as I believe in him.”
- If you cherry pick the parts of Scripture that you like and disregard the rest, you are creating Jesus out of your own image.
- If you ignore the last question it means that you might be full of knowledge but it is ultimately dead knowledge.
- Dead knowledge is knowledge that does not affect your heart, your head, your hands, your eyes, your mouth, your interaction with God and with others.
Well, how are you doing with these question? Are you willing to learn from Jesus and walk in his footsteps? Are you willing to be his disciple?