Understanding True Discipleship… (The requirements of a disciple) Part One

We have seen that being a disciple of Jesus is the plan and the goal of God for all humanity. Being a disciple of Jesus is God’s requirement. When God requires something He provides the means to accomplish His requirement. Man must respond and apply what God provides to attain what God requires. It is this pattern that makes up the journey of the life of a disciple of Jesus. It is a journey that is well worth the taking.

If being a disciple of Jesus is the clear goal for all humanity, then we need to understand the specific requirements for being a disciple? Let us begin our journey, in understanding this obligation, with the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 14: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be My disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple… In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26-27, 33) While we may struggle with the seemingly harsh tone of Jesus’ words (we are not usually comfortable with terms like “hate” when God is talking about our families or our own lives), His emphasis is direct and cuts right to the point. He is speaking about the depth of the commitment of being a disciple without mincing the tone of His words. His words are comparative. He wishes to draw a very clear line in the sand about what it takes to be His committed disciple. As we look at the context of these words, in Luke 14:25, we see the reason behind their severity: “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said…” This is the common struggle faced by all who would seek to understand what it means to have a real relationship with God. Jesus was never intent on seeking to have large crowds of followers (believers?) following Him wherever He went. Jesus was always intent on seeking to have dedicated disciples.

In Jesus’ time of earthly ministry, He often developed quite a following. People came from all around whenever He showed up in their communities. Having heard of the great things He had done, they all wanted to see Him and be around Him, to witness what He might do. They wanted to “jump on the bandwagon” and be caught up in the “Jesus mania” of their day. It was as if being around Jesus would provide them a sense of commitment and connection to Jesus. They would be able to proudly tell all their friends and neighbors, “I was there when Jesus healed that blind guy…” Or “I was there when Jesus drove out that frightful demon…” They might even have expanded their tale to speak of some personal inclusion in the matter at hand. But it is to this crowd, and to this way of thinking, that Jesus speaks in the strongest of terms. He is not looking for throngs of fanatical spectators. He is looking for dedicated and devoted disciples – however few they may be.

Jesus’ call is always a call to considerable commitment for those who would grasp that devotion to Jesus is paramount in the discovery of the fullness of the life that God offers. The crowds were always looking for an exhilarating addition to their lives to make their lives more meaningful. But Jesus was calling people to a different kind of life. His words draw out the necessary nature of a disciple’s commitment. Jesus simply must occupy the prominent place in all of life’s decisions. Jesus’ strong words teach us that, compared to love and devotion to Jesus, all other relationships must be secondary. The proper understanding is this: we may love our father, mother, children and our own lives – but we cannot love them more than we love Jesus. When compared to love for Jesus all other commitments must seem like hatred. If we are going to “come to” Jesus we must come on the only terms He allows…

to be continued…

(excerpt from “The Great Missed Understanding,” Chapter One)

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About theheartseeker

I have spent years studying the Scriptures and seeking for God's answer to the question: What IS true Christianity? Let me share some answers with you...
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