Jesus made disciples by investing His life in a small group of people. He talked about the Kingdom of God and lived out a Kingdom lifestyle of love, sacrifice and humility. He gave them assignments to preach the good news and heal the sick and evaluated how it went. Read on to learn more how Jesus made disciples.
“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:13,14 (NKJV)
Jesus commanded us to make disciples of all nations (Mat 28:18-20). But how can we do that? The best way to answer this question is to look at Jesus. Here are a few keys how Jesus made disciples:
Spending time together – Jesus method was personal involvement. He called his disciples to be with Him. Jesus disciples were with Him on trips, prayer retreats, times of worship, eating, sailing, healing, casting out demons and fishing expeditions. They were together in the desserts, cities, synagogues, homes, wedding feasts and funerals. They shared life with each other.
Gave Himself – Jesus gave from His heart. He didn’t hold back sharing personally His deepest challenges and temptations. He brought His disciples close to Him in friendship. He told them they were not His servants but His friends (John 15:15). Programs don’t disciple people, people disciple people.
Setting an Example – Jesus showed His disciples how to live. Jesus invited them to participate in His doctrine, not to study it in theoretical isolation. He proved the relevance of what He taught by doing truth.
Discovery based - Class was always in session with Jesus. Discipleship was a way of life. Jewish disciples were expected to observe their teachers/rabbis and to learn by asking questions and then applying to their own lives what they observed. They learnt by walking with someone and discover truth for themselves.
The Few To Reach the Many - Jesus concentrated on a few at a time so He could have greater effect on their lives. Jesus concern was not programs, but people. These people would become fathers and mothers to the multitudes. Though He had a vision for the whole world, He started by investing his life in a few men and women. He dreamed big, but built small.
Obedience to His commands – Jesus expected His disciples to obey Him out of love (John 14:15). They were not required to be the best educated or wealthiest, or most prominent, but they had to be obedient. They were not selected based on their age or education or gender but their willingness to forsake everything for him. Jesus did not have the time to scatter himself around with those who wanted to follow Him on their own terms. Jesus spoke often about the cross and about taking up your cross to follow Him (Mat 16:24,25). We usually tend to make discipleship all about “knowledge”. When we see discipleship as primarily imparting knowledge from one to another, then we need an expert (knowledgeable) who also excels at communicating knowledge to another (teaching gift). Many people do not see themselves as qualified enough (not enough knowledge as compared to professionals or those who have attended seminary) and not gifted enough (again, comparing themselves to those with excellent teaching gifts). The result is that we have turned discipleship over to the professional teachers and the programs that these same people develop. In the process we exclude 90% of the Body of Christ from being active disciplers, which is exactly what Jesus asked each of us to do.
He Assessed Them and Gave Them Feedback – Jesus sent out the disciples and the 72 with an assignment (Luke 9,10). He was not afraid the sent ones were not capable enough or would screw up. He gave them freedom to make mistakes. He gave them responsibility with accountability. After the assignment they came back and evaluated what happened (Luke 10:17-24). It was not experience that learned them, but evaluated experience.
Jesus made disciples by spending time with a small group of people, whom He was an example to. He gave Himself fully, engaged them in His life by asking questions and gave them assignments, which they evaluated. He asked them to be obedient to Him out of love. We cannot improve on how Jesus modelled ministry for us in the Word. So let us do it the way Jesus did it.
Source: Floyd McClung, Roger Thoman