Deep Discipleship

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading


What does it mean to be a disciple?

Different people may answer this question in different ways. Some people think a disciple is a person who does a bunch of stuff for Jesus—the girl who shows up at church every time the doors are open and serves in all the ministries. Other people think it’s the person who is really hardcore about his Christian faith—the guy who’s always sharing the gospel with every person he meets. 

What these definitions have in common is that they both assume being a disciple is like being a “Christian-plus.” It’s the advanced version of Christianity. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. 

According to the Bible, all Christians are disciples; the two are synonymous. And to be a disciple is simply to be a learner. That’s what the word means. Disciples are learning the way of Jesus. One of the most basic definitions of discipleship is found in the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:18–19, emphasis added). 

According to Jesus, discipleship is all about learning and teaching; it centers on being taught and becoming a teacher. To disciple means to make students of, bring to school, educate, mentor, apprentice (Frederick Dale Bruner, Matthew: A Commentary).

In order to get started on the right path of discipleship, we have to understand this. Discipleship is not Christianity-plus. It’s not just for the super Christians who are really gifted. It’s for you. It’s for me. It’s for everyone to whom Jesus has said, “Follow me.”