“Last words” are always the most important. Whether you’re sending your 18 year old off to college, or saying goodbye to a longtime friend, we desire to impart those few final words that we want to live on in a person. And it was the same for Jesus. After his resurrection and appearance to the disciples we have his “last words” just before he ascended into heaven…
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. Matthew 28:18-20
The followers of Jesus have been living out these “last words” for nearly two thousand years. At the center of this is the commission to “make disciples.” This word “disciple” is one that we don’t often use in our normal language today, so I wanted to bring a little more understanding to it and specifically what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
The word “disciple” literally means “learner.” We see this concept more clearly in the role of an “apprentice,” someone who decides to be with another person in order to become capable of doing what that person does or becoming what that person is. So in the Christian realm, a disciple is someone who learns to be like Jesus and learns to do what Jesus could do. Now, for those of you who feel a bit overwhelmed by this notion, consider how Dallas Willard puts it…
As a disciple of Jesus I am with him, by choice and by grace, learning from him how to live in the Kingdom of God. This means learning to live within the range of God’s effective will, his life flowing through mine. Another way to put it is to say that I am learning from Jesus to live my life as he would live my life if he were I.
That last line of Willard can seem like a bit of a riddle – but it’s worth pondering. So as you continue on your journey of becoming like Jesus, consider how he would live your life if he were you. What if he lived in your home, with your family, on your street with your neighbors, and worked at your job, and made your income? I hope that considering some of these questions will draw us into desiring to know more of Jesus, becoming learners of his life and his ways, so that he may more fully live his life through ours.
Site Pastor, Cornerstone Church at Lee-Scott