Typically, when people hear the word “disciple” they conjure up one of two images: (1) The image of a contemplative, almost philosophical-looking person, usually dressed in a flowing robe, walking around with his hand rubbing his chin contemplating the meaning of some “deep aspect of life”; or (2) what some would call a “religious freak,” willing to do anything, even kill for his or her master. But what does it really mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? This guide looks into this important subject in the light of God’s word, the Bible.
John 8:31: “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.’”
1. What do you think Jesus meant when He said “If you abide in my word”?
2. How would you do that? Consider John 15:10. Is it enough to just say you’re a disciple of Jesus Christ, or do you think that there is some action involved? Why?
Comment: Vine’s New Testament Word Search defines the Greek word (mathetes) that is translated “disciples” as: “lit., ‘a learner’ … it denotes ‘one who follows one’s teaching’…. A ‘disciple’ was not only a pupil, but an adherent; hence they are spoken of as imitators of their teacher.” So a disciple of Jesus Christ follows His example: 1 Peter 2:21.
Matthew 9:14-15: “Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, ‘Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.’”
3. What does this passage tell us about whether disciples of Christ fast today?
4. What circumstances would make fasting a smart thing to do?
Comment: Jesus’ disciples learned from Him as they lived with Him for more than 3 years. Jesus taught them by how He lived — by His example. He instructed them by word, and they asked Him questions. They asked about scripture (Matthew 17:10), about what He meant by what He had said (Luke 8:9), about how to live (Mark 10:10), about their failures (Mark 9:28), and about His will (Luke 9:54).
5. How can we have fellowship and commune with Christ and the Father today? How can we get answers to our questions about the same matters?
2 Peter 3:18: “… but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
6. How long are we to go on learning of Jesus Christ?
Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
7. After His death and resurrection, what work did Jesus assign His disciples? How do you know that His disciples should be continuing that assignment even into the 21st century?
8. How can those not in the ministry help with this assignment?
Bring Forth Fruit
John 15:8: “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
1. Christ’s disciples “bear much fruit.” What did Jesus mean by “fruit”? What kind of “fruit” does a disciple produce?
2. How does a disciple’s fruit glorify God the Father? Consider Matthew 5:16.
3. List three things you can do to “let your light shine.”