In ChurchLand we use the word disciple a lot. We use it to describe people who attend church and we use it to describe classes we attend and teach. For most folks, the word has come to mean a student or learning about what the Bible says.
In the time and culture in which Jesus calls his first disciples – the Jewish culture in first century Palestine in a society ruled by the Roman Empire – the role of disciple was more along the lines of what we would call an apprentice, except the disciple didn’t learn a trade but a way of living. Disciples followed their teacher everywhere watching and observing how the teacher lived. The teacher asked deep questions that taught the disciple how to view life through God’s eyes, discerning and interpreting life, not just living it on the surface.
When Jesus called his first disciples, he didn’t say ‘enroll in my school’ or even ‘come learn what I know.”
He offers an alternative way to do what they know to do: “Follow me and I will show you how to fish for people.
And he asks questions like “what are you after?”
And extends the invitation of “come and see.”
Jesus offers the same to us, an alternative way, a better way, The Way.
Jesus’ invitation to discipleship is about living life as God intends it for us. It is so much more than just learning about Jesus. It is learning to be like Jesus.
Jesus’ invitation to discipleship is about relationships with the prime directive to love God, our neighbor, and ourselves. Success isn’t measured in how many fish we catch, or to modernize it the size of our paycheck or title on our business card, but by how we love.
Jesus’ invitation into discipleship is a call to live in the here and now as citizens of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. When we answer the invitation, our lives change, our worldview changes, we are changed by the love and compassion we receive in the invitation.
With this invitation, God seeks us, comes to us and says, “you are my beloved. Let me show you who I created you to be, the life I created you for. A life not dictated by keeping up with the Jones’ but a life guided by my love for you.”
Following Jesus isn’t about getting all the right answers. Following Jesus is a journey of life, The Life, The Way of Love.
What are you after? What is it you seek? Together, as we follow Jesus, we will discover what we are really looking for.