What comes to your mind when you hear the word “discipleship”?
If you’ve had any exposure to this concept, you may have had either a great, positive experience, or perhaps a negative one. If it’s the later, let me offer one possible reason why that was.
Discipleship was seen as means of creating a product, instead of a person.
Maybe it was a convert to a “tribe” or a leader in a particular “system”. The end, or the product, was another “part” added to something that probably had very little to do with you – who you are and what you were designed for.
That’s the difference between legitimate discipleship. It’s a process of realigning a person back to their original design of living as a human being – a creature in a true, good and beautiful relationship with his (or her) Creator.
In my reading and studies for the sermon on Mark 1:14-20 this week at Christ Presbyterian Church, Mansfield, I stumbled upon this great statement in the ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible. It’s rare that I find something truly significant in a one-stop study Bible, but this particular Study Bible has surprised me many times. This quote is but one example. It gets at the heart of what the call of discipleship is from Christ – a call to be brought back into alignment with the design for which we were created – to love and worship God, and have every area of life brought back into that alignment.
“In Christ, God calls people to return to “walking with God”—the creational design of human beings in the first place. Jesus’ call to discipleship is God calling human beings back to himself as the foundation of true and dignified human existence….This is the rhythm of grace. God does not respond to our wayward rebellion with disgust, throwing his hands up in the air. He pursues us in love. This is who he is.” – ESV Gospel Transformation Study Bible, note on Mark 1:16-46.
Question: What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of “discipleship”? How does this line of thought add to your understanding of what we see as discipleship in the life and ministry of Jesus?