What does it mean to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Why are we to make disciples of others?
What is a Disciple?
Jesus warned those who were not willing to pay the price of following Him by saying, “any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33), so what is a disciple so that we may be sure that we are one of His disciples? The word disciple comes from the Old English discipul which comes from the Latin discipulus, meaning, “pupil, student, follower,” and said to be from discere which means “to learn” from and where we get the word “discern. ” This comes from the root word, dek which means “to take, accept,” so as the disciples were instructed to take up and follow what Jesus Christ told us to do (i.e. Matt 28:18-20), so being a disciple means being a student, learner, or pupil. Obviously, being a disciple is being a student or learner of Christ, but the discipleship class for believers will never end until the day of their death or when Jesus Christ returns to judge the world. A person that is a disciple of Jesus is someone called to live “in” Christ, be equipped to live “like” Christ, and sent to live “for” Christ. Our calling includes salvation and abiding in Christ (John 8:31-32), but the church equips the saints in their spiritual formation and growth into Christ-likeness (2nd Timothy 3:16–17). When Jesus told the disciples to make disciples of all nations, He was telling them to teach others the very same things that He had taught them. Discipling others includes loving God, but also loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 28:18-20, John 15:8, John 13:33-35). That’s the way Jesus lived. God doesn’t want any more religious people (remember the Pharisees?). He wants disciples after His own heart, with the express purpose of being more like Christ, and helping others know Christ in order that they might be saved to become more like Christ. That is discipleship.